Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker talks about splitting the uprights and hitting the right notes
I like listening to and playing all different types of music, from hip-hop and rap, to hard rock, to classical music and opera. My fifth-grade talent show was the first time I had a big performance for a bunch of people. I sang "Danke Schoen," made famous in the 1960s. I had some nerves and some butterflies, but I was ready to roll. I was working the crowd, walking down the stairs of the stage, winking at the fifth-grade girls and having a good time.
When you kick a ball in front of millions of people on TV, you're on a stage, so to speak. Having that performer mentality has helped me on the field and off of it.
My first experience with organized music performance was with my middle school band. I played the trumpet. I loved doing it, and I was pretty dang good, too.
My truest passion is making and recording music. That's essentially what I got my degree in at the University of Texas. While I was in college, I had a mix tape that I threw together with a couple of my teammates. I produced the whole thing myself. We put together some pretty good tracks that sounded like Top 40 hits.
I am in the process of putting together an album, but there's no one specific genre. Maybe there'll be some hip-hop, rap, some R&B, some '80s power ballads. I'll be mixing, mastering, recording, and producing.
When I sing in the shower in the locker room, it's anything from Nick Jonas to Taylor Swift to Mozart's Don Giovanni. I'm all over the place. Every once in a while we'll get others joining in. The acoustics are great in there.
I taught myself how to play guitar by watching YouTube videos. I'm not anything special on the guitar, but I look up the chords to a song I'm liking and try to put my own spin on it and have fun with it. I think that's the whole point of music. It's about self-expression, but more than anything it's about having fun.
Photos: DARREN CARROLL FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TUCKER IN STUDIO), AL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TUCKER ACTION)