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Marcus King Talks Vulnerability and New Album in Recent Press Conference

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Marcus King is ushering in a new era of country music. Known for exploring deep topics like mental health, substance abuse and heartache, King channels his emotions through his music, creating a powerful outlet for self-expression and connection. I recently had the pleasure of attending a press conference to learn more about the inspiration behind King’s new album Mood Swings, which was released on April 5. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. 

Her Campus at UCLA: In a past interview, you discuss that through writing your song “Hero”, you learned more about different attachment styles. Can you elaborate on what this story you created taught you and how other people can bring that into their current or future relationships?

Marcus King: Being aware of these things and being aware of how you’re affected by your attachment style, love language, how you process trauma or your ability to communicate in a relationship, are all really helpful tools to have. When I wrote the song, I had gone by to see Dan Auerbach and it was like we were all going through the same thing at the same time. The songs seem to just fall out of the sky and I love whenever that happens. 

Vandy Radio: You’ve mentioned before that you’ve been able to channel really difficult mental health struggles into creativity and writing inspiration. Looking back on the now finished album, what do you think that process has taught you?

Marcus King: That process is really an important one to me. I felt like I had to break some bad habits as a writer as far as writing for the listener instead of writing for myself. It’s really gratifying that this album has received the attention that it has. It’s really the first time that I’ve disregarded entirely what the audience may think about the record and just do it because I needed to.

Q30 TV: My question is a super interesting aspect of the album’s release from a marketing standpoint, regarding the accompanying Mood Swings playlists and F Up My Life Again playlist. Are there any artists or songs on that playlist that offer inspiration to the album?

Marcus King: The whole playlist really is a release. The playlist has “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, which is kind of a homage to my producer Rick Rubin, who catapulted the band. Music is a really powerful tool, even a powerful drug; it can help you release whatever emotion it is that you have going on. It’s a lot like transcendental meditation or even prayer for that matter.

All Things Country Music: What song from Mood Swings will be more emotional for you to play live?

Marcus King: I think it’s an opportunity every evening to kind of be present and to be in the moment with the music, the audience, and with my band. All the songs carry a lot of weight for me but having written them and released them is really the cathartic, therapeutic part for me. Being able to play them live is really more of an effort to allow that same resolution for the audience member. “Cadillac” is a pretty difficult one to play because they’re all really vulnerable songs, but it’s more vulnerable when you’re with just an acoustic guitar. 

Bell Music Magazine: You’ve been really transparent on social media about your struggle with mental health. Obviously, it’s not an easy thing to do and we all commend you for it. What has been the one thing that you heard from someone that really stuck with you to keep going?

Marcus King: I love that question. I’ve always been honest like that with my friends and family. It’s never something that I keep a secret but I also don’t try to use it as an excuse to be overly moody; being a creative and struggling with repressed trauma can really f*** with your moods. All of that is really challenging, especially for your friends and loved ones but really for me, I look for just support from my wife or validation that my feelings are real. 

Roger’s Music Door: What changed when you got married in relation to the music and lyrics? We all know how much you love your wife but what was the biggest change as far as maybe the purpose of the levity of life?

Marcus King: Having that muse and having that person here, your rock solid companion, your partner, it makes you feel a little more grounded. In receiving that and having that person next to me that’s ready to defend me or ready to go into battle with me, it kind of allowed me to let my guard down a little bit more. 

In the midst of his struggles discussed in the press conference, Marcus King expressed how he found solace in the unwavering support from his wife, his family, and his fans. This newfound sense of vulnerability allows King to not only embrace a deeper connection to his music but also allows his fans to understand the importance of mental health awareness and finding your own personal outlet to express yourself. You can listen to King’s new album Mood Swings here.

Isabella is a third-year Communications major, Disability Studies and Music Industry double minor at UCLA, from Thousand Oaks, California. She loves working on creative projects whether that be creating marketing content for brands or covering concerts and events. You can also catch her traveling across the world, finding cool farmers markets and flea markets in her free time.