I recently had the pleasure to interview one of J Record’s newest artist, Emily King. King is set to release her debut album East Side Story exemplifying influences from grand musicians & perosnal experiences. King may be young, 21 years old- but her music trascends age & generations. Check out my sit down with Emily King!
Str8NYC: Who is Emily King?
EK: I’m born & raised in New York. I’m from the east village, Manhattan. I come from a musical background. My parents are singers, jazz singers from 14 years. I grew up through the public school system and starting playing guitar when I was 16 & starting writing music around the same time. You know, I’m a free-spirited, just like to have fun & enjoy life.
Str8NYC: Do you still live in New York City?
EK: Yeah…I love it.
Str8NYC: What do you for fun in the city?
EK: I go out to hear music a lot; I play pool (Laughs). It’s weird, I have really good days and I have really bad days. I gotta get my game up. In the summertime, you can just wander the streets because you never know what’s going to happen. And just hang out with friends and be creative.
Str8NYC: Why did you choose to name your album “East Side Story”?
EK: I just thought it was a cute title; I’m from the East Village, NY. I have a lot of different stories & songs on the album and I thought it could kind of sum up everything.
Str8NYC: Do you write your own material?
EK: Yes, I’m a self-contained song writer, it’s very important to me. I started writing at 16. You know I dabbled with melodies and stuff like that before but when I got the guitar it gave me my own sound. I’ve been collecting poetry & things like that in a journal. I could really express myself as an artist more rather than singing other people’s songs, which I have been doing. Which I needed to do to get to where I was…to where I am.
Str8NYC: Have you written for other artists?
EK: Ummm, I have one credit (Laughs) I didn’t write for him per se but I wrote a song on his album. Nas, on the “Streets Disciple” album, track 11! I’m on there singing.
Str8NYC: What can we expect from your debut album? What do you want your fans to take away from it?
EK: Something that they can relate to. I try to keep a mixture of emotions and feeling from experiences on there. Because we go through all different types of things as women & as humans, definitely that. Some good melodies, I try to write catchy melodies for people (Laughs) I always like a catchy melody. And just a good time, something they could just have fun with!
Str8NYC: How would you classify your sound, your album…if you had to go under one category?
EK: Hmmm, a new category- the Emily King category (Laughs). I don’t know. I have yet to find a name for it. When people ask me that I usually say it’s a mixture of RnB & pop. I always try to be popular to everybody. So that everyone could relate to. I’d say R&B/pop.
Str8NYC: How did you get discovered?
EK: Discovered, ok ummm…my mother told me when you write 10 songs, I’ll get a gig somewhere. And so I wrote my 10 songs. The next step was if you make a demo, I’ll get you a meeting somewhere. So she did & I got a meeting with bill brown at Sony music publishing. And I brought my little demo tape in there and he played it over his (Laughs) loud speakers in the office. I was so nervous. And I’m like “what do you think? You like it?” you know in my fake cocky attitude. He ended up playing it a few days later for Chucky Thompson, who produced my album. I met with Chucky, we met in the studio and we recorded a song right there, which was amazing! We just clicked from there. Eventually, chucky brought me into different labels. In this very room I sang for Clive Davis in my chuck Converse sneakers. My manager was so mad! (Laughs) I had one holey jeans and ripped everything, I’m like I’m going to do it my way, I’m a rebel. I guess I pulled through.
Str8NYC: What was that like meeting Clive Davis for the 1st time?
EK: Omg! I was like dad don’t you understand, I’m meeting with Clive Davis! But then when I got in here I felt so overwhelmed, I was overcome with a sense of like knowing what I was doing. I have an intention, I felt like I just had to be myself.
Str8NYC: Since in a way Clive Davis hand picked you to go under J Records, do you feel any pressure to do really well with your debut album?
EK: You know what I feel like & I kind of been brought up this way. If you make good music, it’s always going to find a home somewhere. So my whole reason for singing with J Records was too just give it a home & like get it out to people b/c with my own experience- good music finds me for what it is, no matter who’s making it!
Str8NYC: Your music was described as “coffeehouse meets dance floor”. What does that mean?
EK: Ok (Laughs) – I have no idea who said that. Well, I come from a singer/song-writer background and you could take it to the coffeehouse, take your guitar and sing for people, which I still do. And then I met with Chucky and he gave it this back beat, this production that I grew up & it naturally fell into what I was doing, so I guess that’s why they say that.
Str8NYC: Do you play any other instruments, besides the guitar?
EK: I’ve dabbled in quite a few. (Laughs) clarinet, I have this corny picture of me cross-eyed playing the clarinet. Umm…cello, piano. From those I still play piano a little bit. I’m working on my drums skills, yeah.
Str8NYC: It’s always kind of cool seeing a girl play the drums…
EK: I think so too.
Str8NYC: How are some people you’d like to work with in the near future?
EK: Let’s see…there are a lot of people, just to put that out there. I’d love to work with Rick Rubin; I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. I love that californication album by Red Hot Chili Peppers. To Gnarls Barkley, to some female collaboration, to my own label mates- like me & Alicia. I think that would be dope. There’s a bunch of people, John Mayer.
Str8NYC: A lot of people compare you to Alicia keys, what do you think about that?
EK: I think it’s a compliment, she’s a great artist. I see where the comparisons lie, we’re both biracial, and we both play an instrument. You know! I feel fine about it, but you know no two snowflakes are alike…so that’s my motto.
Str8NYC: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
EK: I would love to win some Grammy’s. I would love to have my own organization. I would love to have a nice house, an apartment somewhere. I would love to be in love & be on the road, do a lot of tours & appearances. Just keep doing music.
Str8NYC: Would ever consider venturing outside of music, like acting?
EK: Yes! I’m totally into acting, but not more than music. Music is like a limb to me. Acting…I used to take lessons as a kid & my father is in the theater. It’s a good way to get stories out. I love movies & I love great stories & I liked to pursue acting at some point. (Laughs) you knows, “Dreamgirls 2″ (Laughs)
TIME FOR SOME QUICK PICKS!
Favorite designer or clothing line?
Anything vintage, which doesn’t really answer you’re question (Laughs). I’m just getting into fashion right now, but I like original pieces.
Favorite TV show?
Fresh prince (Laughs)…the best show ever, I love it
Favorite song growing up?
I have favorite serious movies & favorite comedies. The Shawshank Redemption is such a dope serious movie & then I don’t know what comedy is my favorite. I just saw that jack black movie….ummm “Nacho Libre”…that was too funny
Favorite vacation spot?
I wish I did! For now it’s like the park or something like that, because I’m not really vacationing right now
Favorite guilty pleasure?
Sweets, I love sweets…ice cream, pancakes, anything- I love it!
Favorite place in NYC?
Good question, I don’t know I’m a village girl. I love seeing those documentaries about jimmy walking through the park. The village, definitely!
Make sure to check out the Emily King’s East Side Story debut album…she’s surely an artist to watch!
If you want more information or listen to more of Emily King, visit her MYSPACE page