OKP Exclusive: Emily King Asks Us To "Focus," Talks Growth + More
R&B royalty, Emily King, has been adored by OKP-ers even before her album, The Switch, arrived to the masses. From Seven to her funky new cut, “BYIMM,” we have witnessed her growth and maturity as a purveyor of powerfully driven acoustic soul. Now, on the eve of her deluxe edition of The Switch and her subsequent tour (see dates below), Ms. King has decreed us to kneel upon her presence, as she talks about her growth as an artist, the praise that fueled this release and which musical figure she would switch places with. In addition to her interview with Okayplayer, Emily King has also gifted us with a new song from The Switch in the form of “Focus,” a deliciously satisfying track meant to make your foot swing from left-to-right.
Be sure to press play, cop a ticket to her show and make sure you’re there when July 8th swings around. If you’re in that much of a rush, then pre-order the deluxe edition of Emily King’s The Switch on iTunes today ahead of its official release.
Okayplayer: What growth have you experienced as an artist in recording these news songs?
Emily King: Recording these songs was a bit more of a challenge because I knew I wanted to finish them by a certain date. I usually don’t have deadlines to work with because I don’t have a record label. It was a huge challenge for me. I think I learned the importance of time management. So much of songwriting for me is having the time to allow for a clear, non biased perspective of the music that only comes from having time away from it.
OKP: How does the praise / acclaim from last year fuel your motivations for having a successful tour, deluxe release, etc.
EK: It’s amazing to discover that people are listening to the album. When I write a song I’m alone in a room, and usually feeling some type of way. No guarantee that the song will be heard or enjoyed by anyone but me. I dream about singing the song with a room full of people and I’m so grateful when I’m at a show and it’s actually happening! I’m in awe of how music brings us all together.
OKP: What can listeners expect on this deluxe edition album that may shock-and-awe them?
EK: I hope I can get them to dance! “Focus” is a song that has a fun groove, it isn’t like anything I’ve written before. I wanted to have something fun with a story people could relate to. I also added a couple demos that I’d found searching my computer. I have a habit of falling in love with the demos.. I think mainly because it’s the first impression of a song. It’s fun to see how the songs grow up and become records. “Sleepwalker” was one of those songs. I’d made a demo and it had a vibe, but I knew it had to be developed. I still love listening to that first draft though. It reminds me of being at my grandmas house recording the song and then eating big bowls of homemade pasta with her.
OKP: It has been such a year of loss, pain and devastation (particularly in the music world) — can you talk about if you have any plans to honor the fallen during your tour?
EK: It was sad to hear about the passing of so many great musicians. It reminded me how much their music meant and still means to me and to this world. And as an artist, it makes me strive to be better and work hard at my craft like they did.
OKP: If you could switch places with any historical / musical figure from the past — who would it be + why?
EK: Michael Jackson during the making of Thriller. Hands down! To be in the studio and hear those arrangements being written and recorded for the first time. Wow. There must have been so many “That’s the shit!” moments. Where they just put their hands in the air and say, “Wooooo!” [Laughs] Those are the moments that musicians live for. I still shout “Wooooo!” and throw my hands in the air every time I hear that record!
Listen to the exclusive premiere of Emily King’s new record, “Focus,” above and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
7/7 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft
7/8 – Charlotte, NC – Visulite
07/09 Washington DC @ 9:30 Club
07/11 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
07/14 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
07/15 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
07/16 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music
07/18 Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
07/19 Chicago, IL @ Civic Opera House w/ Alabama Shakes
07/20 Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom w/ Alabama Shakes
07/21 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
07/23 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
07/25 Austin, TX @ The Parish
07/26 Houston, TX @ Studio @ Warehouse Live
07/27 Dallas, TX @ Trees
07/29 Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent
07/30 Las Vegas, NV @ Sayer’s Club
08/01 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
08/02 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey
08/03 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
08/05 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
08/06 Seattle, WA @ Tractor