Since the early days of #WomenCrush Music, Portland artist Moe Lincoln, better known as Kingsley, has been the perfect exactly of what the movement is trying to promote: an honest, unafraid, and wildly creative woman taking on their local music scene.
Kingsley has been a staple of Portland’s strong underground female-lead music scene since her arrival to the West Coast in 2016. What sets her apart from the pack is her fluidity within genres. Thus far, between previously released music and plenty of live sets, she has demonstrated her skill in R&B, singer-songwriter, and bluesy rock, and now, with her latest single, “You,” Lincoln is giving us a taste of her own unique brand of electro pop.
The Crush caught up with Kingsley to chat about the new song, her upcoming EP, I Am Because I Am, and her aspirations for her music going forward...
Tell me a little bit about this new single. Where did the idea sprout and what’s the significance behind it?
This song came from another stupid boy that I decided I wanted to get involved with (PSA boys are dumb). I couldn't outright call it the guys name... well I could’ve but that doesn't make the "new me, who this" move-on phase fun. To tell you the truth and give you a little exclusive, I don’t believe in love and this guy almost made me fall for him - and at the end of the summer fling, I was like “god damn youuuuuuuu *insert bad words*” and thus this song was written out.
The last time we chat for Vortex, you talked about how you don’t limit yourself to one genre. You let yourself explore, and you said the EP would reflect that wide range. Does that hold with what’s coming on the EP next month?
I am so excited for everyone to hear this EP! It has been a challenge - in a great way - to force myself to find my voice in different styles/genres. On the EP, I put folk, blues, EDM, pop, soul, and rap! LIKE WHAT! It’s insane, but there is something for everyone to jam to!
For this particular song, “You,” how do you choose what genre or spin to put on it? If I recall correctly, you performed this track at a solo set as a more acoustic tune. Was it always destined to be a bigger pop tune?
it’s definitely a summer pop anthem - ride with your windows down and belt out this song, I promise it feels soooo good!
The production behind it (by Jack Kennedy of Zarr Studios) really reinforces that pop style. And you’ve worked with him on previous tracks as well. Where did you guys meet and how did these collaborations come about?
Jack and I met on social media. He messaged me and was like, “I am new to town and am dying to work with new artists.” So I creeped on his social media - to see if he wasn’t catfishing me or something- and asked around town. We linked up to produce my first single I released in Nov 2017 “Ghost” and since then we’ve been quite the pairing. He mixed a few other songs on my EP and was the creator of “You”. We vibe together well and he can take my vision and really bring it to life. Very very very thankful to have worked with him on this project. He’s also an artist himself which is why I think we work great - he gets it from the producer side and the artist side.
When it comes to production, are you pretty take charge? Do you have the vision in mind or does it all come together in the process?
So in the production stages of the song, typically I send the acoustic version of the song (my guitar or piano) as a voice memo with a track I want it to sound like, like a Demi Lovato song or Jon Bellion. And from there, the producer comes up with something and sends it to me and we build from that. Since I wanted my EP to be all types of styles, I kinda sat back and let the producers works. Very hard for me to sit back and shut up but I think the point of creating a different genre EP is to work with different genre producers.
What inspired the sound and production for this track?
The track production was inspired by “All Time Low” by Jon Bellion - I love the way he took such a strong sad message and put it to music that made you forget that you are sending a sad message. Very pop!
What direction are you wanting to head with the future of Kingsley? Are you exploring more genres and sounds, working on an LP, anything we’d like to know?
After the EP is released in June, I will have a few music videos I am going to put out and a west coast tour and keep promoting the EP. I will always explore more sounds in future projects. My voice is an interesting one and it can mold itself into almost any styles, so why not.
Where do you see yourself and this project in, say, 5 years? What are your hopes, dreams, aspirations?
I see my EP, I Am Because I Am, triple platinum and with a bunch of songs on the Billboard! And in five years I will look back on this first project and be soooo freaking proud at how pushing yourself outside of the comfort zone brings beautiful confidence and magical music.
Why should people care about Kingsley?
I am just one person telling my own story as I live it and see it. If someone can connect to that and feel empowered or inspired, then care for Kingsley. And if they don’t, they can go on with their life (laughs). Honestly, my songs are for me to get over things that I go through, BUT I KNOW other people are going through that shit too, so grab your tequila and put on your booty shaking jeans and play my new single “YOU”
Listen to “You,” out now, and catch Kingsley at her single release show TONIGHT at a house show in North Portland. I Am Because I Am is out in June. Tickets for her EP Release show at The Old Church on Saturday, June 23rd at 7:30PM are available for purchase here.
Interview by: Brendan Swogger
Brendan Swogger is a music writer and college student in Portland, OR. He is the Creative Director for The Crush blog. You can follow him on IG and Twitter @indiealtpdx.