With football career complete, Exum turns to music

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 11:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Through 2019, one could say football was Antone Exum’s work of art. A standout at both Deep Run High School and Virginia Tech, Exum put together a seven year NFL career with the Vikings and the 49′ers.

“I guess a dream come true or a dream manifested,” Exum said of his playing career. “I think I played for exactly as long as I was supposed to.”

The defensive back says his career ended naturally. He battled injuries throughout his college and professional playing days and did not want to wear his body out, so following the 2019 campaign, it was time to find a new art form.

“It’s not like an end-all be-all for me,” recalled the Deep Run product. “It was just like OK, I played football at a high level for this period of time and now I’m going to do something else at the same level.”

Creativity has always been part of Exum’s make-up. From a very young age, he was always writing and has always been interested in music.

“I always had the itch to make things and loved to just grab ideas out of my sub-conscious and create them into a conscious thing.”

With that, his music career is off and running. Of course, this line of work is a little bit different than Exum’s previous days at the office. The competition component doesn’t exist in his music world. A microphone and something to write on now make up his playing field and there are no clocks- just all the time he needs whenever he wants to take it.

“It is a little bit more laxed and there is a little bit more freedom with my time,” Exum noted. “I’m able to move or do something whenever I want to or create something whenever I want to.”

The former Hokie does not have a routine or recipe when it comes to his music. He records and produces from his Richmond home and can work at anytime something may strike him. Exum points to Prince and David Bowie as influential musicians, but adds that he listens to all types of music in order to fill his head with countless different sounds. From where he draws his motivation may vary.

“At this moment in time, it’s coming from life and some of the realizations that I’m finding in life and lessons that I’m learning.”

Friday marks a milestone for Exum as his debut album drops. His hope is that it leads listeners to the same spiritual freedom that he has found.

“Man, anything is possible,” he said of what he hopes people will take from his music. “I don’t have to be Joe Smith all the time if I don’t want to. I’m able to be anything that I want to be.”

The clock may have run out on Exum’s football career, but don’t expect the same when it comes to his music. Ask him, and it’s very much here to stay.

“Wherever that takes me, I just hope that it leads me to touch people in the way that I was touched by music.”

To hear Antone Exum’s music, visit his YouTube channel.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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