Watching Kingsley blow up in the Portland music scene over the past year has been such an honor. Not only is she one hell of an entrepreneurial spirit, but she’s an intuitive songwriter, vocalist and knowledgeable musician. From experience, I know it is not easy living a double life as an artist and industry professional. From being head of marketing at Double Tee and Roseland Theater, one of the most well-respected music venues in Portland, to being on the same bill with Elise Trouw, and Sawyer and Sara Niemietz, this boss-lady is one to watch. I sat down with her to learn how she does it all.
What's it like to have to balance a full time leadership position in the industry and a rising artist career?
Some days are hell and other days it doesn't feel like work. My favorite part about my day job is that it is in the music world, every day I am doing something at my "day job" that helps build up Kingsley. I get to bounce ideas off talent buyers that have been in the biz for 15+ years and get the real scoop from them. Down side is having to work around a 9-5 schedule. Luckily my job is in the music world and they know I am trying to build my singer career and are flexible with me leaving the office as needed.
How do you stay inspired to write music? How do you avoid burnout?
I write about things that happen in my life - I am inspired everyday by the relations that I have and the things that happen in my day. I don't think I've ever gotten burnt out because my song book is my dairy and I got a lot of shit I am working out in my song book hahaha! Some might say my therapist should read my songbook hahaha! Maybeeeeeeeee, maybe not!
People say that the Portland pop music scene hasn't quite taken off yet. How do you feel about the scene and how has it affected Kingsley?
It has!! It's just not a strong scene for locals - it forces you to reach out to promoters to try to join on a bill with a pop act touring through PDX. Most people want a stripped down solo set if you aren't on a pop bill, but it's hard to showcase what you can do as a pop artist with only a guitar. I went to a shit ton of open mics with my backing track on my iPhone. Most people loved it--and some of them hated it. In the end, if you want to do pop, you gotta try hard in PDX.
Since your debut release in June, you've played so many great shows! What is next for Kingsley?
I will be releasing music viddddddsssss!!! “Vibe” should be coming out around Aug 30th and “I Am Because I Am” will come out in late September. I am also collaborating with people on new music that should be coming out later this year! I am also gearing up to go on tour in Europe Summer of 2019.
Do you have any predictions about what will happen in the next few years in terms of the industry here?
I predict the fusion of Jazz/Hip-Hop is the new genre emerging and it’s going to take TF over! Common and Robert Glasper’s collab is the first of many!
What local ladies are in your top played on Spotify? Or anyone in particular you love going to see live?
Haley Johnsen (of course), and Lenore. I’m excited to see Noah Cyrus in October at the Wonder Ballroom - probably as close to Miley as I'll get! Chelsea Culter is coming, I'd love to open for her - shes a bad B!
What is your advice for local artists trying to break out of the Portland scene?
Don't think you can do it all on your own. Find as many mentors in the scene and get advice and help! Collaborate with people that are trying to rise up too. You don't need to work with someone that is 10 steps ahead of you to have success--networking with someone that is at the same level can advance you both at the same time!
You've collaborated with a lot of different producers, most recently Volldrauf, for your cover of "Seek Bromance" by Avicii and your original song "Human." What is the importance of creating a strong varied team as a rising artist? How has working with different co-writers, producers, visual artists, etc. added to your career?
If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes the world to create a successful artist. I think having a strong team with a variety of skills makes it a hell of a lot easier to achieve this dream. I can get all that I need to create a song or album from the people I surround myself around. I love working with other people; collaboration is the best thing I've done in my career thus far. It was hard to allow room for other ideas, but the outcome is much greater than my pride. I am beyond thankful for everyone that has helped me thus far: family, friends, musicians, producers, photographers, graphic designers, bookers, and all of my fans. Without them, I could not be Kingsley.
You can join Kingsley on her journey at @itskingsleymus (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and by following her on Spotify. Stay tuned for the music video release for her single “Vibe” next month! For now, watch a live performance of her track "Might Not Make It" and listen to her music and other talented boss-ladies in our Blog playlist below.
Interview by: Ashley Kervabon-Stoyanov
Ashley Kervabon-Stoyanov is the founder and executive directress for #WomenCrush Music. When she’s not leading the #WCM team, she’s coaching artists on how to live their best lives via her business DIA Music Coaching and travelling the world with her hubby and chiweenie pup. She currently resides in NYC and you can follow her at @mrsbossladywcm.