Behind the Song
Growing up in the shadows of Chicago, Kingsley was raised to the rhythms of house music. The third eldest daughter of eight, she demonstrated a strong desire to perform and sing from an early age. She sang before she could talk, belting out Disney tunes and performing for family and friends. She joined the choir when she was 8 and taught herself to play guitar and piano. At age 10 she started a band. Inspired by pop music she began writing and producing her own songs. It seemed she was destined for the stage, but life had other plans. While Kingsley was dreaming of the pop charts, she was also breaking school records in High Jump - track and field. Offered a sports scholarship she went off to college. To keep her love of music alive she took vocal performance classes, but sports, with its relentless demand for success, threatened her dream. Then as fate would have it, in her third year of college, Kingsley was diagnosed with a competitive heart condition that ended her track and field days forever. Undeterred, and secretly relieved, she was finally free to devote her full attention towards her true passion.
For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough then tell us more!! Melodic, Pop as Hell, Dancey
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why. Prior to Covid, it was being on stage. Side note: I have Aries blood so I love the stage a little more than my ego should haha. But in the last year, I had to rediscover what I liked about being an artist. Now, I think I love the creative marketing strategy that happens after the songs are made. The process of putting together a dope visual music video or album artwork. If you go on my IG (shameless plug) you can see how much I have changed in the effort I put into modeling and creating concepts with the songs I’ve created. It has been so enlightening getting into a new creative path other than writing and performing.
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you? For my upcoming album Crying On Holidays, I tracked my vocals exclusively at Sunset Digs, owned by Sean Berahmand, and honestly, we’ve had some mentally challenging long days into nights. We could be at the studio for 10 hours at a time but Sean and I vibe out. We keep the energy high and allow workflow to enter in and out as it pleases. I am a big goofball and love to laugh and I am fortunate to have a producer with the same level of energy.
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing? Picture this: the perfect summer afternoon, 86 degrees, no humidity, lying on Kelley Point Park’s sand in Portland with a cold local cider in hand, playing a curated summer playlist of all my favorite PDX bands (Haley Johnsen, Frankie Simone, Blossom) I take a deep breath of fresh Oregon air. Need I say more?
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why? Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?:Cynthia Erivo, though, is not 100 percent in the music industry as she is more in the film industry playing musician roles, is who I most adore. I first came across her in the film “Harriet”, where she played Harriett Tubman. Then I saw her on an episode of “Song Association” on “The Terrell Show” on YouTube. Her voice is indescribable. Her vocal control is something I work every day to embody, but honestly, I think I admire her so much because of her ability to show her most authentic self. It is very inspiring for me as I continue to grow as a songwriter.
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it? “Might Not Make It (Live),” released in 2017. I originally wrote this song for my baby sister who was struggling with suicide and depression from being bullied in the 7th grade. Finding out this news was deep and heavy, processing it via song was the only way I could navigate these waters. After writing this song I sang it for the first time live on stage at The Old Church. While I sang it, I could only picture myself as a little 7th grader and remembering all the struggles I was going through being bullied and how I had felt the exact same feeling of worthless that my sister felt. You see, we grew up in a prominently white suburban neighborhood where the kids were relentless in telling you how different you are. I remember one time, out of the blue, this kid came up to me and told me “You know, you will never get married with your skin being that dark...” WHO SAYS THINGS LIKE THAT IN 7TH GRADE?!?! Though I wrote this song for my sister it turned into an opportunity for me to heal some buried wounds and I needed that more than I knew.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year? My album, Crying On Holidays, will be released on my 28th birthday in April. Very excited for this baby to be birthed and given to the world –it’s been a long haul and the music is soooooo goooooood, I cannot wait! I had the honor and privilege of collaborating with some dope creatives, all in Portland, showing the world there is Pop in PDX!
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For more information about Kingsley, please visit her website.