Antone Exum is a safety in the NFL and after playing college football at Virginia Tech, he was drafted in 2014 by the Minnesota Vikings. In addition to playing football, Exum has a passion for music. He recently released two singles Officer Kaepernick and Verdant Valentine. It’s a project that he is extremely proud of and one that he has put a lot of work into. He recently spoke with QG about being drafted, his passion for music and more.
At what age did you start playing football?
The first time I played organized football was for the Bethlehem Bears when I was 5 years old, around the corner from my grandmother’s house. Before that, it was simply playing catch with my dad.
How did it feel to get drafted by the Vikings in the 6th round?
Haha. Well, the process leading up to that moment was not cool because I wanted to go sooner. I had an injury in college, and that’s the reason I was falling back and slipped into the draft a little bit. I was so upset [that] I stopped watching it with my parents. I was mad, drove around and ended up in McDonald’s. When the Vikings called me I was home already, still upset eating my fries. I wasn’t sure if they were going to take me, but they actually did! I saw it go down on the television and what not. It was a surreal moment. I got emotional, and it was a dream come true.
Where does your love of music come from?
I’ve always been in love with music and sound. When I was young, I would ask my parents for pianos and other musical instruments for Christmas and birthdays, and they actually did it, I believe twice. For Christmas once I got two electric pianos with the built-in percussion sounds; they were pretty cool. Only issue was that I didn’t have the patience or the knowledge to work it. I’d sit there all day playing sounds and making little beats.
At what point did you realize that making music was for you?
I’ve been writing since grade school. all the different types of writing too, like poetry, short stories, songs. I remember pulling my dad into my room, and I spit a rap for him. He was like, “Well you definitely got the voice for it.” But then I just faded after time, and I got back to shooting hoops and throwing footballs. There was a year in Minnesota where I was hurt for the entire season, and I had rehab and a lot of time on my hands. I picked up going to the studio and recording songs and tried to develop into a good song maker. The effort I put into becoming a professional football player, then had to put that effort into becoming a recording artist.
Which artist inspired you to write?
That’s a loaded question sort of because for me, I get inspired by different things. I get inspired by life in general. By conversations that I have with people, people that I’ve met before, their story. By sitting outside and hearing, hearing the birds make noise. I remember one time I got inspired by a homeless guy. I gave a homeless guy a $20 bill and he said, “Hey, thanks man. I’m thankful for your energy.” And I had just never heard anything like that from a homeless guy. So I turned it into a chorus, and I actually wrote a song as soon as I got back to the hotel.
What was the thought process for creating the cover for your Verdant Valentine single?
We actually created another cover. We had taken a picture of a random guy and it turned out really scary. So we decided to stay away because it doesn’t capture the vibe of the song. I was running out of time and I stepped outside and decided to have my fiancé take the picture of me shirtless playing with water and it just felt like the right picture.
What the message of Verdant Valentine?
Never let the past get in the way of what you’ve got going on right now and never letting anything that’s in the past that you don’t want to define you
What type of vibe are you hoping your audience gets from watching your music video?
It was really just a mosh posh of energy and swagger and a little bit of rebelliousness too. You turn on the video, I’m sitting in the bathtub, ha-ha so it’s like what’s going on with this guy? We like saying out of nowhere when we create, this video is a product of free flow imagination and being creative.
How important is it in today’s society that athletes are recognized for more than just the sport they play?
If you are an athlete and you have something else to offer, don’t limit yourself. Don’t just put yourself inside of the box and kind of just constrain yourself to one love. I’m not only an NFL football player, but I’m also a creative, full time. That’s something I am chasing and feel that I am at a professional level as well. I don’t think that it’s fair to just look at a professional athlete and think that that’s all that they are, and even capable of. People use their 24 hours differently, so the real question is how are you maximizing yours?
What can we expect from the 49ers?
A team that will play their asses off! We are building great chemistry; the team is coming together well. The communication is different, the trust is different and the effort is different. You don’t want to let your teammates down and of course your fan base as well. Niner fans should expect to see great things this season. They should also take a second and check out Antone Exum’s hot single Verdant Valentine, an inspirational track that’ll enlight listeners to a positive perspective of life.
Check out Officer Kaepernick and Verdant Valentine below.