If you've ever listen to Wendy Williams then you may have heard the expression "friend in my head." Well meet mine, she is a talented singer/songwriter from New York and her name is Emily King.
A mix of Soul, R&B, and Hip Hop, Emily King brings a fresh sound to the music industry. Signed to J Records, her debut album, East Side Story
is due this summer and is quickly becoming a highly anticipated release. A product of East Manhattan and jazz musician parents, she she was born to be a star! Her music has been described as "a truly special blend, a place where the coffeehouse meets the dance floor."
We had a great conversation about her music, growing up in New York, and even divulges her guiltiest pleasure! Even more she is a genuinely sweet person that you should definitely keep an eye out for! She is the truth...
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW UNDER THE CUT!
Melody: So tell me about yourself and how the grumpy little girl on the slide became the Emily King we know today?
Emily: Ummm…A few beatings and belt…[laughs] Just kidding! Let’s see, I grew up in New York City, in the East Village in New York and regular kind of kid, public school system, riding the train to school, hanging out on the stoop. My parents are musicians so that was kind of a different thing for me, we traveled a lot, and I performed with them, they were singers. So it was a lil’ entertainment kind of upbringing, it was always something going on. A lot of excitement, a lot ups and downs, financially, always kind of just on the grind. But it was great in the sense that I lived in the school of music, and early on I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
M: Well that’s rare, not everyone realizes what they really want to do in life so young…
E: Yeah…I think I chose my parents or something, because it’s just so coincidental.
M: Yeah, because you realizing so young, because you really took a big step at such a young age to get your GED at 16 and pursue music, so when you told your parents that were like “Okay” or did they question it?
E: Um, yeah they were, they were really, really cool with it. I had a really hard time in school, I didn’t like school at all. Like the format of school, my teachers sucked, I just had so much, I knew what I wanted to do, so I was doing it outside of school, like at night in the nightclubs or whatever. Then to like to get up in the morning and look at a textbook, it was torture for me. So I had a like pow-wow with them and sat down with them and told them, this is what I want to do, I’m going to drop out of school, I’ll get my GED, and I’m going to be a performer, I’m going to be a singer. So my dad, specifically was a little bit perturbed, to say the least, but he had to understand because his parents wanted him to be a doctor and he told them that he was going to be a jazz musician, so I can only imagine that was like. He had to understand you know.
M: Well, Yeah! So growing up with parents that were musicians, growing up in New York, like you said, very entertaining household, very busy, coming and going, so how did that influence your music?
E: When I started playing guitar specifically, I started writing music and it kind of helped me to find my own sound, you know, but in the process how much I was influenced by what I was around growing up, just from the like phrasing of the songs I started to write, to the melody, to the rhythms, everything I mean it had a huge influence. All those memories and all those experiences, being backstage listening to Dizzy Gillespie, listening to Joe Williams all these great musicians that my parents would do these shows with. And that all ended up kind of just regurgitating when I started writing music, so it was interesting.
E: So it’s still in me, you know…
M: Well yeah, so we don’t know what more is going to come out Emily King!
E: Who knows, you know! [laughs] I want to travel the world and soak up some other shit.
M: Yeah right! So how did you find yourself at J Records?
E: Well it was a process, I met with a record producer, Chucky Thompson, kind of randomly through a friend of my mother’s at Sony Music Publishing, who ended up playing Chucky a demo that I made at home and like a week later I met with Chucky at a studio and we started working on music together because I really liked his vibe. From there we kept creating music and kind of came up with a plan to go to these different record labels and play guitar. I played my guitar and I’d sing for them. I sang for LA Reid, Sylvia Rhone, a lot of different label heads, CEOs, and presidents. I ended up sing for an A&R rep at J Records, Peter Edge, who from there we kind of met a few other times and my next meeting was with Clive Davis, singing for him. So it was mind-blowing, but it was kind of in the plan too, because I always knew that I wanted to sign with a major label, that was like my dream, you know. So to see it become a reality or having the opportunity was like wow, anything is possible. So I ended up singing for Clive and then at the time there was a bunch of mergers going on with the record label and then it took maybe six months to a year to sit down and sign the contract. So in that time, I just recorded non-stop, road non-stop and just working in the studio, working with Chucky and developing my craft.
