Topic: Finding Your Own Sound.
Couldn’t make it to Vampr’s Accelerator Session with KingDow back on September 1st? No problem, we have some key takeaways and the chat transcribed for you so you can re-live the conversation and get all the sage that he dished out! 🍽
- Mistakes are just lessons.
- Create with no ego and from the heart.
- Being open to the events happening around you.
- When experiencing a songwriting block just take a break from the song idea and work on other things. Don’t force it. If inspiration comes follow it otherwise let it be.
- Music is effortless you never have to think it’s all feeling, like water. Water just flows, it never has to think.
- Have fun and create what’s in your head and see what happens. The worst that could happen is you don’t like it. Then you move on to the next idea.
Vampr: We’re gunna jump right in and talk about being discovered on Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist!
KingDow: Sounds good!
Vampr: So let’s talk about which songs go to the playlist and how you got there.
KingDow: The song that got on the playlist was “Fake AF” produced by Sarey Savy with verses from Sarey, Emanuel Brown, and myself off of our KSE project. The song was released as a single in January and two weeks later I got the notification it was selected. I think it was a combination of Spotify pitch and ad marketing
Vampr: THAT’S SO DOPE! And just to let the people know what would you say your area of expertise is in music?
KingDow: I am an artist that makes genre-transcending music. I sing, rap, and co-produce my music using my bass lines. I’m also a bass player musician. I am also a dancer as well and showcase this in my music videos. And performing is another one of my strong suits, my shows have been described as holistic and mesmerizing. My shows have a lot of energy and I perform with a live band.
Vampr: In your Spotify bio it said that you started out in the Jazz scene. Can you tell us a bit about your evolution?
KingDow: Definitely, I grew up playing music with my dad. I played in many reggae bands and when I got to high school I joined the jazz band sophomore year while I was doing gospel gigs at church. In college I got a scholarship to play jazz during my four years. College was when I took my jazz studies seriously.
After and during that time I made my own bands and played around town regularly. I have a funk trip Dysfunkshun I formed in high school that plays regularly. I’m also in a community jazz band that plays monthly outside of my solo work.
Vampr: Wow! What a colorful upbringing and no wonder your music is genre-transcending! And you’re still part of your High School band?! That’s dedication and loyalty, really.
KingDow: Yea, we just had rehearsal today actually, haha. Yes I’m grateful to them, have had a lot of fun.
Vampr: So when you’re creating music these days you’re really not trying to fit anywhere specific more everywhere, would say that is a good representation of your acts? Like you’re trying to create music that anyone and everyone can enjoy?
KingDow: I would say I’m making music that touches the soul and allows people to transcend their bodies. Hence why I call it transcending. When people hear my music I want them to feel liberated. I am forming a new sound and inspiring others to find themselves through it if that makes sense. So yea, no I am not trying to fit anywhere simply form a new lane.
Vampr: Bro, chills. That’s some new-age therapy-type vibes and I love it. So you said you started playing music with your dad – I assume he has helped to inspire you along the way?
KingDow: Yes, he has, he was a big inspiration because he turned me onto so many types of music. And always told me to create with no ego and from the heart. He has been a coach in that way.
Vampr: That’s incredible, it’s such a beautiful thing to have people on your side that believe in you and lift you up.
KingDow: Definitely he and my mom have been very pivotal.
Vampr: As far as your sound is concerned we can only assume it will continue to evolve, do you see yourself including any new genres? Or a better question, which genres are you most inspired by at the moment?
KingDow: Good question, yes, honestly the genres that have been inspiring me right now are reggae, alternative R&B, and African music. In my new album KingDow KingDom, a lot of this can be heard.
Vampr: Really excited about that! When finding new music to be inspired by, for example, African, how do you go about finding that?
KingDow: Honestly whatever I’m feeling in terms of listening to. For instance, my personal trainer has an African playlist we will work out to and if I’m at an event and they are playing cool music I’ll shazam it and add it to my pool of music. An African wedding I attended in July was like this. So I don’t really look per se, it’s more of when I’m living life and if the Spotify algorithm shows me a new song similar to what I listen to.
Vampr: Right, right, right. So just being open to being inspired really?
KingDow: Exactly. I’ve never been a crate digger. It’s more of being open to the events happening around me. Literally how most of my music comes about.
Vampr: I’d love to know a bit more about your upcoming project, what the intended release and who are you working on that with?
KingDow: So the release date is October 4th and it’s an album I co-produced with my producer Krazymak. Krazymak and I have been best friends since elementary school and in the last couple years, he has been my closest collaborator. The project is about the evolution of my sound and who I am now as an artist. I wanted to showcase my growth. It is also dedicated to my grandfather who passed away on my birthday this year.
I also have new features with artists I have gotten to know. Which includes Lake Stovall, Moia Bri, Anthony Arlene and Jeffe. Lake helped me produce one track.
Vampr: Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather but I bet he’s proud of you! Is this album going to be somewhat of an anthology for you and have you struggled lyrically at all? In addition, if you are blocked, what are tips and tricks to get out of that block?
KingDow: Thank you! Yes, I know he is sleeping well. It’s more of a showcase of my new sound direction. I’m going in terms of combining all aspects of my musicality and artistry into one since those used to be separate.
One song took longer to write than the others for the project. When that happens I just take a break from the song idea and work on other things. I don’t force it. If inspiration comes I follow it otherwise I let it be. Nowadays I do all my writing in the studio after the beat is made. So I usually finish my songs during the session. Also, if you find yourself forcing a song I take that as a sign it isn’t meant to be because music is effortless you never have to think it’s all feeling, like water. Water just flows, it never has to think.
Vampr: Smart, no point in forcing something because then it’s not genuine. What is your advice for anyone who is struggling to find their sound in this landscape of music where music tools and samples are more accessible than ever?
KingDow: I would say go into it trying stuff and seeing what comes out. Just have fun and create what’s in your head and see what happens. The worst that could happen is you don’t like it. Then you move on to the next idea.
Vampr: Would you say failure is part of success in music? Like you have to try and fail to find the sound that you’re passionate about?
KingDow: Yes, the whole business is about failure. Making as many mistakes as you can to continue to get better The most seasoned artists in this business have failed the most. They never gave up. So many hits were made off of mistakes anyway.
Vampr: I feel like this is a beautiful place to leave it. The final words being, don’t forget to fail a lot so you can succeed even more and that’s really the process of finding your sound and your passion in whatever you do.
KingDow: Couldn’t have said it better myself, that’s exactly it. Mistakes are just lessons and bigger blessings are around the corner.
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