Five years ago, Marty Costes stepped into a new field. In his third season at the University of Maryland, he drew draft buzz, but another line of work also called his name.
This new field didn’t require his baseball talents. He didn’t need to flash his speed or boast his power. It called for his artistic ability.
In Costes’ youth, his mother, Gwen Pair, bought him an electronic keyboard, scratching the surface of music engineering. He then branched out in the third grade, playing the trumpet, but it wasn’t until 2018 that he found his teacher.
In the last month of his college career at Maryland, Costes befriended a local DJ, who he left unnamed. Costes shadowed him and followed him around to athletes’ off-campus homes for parties.
“He didn’t even go to school. He was more of this local guy,” Costes said. “It was mysterious, too.”
Costes asked him to teach him to be a disc jockey, but he declined and offered Costes a different avenue: making beats. Over the following three or four weeks, Costes learned the ins and outs of producing music, until the Houston Astros called him for a second straight year.
The Astros drafted Costes in 2017, but he opted to return to Maryland. He went three rounds earlier the following summer, being selected by Houston in the 22nd round of the 2018 MLB Draft.
Even with a professional baseball career at the forefront of his life, he still honed in on becoming a music producer. He worked with local artists in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 2019, and since, he has reached local artists in every city his baseball career has taken him.
With connections stacking up, Costes founded a record label, “No Reason to Hide,” this year, building a bridge for unheard artists. He is currently establishing an executive team of four music artists from Baltimore along with former teammate Taylor Jones.
“I’ve been just this traveling fan of music really,” Costes said. “So it’s nothing really too deep into it but more of just having fun. So that’s what my label’s about.”
Costes grouped his work into his debut album “18 After Dark,” an 11-track collection that was released May 28.
Growing up in Baltimore, Costes lived in the 21218 zip code. A way to identify where a person is from is by calling it “Zone” followed by the last two digits of their zip code. In Costes’ case, he’s from Zone 18, which is where his pen name 18MARTY and his jersey number stem from.
“That’s what I’m trying to embody or make sure everyone can know in some way,” Costes said. “Because that’s where I started making all this stuff.”
Costes’ second album is currently in production. He’s named it “Into the Sun” — the embodiment of his professional baseball career.
“What decision do you make when you’re going full fledged and people around you are burning into the sun but to become a star?” Costes said. “The star before it becomes a star has to evaporate. Where I come from, in this journey I’ve been on, I’ve seen people slowly burn next to me like friends burn each other.”
Worldly desires of money and status are what Costes compared to the sun. He wants to solidify his life concepts for others to understand, revamping old ideas he never publicly shared.
Costes plans to open multiple music studios, host shows, trademark his labels and produce merchandise for various artists. Assisting in that charge is Jones, who studied communications and public relations at Gonzaga.
“(Costes) had an issue with needing to create a little bit of cohesion and organization through what he was trying to put together, and I could offer that for him,” Jones said. “I thought it’d be a perfect collaboration as far as working together to try to see if we can make things happen.”
Jones and Costes roomed together on road trips for Triple-A Sugar Land last season. Jones picked Costes’ brain on his vision and aspirations, looking to get his foot into the music industry one day.
Now, he’s taken a lead as the mass communicator for “No Reason to Hide,” pulling resources and contacts together to assist in Costes’ dream. Jones jumped into the driver’s seat this summer, holding meetings and getting more artists on board.
“I’ve been just trying to try to lead everybody towards the vision of what Marty had originally set up,” Jones said. “And so far, we’re finding doors of opportunity.”
The expectations aren’t set high, though. Both Costes and Jones believe they can turn the record label into something “massive,” but it is something the two are having fun with now and are looking to continue to grow.
“We have the pieces in front of us, so I don’t see why this couldn’t be something that we divulge our full attention to down the road,” said Jones, who stepped away this month for a personal matter. “I don’t know what the future holds for us with all this, but I can tell you that the conversations that we’re having are very encouraging. So we’re actually starting to really dial our attention in on it.”
Costes isn’t the only musical artist on the Space Cowboys. Catcher Luke Berryhill released his first country single in July. The two hope to collaborate on a future project.
“That seems to be where a bunch of music’s going now,” Berryhill said. “Like Morgan Wallen, he’s been collaborating with more hip hop beats and stuff like that, so there’s definitely a possibility there.”
Costes delved into other genres this year. He’s attended live music events, even one on the Space Cowboys’ road trip to Las Vegas in late July, to engulf himself in different music cultures.
“I’m saying you have to become a fan of it before you can make it,” Costes said. “I have an ear for everything. But when it comes to working with Luke, I think it’s just a matter of time.”