Growing up in a religious family, Virginia native Marco McKinnis' exposure to music was limited to various forms of gospel and some jazz from his parents' personal collection. It was his sister who first introduced him to music of the likes of Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Ne-Yo, and from then on music for him was all about R&B. This classic R&B sound with a hint of old-school jazz, layered with counter-melodies became characteristic of his music. Keen on exploring his newfound sound, McKinnis began uploading original tracks to the music streaming platform SoundCloud and was soon signed-on to a major record label. He released the singles "Deep," "Silence," "Another Love" and "CPR," and the EP Underground to critical and commercial acclaim.