M: That’s pretty amazing to be in the midst of that process to meeting Clive was like you said mind-blowing! Were you nervous? Or were you just because you were working at it so long, prepared for it?
E: It was definitely a little bit of both, like I was definitely nervous to the point where I was like coaching myself, [laughs] in the office. Like, “Okay…Emily…Relax…you can do it” but at the same time I felt like I had a purpose and I had worked to get myself to that point so all I could do was be myself and do my thing.
M: So let’s talk about your album East Side Story and that’s coming out June 12th?
E: Somewhere around there, it’s the summer but it may be more July/August.
M: Okay, so the later summer time.
E: Yeah, just for more prep time.
M: Okay, just making me waiting a little longer, but that’s okay! [In my best sad voice]
E: I know [laughs]!
M: So what can people expect from the album, I know we’ve heard the sampler, so what else is on the album, what’s some other sounds maybe that you explored?
E: There’s some acoustic stuff there, there’s kind of some Bossa Nova meets Dance Club on there, some real laid back R&B, some catchy melodies. Talking about different issues, there’s some women’s issues on there. A lot of different things that I had been through!
M: It sounds real well-rounded, real eclectic, it sounds amazing.
E: Yeah, I tried to put something on there for everybody, that everyone could relate to, make them feel good in the moment.
M: Is there a song on there that you would consider the most personal on there, because I read that “Ain’t No Sunshine” came at the same time as a big break up, so are there any other songs that are really personal?
E: Yeah I think there all personal in a way, I would say that “It Was You” is a song on there that’s personal, I wrote it about my parents getting a divorce because I couldn’t really understand why they split up and it came as a shock. It’s not like they had obvious problems. So when I started writing music it kind of came as a love song and it developed into their perspective, a love song from their perspective to help me understand what happened. So that’s definitely really personal and it helped me get through a lot of things, it help me work out some of feelings that I had.
M: Well hopefully it will help someone else too,
E: I hope so!
M: Because music is so therapeutic! Especially for me, I mean I just find music, for any reason, if I’m down or if I’m happy there’s always music to go along with it…to identify.
E: It is! It’s definitely one of the best things in life for me.
M: So my favorite song is “U and I” and which I find it so hard, and I can’t say favorite but the one that I repeat the most and then “Colorblind,” those are just...Oh My Gosh! Is there any favorite song on the album for you that stands out?
E: I think you named them, I like those also, “Colorblind” is definitely one of my favorite songs. It kind of touches on a personal thing and it’s kind of just a call for people to love each other and to accept each other’s differences. It’s just a call for peace on a personal level.
M: “Colorblind” is a very poignant song and I can’t really recall any recent song or anybody who could achieve such a very touching song, a very personal song, especially about race relations. I’m biracial myself as well so I can identify with it. Outside some of the kind of the things that seems a little forced or post-tragedy songs. This song really takes you back to the Marvin Gaye era where it’s just a real powerful song and it didn’t need any overtones. You could tell this song was really down to earth, real personal. And it’s even more relevant because I saw your YouTube posting with “Colorblind vs. Don Imus” and I thought that was really interesting because it can be just one word that can make you question so many things.
E: Yeah I saw that posting too, and the only thing with that, is that I didn’t want to pigeon-hole the message to just on that incident because there’s so much deeply rooted stuff that happened that has to be addressed and that’s kind of like putting salt in the wound, but I’m glad that you took that from it. Making the song also I wanted to stay away from being forced or corny, that’s why it took me a minute for it to come out. It’s kind of like a delicate thing, if it’s too emphasized it can be corny and people stay away from it, too preachy. I don’t want to hear people preaching to me all the time either but I appreciate that.
M: I think it came out beautifully, it’s a beautiful song, I definitely love it.
E: Thank you.
M: You said that you worked with Chucky Thompson on it, is there anyone else that you worked with?
E: Yeah, I gotta shout out all the people, over the process of recording I worked with Angie Stone, Sean Garrett, Ne-Yo, Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry, Harold Lily, Raphael Saadiq, a lot of people! Just collaborated to see what would come out of it and all the collaborations were beautiful, and all those people are beautiful and talented. But the music that actually made this album, I have Rasheem “Kilo” Pugh, we actually co-wrote “Colorblind” together, Big Drawls, and Salaam Remi came through on a song, Vada Nobles came through on a song…I think those are it.
