Obsessive Listening: Emily King

I am an obsessive-compulsive listener of music. When I find something that I really like (new or old), I listen to it on repeat constantly. All day long, that artist or album will play in my car while I drive, and if you don’t already know, I drive A LOT. I spend an average 3 hours driving in my car daily, and that’s only if I’m driving straight from home to school and back again.

And it doesn’t stop when I get out of my car. I will plug my headphones in and listen while I walk. I hum my favorite tracks during class and while I cook, clean, and study. I tell all of my friends about it and I play it for them. I post the music videos on my Facebook page. I listen until I fall asleep. I’m listening to it right now, as I type.

So what am I obsessively listening to lately (besides Beyonce’s Lemonade  album)? EMILY KING. Who is Emily King? Emily King is a Grammy-nominated female R&B/funk/soul singer and songwriter. She’s toured with John Legend and opened for a number of vocal giants like Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, and Erykah Badu. Her voice is lilting and soulful, with a distinctive rasp that’s as warm as a cup of tea.

Emily King // The Switch

Emily King // The Switch // Making Music Records

I have been specifically obsessed with listening to Emily King’s live Audiotree session (available for streaming on Spotify, or you can watch the full half-hour show on YouTube), which was recorded live back in October of 2015. I think it sounds way better than the studio album and allows Emily and her band to pour on even more flavor and passion into each track.

On tracks like “Distance”, she starts off with a soft whisper, slow and smooth, and builds up in time with the baseline. Her backup singers/band mates add perfect harmonies at just the right moment.

My favorite song would have to be “Sleepwalker”. I’m a sucker for a funky baseline, and her vocals are just the icing on the cake. It’s such a groovy-feel good-wanna dance kind of track that’ll make you smile. The bridge is so dreamy you may find yourself swaying into a bodyroll.

In between songs, Emily and her bandmates answer questions about their wardrobe and musical process. At one point, Emily describes her experimental process in figuring out how to really utilize and incorporate “space” and fullness in her music. In my opinion, this live session is a great example of how an artist can literally fill a space with sound while maintaining whisper-like vocals. Her voice projection plays tug-of-war with your soul, pulling you in then pushing you back out of the space. She goes on to explain that she is continually finding and defining herself as the days go by and that her music grows and evolves along with her own personal journey.

Emily King is currently on tour, but unfortunately there are no Hawaiʻi dates on that list *cough*cough*BAMP*cough*cough*BLUE NOTE* Ahem. Sorry about that coughing fit, it came out of nowhere! Anyways, you can find more about Emily King at her website.

I hope you’ll find her music as addicting as I do!

*Mahalo to Jordan ʻĀina Kahaku Malietoa Asing for introducing me, and to Lina Robins-Tamure for introducing him.

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