Stamford native playing with Bruno Mars at Super Bowl halftime show

Bruno Mars will give the biggest performance of his young career when he stars in the Super Bowl halftime show at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

And though the “Gorilla” singer will be the center of attention, the big moment won’t be his alone.

Stamford native and trumpet player James King will perform as well, joining Mars on the 50-yard line, before millions of TV viewers, as a member of the singer’s back-up band.

“It’s a surreal feeling; it hasn’t fully hit us yet,” King said by phone from MetLife Stadium Friday, where he has spent the week rehearsing. “We’re still trying to soak everything up.”

King, a 29-year-old Westhill High School graduate, has been performing with Mars since the singer’s 2011 appearance on “American Idol.” The spot was followed by a worldwide tour, as well as appearances on the Grammy Awards, “Saturday Night Live” and The Video Music Awards.

King said the Super Bowl halftime concert represents “a huge leap forward” for Mars, the youngest musician ever to perform on the program.

“It’s like watching your good friend accomplishing his dreams,” King said. “It’s a great feeling to know that you’re a part of that success.”

What King admires about Mars is that, in spite of all his fame and accolades (the singer recently took home a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Unorthodox Jukebox”), he isn’t one to hog the spotlight.

“He makes sure he highlights us in his TV performances and on tour,” King said. “Not only are we helping his dreams come to fruition, he’s helping our dreams come to fruition.”

Following the Super Bowl, King will perform with Mars at the Brit Awards in London. After that, it’s off to Asia and then, North America, where the band is slated to tour this spring. The tour includes a stop at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford on Wednesday, July 9.


Scott Gargan