Music Connection connected with Los Angeles-based alternative R&B power trio KING in 2013. Now in 2017, the three women of KING celebrate a Grammy nomination for their debut album, We Are KING, for Best Urban Contemporary Album, among the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Gallant and Anderson . Paak. To congratulate them, MC took a moment to get KING's insights on their recent accomplishment…
To start, congratulations on your nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album! You’re in good company. How does it feel to get this honor?
Thank you! It's an incredible feeling. Having our debut album recognized by the Recording Academy is such an amazing honor.
Prince, may he continue to rest in peace, foresaw this Grammy happening when he heard your music and told you “not to change a thing.” How did you originally catch his attention?
Prince was among the early listeners of our initial EP back in 2011. After hearing it, he reached out and invited us to open for him during his run at the L.A. Forum, later becoming our mentor. Like the debut album, we wrote and produced the EP at home and put it up independently on the Internet, and having someone like Prince reach out to say that he was moved by the music was a mind-blowing experience.
Your nominated album, We Are KING, is the only self-released independent project in the category—on your self-created label KING Creative. What steps did you take to bring this vision to fruition (to start your own label)?
We feel fortunate to have had such a strong vision for what we wanted the album to be, and starting our own label was a natural progression from creating the music and artistic direction ourselves. It was important to us that, especially for this debut album, the music not be compromised in any way, and self-releasing was the best way to maintain creative control. We ended up learning so much in the process.
Paris—you produced the album at your home studio. Are you self-taught? Or did you work with a mentor or watch someone do the process before?
It’s a combination of both--I started piano by ear at age 2, but had my world opened up when I started jazz band in middle school, and then in college, studying at Berklee prepared me with a lot of the skills and techniques that we employ in our productions. I find myself often using elements that I learned in composition, orchestration and scoring classes, but we rely heavily on our ears to make our sound unique.
Where do you draw inspiration for your sound?
We’re influenced by so much--there’s a lot of music that we grew up listening to and love, and we strive to create that same feeling for the people who listen to our music. For us, developing our sound meant tuning into nature and other forms of art as well--our music is an audible representation of all the things that inspire us as artists.
Tell us 3 key things that have helped KING to succeed, things that fledgling artists can apply toward their own careers?
Working hard, developing our own sound and keeping a strong artistic vision for ourselves has made us grow not only as artists but as individuals. Make music you love and want to live with every day.
Lastly, what will you do if you win the Grammy?
Either way the night goes, we're just looking forward to celebrating this awesome accomplishment and continuing to make more music!
Photo by Alex King
For more information, visit weareking.com.