With a soulful blend of funk, blues, rock and jazz, The Marcus King Band knows how to speak to their audience. “Our music breaks down the awkward barrier, and conveys to people what conversation cannot.” explains Marcus.
Growing up with three generations of guitar players — including his father, Marvin King, a veteran touring bluesman — Marcus was playing guitar by age two and shredding his own Squier Strat at age seven. He developed a fire for the stage at age 11 when he made his professional debut at The Handlebar in Greenville, SC, opening for blues legend and local hero, Mac Arnold.
Marcus, now 18, says he and his band are seeing a steady incline in their success as they bring their fiery brand of live blues and rock-and-roll to the world.
TEDxGreenville Curator Lisa Marie Corley is thrilled to include this genre on the 2015 conference stage. “It’s been a few years since we’ve featured a hard-driving, high energy rock band,” she says. “It’ll be amazing to watch these guys kick our audience into high gear.”
Nominated along with 170 other performers and speakers, The Marcus King Band quickly floated to the top of the program team’s performer list throughout the months-long vetting process. Whitney Walters was the program team member who advised the band.
“Marcus is an old soul,” she said. “He probably came out of the womb crying blues songs. He plays guitar with such control, power, and finesse that it could be said by anyone that he’s a gifted player. The fact that he’s so young just means he’s been gifted from the very start.”
In this new world of digital music and sampling, The Marcus King band plans to stay true to their roots. “Everyone seems to be moving toward digital sounds,” Marcus explains, “but the real emotion you feel from physical instrumentation cannot be produced by any machine. We feel that live music will always be sought after. After all, we are only conduits that the music flows through.”
Making a positive impact with their audience is something the band strives to achieve each time they take the stage. “We encourage people to speak their minds in a positive manner and make it something beautiful — rather than being consumed with your own self anguish, channel that anger, that frustration, that pain, and let it speak through you. Our goal is to connect with our audience so that when we play, they feel like we’re speaking directly to them.”
The Marcus King Band tours as a three-piece, with Anthony House on bass guitar and Jack Ryan on drums. Each member is a sublime talent in his own right, and together, they create a mesmerizing performance that is sure to have you dancing in your seat.
How did you feel when you found out you were nominated for TEDxGreenville?
“When we found out about the nomination, we were excited as well as intrigued to showcase what we do to a controlled group of people who will understand what we are trying to say.”
What do you want the audience to take away from your performance?
“We urge people to find a way to express themselves through a positive outlet, rather than letting frustration and confusion weigh them down. Instead of repressing emotions, they should be able to speak their minds. To sum it up I will share a quote from the late great Duane Allman: ‘Nobody wants to hear somebody belly aching about their problems, and saying, “Man, I really feel bad,” but if you take that hurt and express it through a musical context, it turns into something beautiful for your fellow man to hear.”
How would you describe your band’s performance style?
“Our performance is high intensity which speaks a message of understanding. What it sparks in the listener is a shedding of their fears and insecurities — submerging themselves in the music while at the same time hearing the lyrics, which people can relate to as far as every day frustration and heart break.”
This is the first post in a series featuring presenters at the April 10th annual conference. For details about TEDxGreenville 2015: HeadVROOM, visit the conference and presenter pages. Tickets are sold out, but watch our Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog for upcoming livestream info.