Grammy-nominated artist, performer, and songwriter Marcus King was destined to play music. By eight years of age, the fourth-generation Greenville, South Carolina, native had performed alongside pops, grandpa, and his uncles for the first time. Logging thousands of miles on the road as The Marcus King Band, he established himself with unparalleled performance prowess and a dynamic live show.
It’s hard to know if King is a stellar guitarist with an awesome voice, or an incredible singer with virtuoso guitar skills – either way King smashed out an awesome set at his first Bluesfest appearance in 2019 and he’s back for another bite, with bark, in 2023.
Seven caught up with King on the weekend before the Chicago show on his current tour.
I was very interested to hear you have studied jazz. Do you bring some of the jazz world into the world you’re in now?
Absolutely. I mean, there’s never anything wrong with expanding your vocabulary even if it may not be the world that you’re going to be pursuing. Because I wasn’t really interested in pursuing a career in session work, or jazz, as it were, but expanding my vocabulary as a musician all around – it was certainly helpful.
What was your impression of Bluesfest when you were here in 2019?
I thought it was really a real gas, you know? We got a lot of friends down there and got see some folks that you don’t usually get to see on a regular basis. So we were all just really happy to be there. And we got to play a few other dates and Melbourne and Sydney. And I got a tattoo. I just had a really good time kill.
Are you bringing new music to Byron Bay at Easter?
Absolutely. So the new record, Youngblood, just came out and we’re touring that record right now. We’ve got a little time off for the winter and we’ll be coming to you with this material and maybe even some more new stuff.
Do you find that when you came to Australia, a lot of people were ignorant of who you were?
Well, you know, that’s kind of how we approach every show. Like this is your first time seeing us. We try to play every performance like it’s your first time seeing us and also our last time playing. I don’t really like to assume that people have seen us before. And you know, we want it to really count. That’s our kind of a mindset with every show.
Do you have any thoughts about playing smaller venues and playing the big festivals? Is there a different vibe for you?
We try to approach every show with the same amount of bravado. But, you know, festivals are a little different, because you usually end up having a bit of an abbreviated set time. And with that being the case you kind of find yourself doing a few medleys and you find yourself trying to condense a two-hour show into 45 minutes or so. It’s usually a lot more bark in festivals.
Marcus King will be bringing plenty of bark to Blues – for more info, visit: bluesfest.com.au.