By Veronika Tacheva
Emily King Forges Her Own Musical Path
While most aspiring artists dream of signing with major record labels such as Island Def Jam or Atlantic, Emily King prefers otherwise. “Instead of creating, you’re constantly trying to convince somebody of your ideas and what you are and who you are,” she observes. “It takes away from the music and the art of it.”
Though she currently works independently, the singer-songwriter has managed to garner the attention of countless industry gurus throughout the years, including Clive Davis, John Legend, and Lupe Fiasco. She was also once signed with J Records and nominated for a Grammy Award.
King’s prolific music experience stretches back to her youth, when she was influenced by many artists on the scene, particularly the Jackson 5, John Lennon, and Jimi Hendrix. The New York native also grew up to international jazz duo, Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti, who also played a significant role in the formation of her later sound.
“I grew up around a lot of music,” King recounts. “My parents were both singers, so it was a natural thing. We used to go on road trips when I was a kid, and I remember buying cassette tapes from the gas station and listening to those. That one cassette tape with 4 songs on each side meant a lot, so it’s always been an innate thing.”
At 16, King took to the stage to begin forging not only a career, but also her identity as an artist. By the time she turned 18, the songwriter developed a unique, soulful sound which captivated even high-profile music executives. With the help of Clive Davis, King struck a deal with J Records, home to such talents as Whitney Houston, Ke$ha, and the Foo Fighters.
“I teamed up with producer Chucky Thompson when I was about 18, and from that point on, we started creating music,” she says. “He knew all these people at the label, so he made a call and we’d go out there, jam out, and sing for people in their offices. We set up in the office of Clive to sing for him one day and that was a big moment for me. I was very excited.”
In 2007, King released her debut album, East Side Story, which peaked at #18 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart. The record’s first single, “Walk In My Shoes”, was later re-made with Lupe Fiasco and nominated for a Grammy in the Best Contemporary R&B Album category. Later that year, King embarked on an 18-city tour as opening act for singer John Legend.
After leaving J Records, King returned to her roots and began recording independently again. “I’ve been working on a project for the past three years and I’ve been collaborating with someone who the public will find about very soon,” she teases. “It’s been an amazing process. I should be releasing some songs in the next few months, so I’m really excited about that.”
What’s On My iPod?
“Feather” - Little Dragons, “Don’t Be Cruel” - Elvis Presley, and “Congratulations” - MGMT, among others.”