M: That’s a great group of people that you worked with so I think the album should be hot! Now I’ve seen a performance of a song called “Starting Brand New” that I fell in love with, is that on the album?
E: Oh my God! You heard that?
E: [Laughs] How did you hear that?
M: I told you, you’re a friend in my head! I’m all about Emily King! So I am always Googling, to find random stuff…
E: Ahhh, that’s so crazy! Well that song didn’t make this album but that’s one of my favorite songs, maybe the next…I tried to get in a movie actually recently but it didn’t work out.
M: Well Boo on them!
E: [Laughs] Well you’ll be hearing it on something else!
M: Well good! I definitely see a sophomore album in the works or a soundtrack, but I’ll just keep watching the video! Speaking of, it was a live performances, do you have any performances lined up that people can be looking out for?
E: I’m gonna be in New York a lot this month, doing some acoustic things, Solomon Portrait Brooklyn, Dan Café in Brooklyn, to The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, to some private events, just look out on the MySpace, it’s all up there.
Emily King has just signed on to tour with John Legend!! Therefore some dates in NYC have been canceled in May...Here are the dates for the new tour!
5/9 - Knoxville, TN - Tennessee Theatre
5/13 - Houston, TX - Verizon Wireless Theater
5/14 - Dallas, TX - Majestic Theatre
5/16 - Albuquerque, NM - Sandia Casino
5/17 - Phoenix, AZ - Celebrity Theatre
5/19 - Tucson, AZ - Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre
5/21 - Fresno, CA - William Saroyan Theatre
5/22 - Sacramento, CA - Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
5/23 - San Jose, CA - San Jose Center For The Performing Arts
5/25 - Portland, OR - Keller Auditorium
5/26 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
5/27 - Vancouver, BC - Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts
M: You gotta make your way to Louisiana girl, so I can see you! Call Essence Music Festival and see if you can get on because you would be perfect!
E: Ah yeah! I think that is in the works…like, we’re trying to do some stuff!
M: I’m so crossing my fingers!
E: Yeah, I know, I’m so excited.
M: Okay, well you’ve made my day! I hope so!
E: I got my team working on some stuff to get out there! Thank you!
M: So quickly, now that we’ve got into the album stuff, let’s get into the fun stuff…things that they may not know about Emily. So if you had an ultimate duet, who would you love to do a duet with?
E: Ooohh, I’ve never had that question asked before! That’s a good one! Let me think about it…I think I would love to have a duet with Bob Marley.
M: Oh, that would be nice! If you went on a reality show, which would it be?
E: I don’t really watch a lot of TV…what’s out there, Apprentice?
M: Yeah, Apprentice, Survivor or Real World..
E: Real World, right.
M: Or American Idol.
E: I don’t know…I’m always in the house listening to the radio or practicing, I’m a nerd I guess!
M: Ah that’s okay…What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
E: Besides sweets…
M: It could be anything! Mine is reality TV…
E: You know what, I really try to hold back but when I’m at the super market and I’m waiting in line and they have those trash magazines right there…
E: Aren’t those so addictive?
M: They are!
E: That is the worst!
M: I run a entertainment blog so clearly I am all about the gossip, so I can identify with that one.
E: 9 out of 10 times I end up throwing it in the shopping cart.
M: So what’s on your iPod right now?
E: I have a lot of stuff. Michael Jackson: Off the Wall, love Michael Jackson, grew up with him. Nina Simone, The Beatles, a lot of Motown, a Motown Collection, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, a lot of old stuff. I have Amy Winehouse on my iPod.
M: Oh Gosh, I love her.
E: Yeah, she has a nice voice…So gotta represent for the women. I have a lot of collaborations of my own stuff on there. [laughs]
M: Ain’t nothing wrong with that! I would too…
E: I put my new material on there and listen to it while I’m walking up and down the street.
M: That’s cool. I would so the same thing but unfortunately I can’t sing a lick!
E: Are you sure about that?
M: I try, now don’t get me wrong I sing “U and I” in the car…it don’t sound much like what you sing but I be singing along! But I don’t torture others with it, just me and my car! Well thank you so much Emily for talking to me!
E: Thank you!
Check out Emily King's EKP...
She's was also featured in Vibe Magazine and Giant Magazine!
VISIT EMILY KING ON MYSPACE!
Labels: Emily King