The 23-year-old still has a long NFL career ahead of him. But, as with all athletes, Christian McCaffrey will eventually have to hang it up. When he retires, the running back will have many options. He could get into coaching or broadcasting as many players do when they retire.
McCaffrey, however, has a secret talent that may give him another career option. It’s not sports-related, but it could turn a beloved hobby into a job for the Stanford alum.
During the offseason, McCaffrey dabbles in music and works as a pianist, songwriter, and music producer. When ESPN reporter Sam Alipour visited McCaffrey at a Denver recording studio in July, McCaffrey and his bandmates were in the middle of a 90-minute recording session.
As they laid down a pop/hip-hop track, McCaffrey put the finishing touches on it, “adding layers,” as he calls it. Don’t look for McCaffrey to take on a role as a lead singer anytime soon, though. The running back says singing is the “downfall” of his music career.
The motives behind his music
McCaffrey tells Alipour a childhood neighbor played the piano and told him he could “get all the girls” if he learned an instrument. So McCaffrey, who recalls being in eighth grade at the time, said “sign me up” and started taking lessons.
The pair later performed at a talent show and won, taking home a cash prize. McCaffrey’s interest grew in high school when he jammed with friends and decided they “should do something like this.”
His musical influences
McCaffrey says country singer Tyler Childers is his favorite artist currently. He also mentioned modern favorites like Mac Miller and Drake, in addition to perennial music artists like Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Bob Marley. The running back says he’s “proud of everything” in his music library. He even likes Taylor Swift and isn’t embarrassed about it.
Is an album on the horizon?
When asked if we’ll see a McCaffrey album one day, he calls the idea “really cool” but admits he’s still learning. So, if an album happens, it won’t be for a while. So far, the 23-year-old has learned to play instruments by watching others. But he says he’s committed to learning how to read sheet music and “classically train” himself.
Christian McCaffrey, music producer?
If performing doesn’t work out for the NFL player, he could become a music producer. McCaffrey says producing music and “grow[ing] a song from nothing is a lot of fun.” Modern technology could allow him to play any instrument via a computer and a keyboard. McCaffrey says, “You make something that you like [every once in a while].”
What teammate would he like to collaborate with?
When Alipour asked McCaffrey which teammate he’d like to work with on an album, he chose Greg Olsen, who McCaffrey calls an “electric singer.” He says the Panthers tight end is always the first person to belt out a song that’s playing. According to McCaffrey, Olsen sings Adele before games, but gives the tight end props. “It’s the best thing ever.”