Marcus King is a fresh young talent in the world of country music. His debut 2020 debut album El Dorado earned him a Grammy nomination. And he recently dropped his second album, Young Blood.
King might be a young talent at the age of 26, but he’s endured more painful experiences than most encounter in their entire lives. His own mother walked out when he was just a child. A childhood crush died in a car accident. Soon after that, he lost his brother-in-law, his uncle, and his grandfather. The trail of loss led him into a battle with alcohol and substance abuse.
The country star opened up recently in an interview with People about his journey that came to a head in 2020.
“My ex and I were staying downtown Nashville at the Bobby Hotel, and we got in a screaming match,” King said. “I went out walking and I came across what looked like a homeless person, but when they turned and looked at me, it looked as if they had a hood on, but no face and no features. It was just this void of light and it really freaked me out. I accepted it in my heart as a foreboding sign to get my s— together.”
King described the experience as a “Grim Reaper-type of situation. It was a sign that it was coming soon if you keep living the way you are.”
The errie encounter set King on a path to crafting new music with a new outlook on life. He teamed up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Greg Cartwright to write the haunting song “Dark Cloud”.
Marcus King’s Road to ‘Young Blood’
Shortly before the pandemic lockdowns of 2020, King split from his girlfriend of four years. “I got my heart broken really bad. I was really lost. I’ve always had a real hard time with abandonment issues and every other issue that a codependent male may struggle with.”
King eventually found the strength to fight his demons and use his struggles to fuel himself creatively. As painful as the experiences were, King called them “serendipitous.”
Through all of the troubles, King credits music as his saving grace. When he was in high school, he had a hard time connecting with other people after a life of loss.
“All I wanted was some new music to listen to and something to play it on,” King said. “I’m thankful that I had music as an outlet because Lord knows what I would’ve been getting into if I hadn’t had it.”
But King realizes he couldn’t have come as far as he has if it wasn’t for the support of the people around him now as an adult. Working with Dan Auerbach on “Dark Cloud” was a high point for the young musician.
“Dan is a really consistent friend to have because he keeps it real 100% of the time. He was really beneficial, not only as a producer to help me get this music out, but as a buddy. I was really thankful to have him and the rest of the guys to keep me from jumping entirely off that cliff into the deep end.”