Emily King. For many of you, I bet it’s the first time you’ve heard that name. Well it won’t be the last, assuming the music industry can support talented, stylistic soul, that is (unfortunately, the jury is still out on that one). Believe it or not, King isn’t even new to the industry. Her parents were a jazz duo and she traveled around for their performances. Following their lead, she developed a passion for music as a teenager and in 2007, at age 22, released her first album East Side Story on (RCA)/J Records. The debut earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album. She even spent some time touring with Alicia Keys, and John Legend, among others. Her work however, while coveted by many, didn’t hit well enough with a mass audience and Emily was dropped from her label. Now fast forward to July 12, 2011, five years later, Emily King released her second album, a seven track EP, as an independent artist.
The record, entitled “Seven,” portrays a sophistication and style not often found in a 26 year old singer-songwriter/musician. I can’t help but think the time spent away from a label allowed her the freedom of exploration and creativity which she hones in this seven song piece. The record has mostly slower tracks, with a few upbeat tunes, but all possessing a catchy, melodic beat. “Seven” comes across as a single, unified piece of soft R&B/Soul inspiration.
Songs like “Down,” “No More Room,” and “Georgia,” present light, yet crafted, instrumentals: guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. Mostly, King’s voice flows front and center, a whispering melody. “Ever After,” and “Sides” present a more dynamic guitar and beat, adding some energy and a shift in emotion, but still united with the general ease of the album. Emily definitely demonstrates some solid vocal skills, but beyond that, an earnest, expressive tone that glides along with the music. Certain moments like the introduction of “Down,” the lead-in single on the record, even feature a chorus of her voice, echoing in tune. The lyrics speak about relationships both blossoming and ending, as well as embracing the single life and oneself. “Seven” as a crafted whole flows through from one track to another gracefully and, due to the short nature of an EP, prompts an instant replay.
As you can tell, I’ve become a big proponent of Emily King’s new EP, and I’m happy to say it does look like she’ll be picking up speed in the industry. Just last week King announced she will be joining Maroon 5 for their European tour this coming winter. Emily King is an artist of talent and vision, so if elegant R&B/Jazz is your scene, I definitely recommend you check out “Seven.” Even if it’s not normally your style, I still say give “Seven” a try. You may just discover her sound fills a gap you’ve been missing.
Down, by Emily King: