Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge using his music business as 'distraction' from football
Daniel Sturridge has revealed his plans for a career in music to ESPN FC, with the Liverpool forward determined to launch new artists on his recently-established record label.
The former Manchester City and Chelsea player set up Dudley Road Records last October to offer emerging talent a platform to grow their career in the music industry, but also provide him with a release from the pressures and intensity of life as a professional sportsman.
And speaking exclusively to ESPN FC at Liverpool's Michigan base ahead of their International Champions Cup clash against Manchester United, the 28-year-old also discussed his passion for Motown and the music of his youth - including the Spice Girls.
"It [Dudley Road] is exciting for me," Sturridge said. "It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and it's come to fruition.
"I love music, but I didn't really quite have the infrastructure or anything set up like that which enables you to do anything you want to do at any time, whereas now, we're at that stage.
"We've signed artists. We've got The Wave, Anderson 100, Capstone Heights, Screama, so we've got artists on deck where we're pushing forward, and we're looking to do something special.
"We're looking at everything, because music's global. You look at the Latin market, for instance, and the streams they're doing on Spotify, I think it's the second-biggest market for Spotify, which is huge.
"Globally, every market's doing good. You've got the Africa market, which is doing a lot of numbers, which it's never done before globally.
"And then you've got a lot of artists, as well, who emerge in genres, like the Drakes of this world and people like that who take from different cultures. I'm interested in everything."
Having tried and failed to launch a record label during his time at Chelsea, Sturridge believes he now has the knowledge and team behind him to make a success of his new venture.
"You know, it's not about the money. Of course you want to be successful - the money comes with the success, but it's about having fun, enjoying the moment," he said. "I love music, so it's not something that I plan on, you know, if we don't have any hit songs or we don't get loads of streams straight away that it's like, 'Oh, I'm out of this.'
"I'm in this for the long haul. I know it's going to take time. I know I'm going to learn along the way, also.
"This isn't the first time I dabbled in the business. I had a record label with my dad when I first signed for Chelsea, so this is going back maybe eight years now.
"We lost money then, but we had to learn. And I think you have to learn, make mistakes, in order to get where you want to go in life.
"I think we've made those mistakes. I've certainly made those mistakes with that venture. And now I know what we have to do to become successful."
So what music defines Sturridge? Who is on his playlist and what are his influences?
"Where I'm from [Birmingham], it's not kind of really recognized at the moment in terms of global success around the world," he said. "But somewhere like Detroit, where they've had some of the biggest stars. Motown have had some of the greatest: Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, you name it, really, they've had a lot.
"And Detroit itself, as well, with Eminem and people like Big Sean, people like that.
"You see kind of the vibes which, maybe you see where you're from, or you see the influence which they have, and you see the same kind of things where you're from, too.
"But you know what, I'm going to keep it real with you. I'm going to keep it all the way real, all the way funky.
"Growing up, there were so many different genres. Where I'm from, Birmingham, very multicultural. Caribbean influence. Good vibes.
"There was Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, all of those guys. When Raggae was at its peak, that's what we listened to.
"And then my mom and dad, they used to listen to old school R&B as well, so Donell Jones, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, one of my favorite artists of all time, Lauryn Hill.
"There's a lot of people. Then you have hip-hop, too: Tupac, Biggie. When I grew up, I listened to loads of different things. Then you had the cheesy stuff, like the Spice Girls.
"Everybody likes Spice Girls! Everybody watched the movie!"
Despite his passion for music, Sturridge insists that football, and his commitments with Liverpool, are his priority.
But he also admits that music gives him a crucial escape from the game.
"It's a good thing to have," he said. "I've got more hours in my day than I do at football and you've got to fill that up somehow, so it's a good distraction to have.
"I feel you do need your downtime, although you have to focus on the game. That's my main focus.
"Football is always going to be my main focus, but I feel it's also good to have a distraction which you can focus on, too.
"Everyone has their own little thing which they like to do. Some people play golf, some people, I don't know, they do other sports. Some people study, whatever it may be.
"My form of studying and my form of getting my mind off things is music. I love it. It's always been something I love."