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Knifestyles: Marcus King

Knifestyles: Marcus King

At GiantMouse, we are always interested in the different relationships people have with their blades. For this installment of our Knifestyles series, we talk to Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and guitarist Marcus King about his lifelong love of music and knives. 

The pride of Greenville, South Carolina, Marcus King is a monstrously talented musician who’s been playing shows since age eight. Hailing from a legacy of bluesmen, he initially rose to recognition as founder, singer, and guitarist of The Marcus King Band, a group that runs the sonic gamut from swaggering Southern rock to psychedelic soul.

Over three adventurous albums, Marcus and the band won fans and conquered stages around the globe, peaking at number two on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. He officially launched his solo career in 2020 with the release of El Dorado, produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The genre-bending debut went on to receive a nomination for Best Americana Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. Never one to rest on his laurels, Marcus dropped the follow-up, Young Blood, in 2022 to widespread critical acclaim.

Nowadays, King is focused on building his family, tying the knot last year to wife Briley Hussey and contemplating fatherhood. But that doesn’t mean settling down—far from it. He has a new album, Mood Swings, coming out April 5th, and a world tour on sale now.

It was a chance encounter in Seattle that brought King into the GiantMouse fold. We caught up with the road warrior to reminisce about that fateful day, and dive into his thoughts on knives, music, and family.

The Knifestyles of Marcus King

What originally got you interested in knives?

My grandfather used to keep a pocket knife on him. He’d open his letters every day with it, peel his apples with it… he used that wooden handle single blade pocket knife for nearly everything! 

Watching him use his knife in such a contemplative and routine manner was something I always admired—whenever I think of him I imagine that.

How did you first hear about GiantMouse? What's your favorite GiantMouse knife and go-to EDC?

I was at the flagship Filson store in Seattle and GiantMouse was doing a pop-up in the store. The band and I were all fixated on this brilliant display of knives. We met Jens Anso, invited him to our show that evening, and have remained pals ever since then!

My favorites are the ACE Farley (my first GiantMouse) and later I got the Ace Biblio - both in brass.

MK's go-to EDC: Brass Zippo - Brass pocket knife - Wallet - Keys - Bandana - Toothpicks 

How did you start your career as a musician / songwriter?

I grew up in a musical family. Music was always tradition in the King family. I was the baby of the family and I missed out on a lot of the “heyday” of the family jams / HonkyTonk lifestyle. I relived a lot of that secondhand through VHS tapes of my grandad, my dad, and my uncles all playing Country and Western / Southern Rock music.

My grandad passed away when I was 14, but he’d broken his wrist prior to that taking his ability to play fiddle or guitar away—and the light died inside him. I remember it very clearly. He had once developed stomach ulcers in the 60s as a result of stress, because he’d quit playing music to focus on his military career. The doctor's advice to him was to start playing again, he did, and the ulcers went away. So when he lost that ability to play, he in essence felt it was his time to go. In a lot of ways I feel responsible for carrying the light he had within him.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Early on, I felt that the challenge was to be taken seriously as an artist, not just for my age but in general. Anywhere I’d perform, my introduction or billing would be prefaced by my age to add some sort of gimmick / increase the value or appeal. It doesn’t help that I still have a baby face haha! 

The struggle I see within my own career and with many of my peers as well is being squeezed into a box / category / genre. It’s limiting to be categorized as ONE specific thing when art is a full spectrum of emotion.

What advice do you have for those just starting out?

My advice for anyone starting out would be to always be genuine to your craft, Only say what you absolutely HAVE to say. It should almost feel involuntary to say what NEEDS to be said. Don’t make art for the wrong reasons—make it to better your mind and your heart, and people will truly hear you.

How do you balance staying true to your roots while also evolving as an artist?

I only ever create what feels entirely genuine to me in that moment. I like to speak my truths through music as a way of absolving myself of burdens I have carried with me for too long.

Music is medicine and can truly heal. I’m really blessed to have been exposed to all forms and styles of music. And as a result, I’ve had experience in multiple fields of music. My fan base is a reflection of this melting pot of music that is “The USA.”

What’s your life motto?

“You can lead a horse to water, but they’re very hard to drown”

What's next for Marcus King?

I look forward to continuing to grow my live show to reach audiences far and wide! While also growing my family together with my wife—raising some youngins! And enjoying time with my parents as they enjoy their golden years.

Discover Marcus King's Favorites

The GiantMouse Team would like to thank Marcus King for taking a break from his adventures to talk shop with us. Keep an eye out for more Knifestyle profiles coming soon! 

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