LA based indie-R&B lord on the rise King avriel recently took a break from composing awesome new jams to chat with B3SCI writer Cheryl Dunn about the origins of her sound, musical passions and a forthcoming full length project. Have a read at their chat below and take a look at her new music video for “Freedom.”
B3SCI: As what feels like a lifetime fan of Hey Arnold!, I have to say it is an honor to meet the voice of Timberly…
King Avriel: Haha the pleasure is truly all mine.
B3SCI: As someone who has been playing and making music your whole life, how do you feel now that you are finally releasing your first EP? What was the process like for you culminating to this moment? What are you most excited for?
King avriel: I’m really excited. I think this project and the songs I’ve been releasing to lead up to it are the best music I’ve ever made. I’ve never been as proud of anything I’ve done before as I am with this upcoming release. And, it’s been a long, tumultuous journey; I had to overcome some really dark valleys, but this moment feels like survival. I’m beginning to see how resilient I really am. And as a young woman, it’s exciting to start recognizing my true strength. I’m most excited to share that journey with others in the stories I tell on this project, because I have a hunch my experience was not an uncommon one.
B3SCI: When and how do you like to approach most of your song writing? Is it something you are constantly doing on the fly, or do you set time aside?
King avriel: Songs come from different places. My biggest challenge is just making sure I write down my inspiration when it hits. Sometimes I get a hook idea, or just a song concept and I have to be really diligent about writing everything down in my journal or on my phone, even if it’s just a word or two. So, in that sense I’m always writing on the fly. But, then I set time aside to come back to those ideas and flesh them out. Sometimes all the ideas I have come up with while I’m on the go are total shit, so I just have to start writing from scratch. However, I feel like I always have something that’s weighing on my mind at all times, so then it’s just a matter of confronting whatever conflict is currently affecting my experience.
B3SCI: With your alias, your name King avriel, and with your music video for “Freedom,” (watch it below) you’ve seemed to open up a great dialogue about the importance of breaking free from gender binaries. Can you tell us about your name change and video message, and why is opening this discussion amongst your fans most important to you?
King avriel: Yeah! I mean I’m always amazed at how meaning can be packed into language in so many different ways. I’m always trying to find ways to layer meaning while still being economical with words… I feel like that’s what is at the heart of poetry and lyricism. That’s what makes the game of song writing so fun! So, that same philosophy to writing has been applied to my name. The word King is so heavy and loaded, both politically and emotionally, for many people. When I call myself King, I’m saying that women can be kings. I can have just as much power as a man, and a man can still be a king too. And, while the “a” in avriel is lowercase to take emphasis off of my individuality, the “K” is capitalized to emphasize the collective. I’m not just calling myself a king, I’m saying everyone has this potential should they choose to embody it. We are all kings waiting to be self-recognized. The dialogue has been really interesting and exciting as well, because some people don’t believe I can be a king — I feel that those people are really living in the past. I’m trying to give people an idea of a future where everyone has equal value in this society.
B3SCI: What can fans expect from you in 2014? Are you planning on releasing a full length or any new music? Do you have plans to tour or play any festivals?
King avriel: So, the project I’m releasing soon is full length. But, I would say that you can expect the music to take an interesting turn very soon. Everything you’ve heard thus far is not a good representation of me. I actually had already finished my project when I recorded “Paranormal,” “Failed Messiah,” “Prelude,” and “Freedom” one week just on some random shit. I wasn’t going to put them on the project, so I figured I would just send them out and see who was feeling them. I wasn’t even expecting them to get the amount of attention they got, but we just went with it and shot the video since it felt right. But I feel like those songs are very sound-centered. Although I love that sound, what I’ve done with this project and my music in general goes far beyond that particular sound. I think people can expect the story to deepen and unfold, and for them to really begin to understand me as a story-teller first and foremost.
B3SCI: Growing up, what music inspired you most? What bands or musicians helped to shape your musical style now?
King avriel: Wow… so much! I mean I literally listened to everything from Mariah Carey and the Spice Girls, to Debussey and Phillip Glass, to Thelonius Monk and Aretha Franklin. I’ve gone through so many periods of liking specific types of music too. Like I spent a whole year listening just to Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. I really felt connected to that era of music, and what I’m into is always changing. I think most recently I’ve had Overly Dedicated, and Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on repeat for the past year and a half or so. I always get stuck on albums and forget that there’s new music being made. I haven’t quite decided if that’s a good or bad thing yet.
King avriel (Facebook)