Kaki King is an American guitarist from Marietta (suburb of Atlanta), Georgia and is currently residing in New York. King's style combines fret-tapping with slap bass techniques, as well as sound layering and looping, which creates a percussive and complex sound.
Katherine Elizabeth King (born August 24, 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia), known by her stage name Kaki King, is an American musician and composer. King is known for her percussive and jazz-tinged melodies, energetic live shows, unique use of multiple tunings on both acoustic and lap steel guitar, and her diverse range in different genres.
In February 2006, Rolling Stone released a list of "The New Guitar Gods", with King as the sole woman and youngest artist honored. In addition to a 10-year career that includes five LP and two EP albums, King has also spent significant time scoring music for television and film. She worked alongside Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook contributing the music for the soundtrack to Sean Penn's Into the Wild, for which King, Vedder and Brook were nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
King was born August 24, 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia, the first of two daughters. While King was a small child, her father noticed her natural musical ability, and encouraged her interest in music. She was introduced to the guitar at the age of four and played for several years, but after taking up the drums a few years later, they became her primary instruments as an adolescent.
Convinced that her break in music would come from being a drummer, King played in bands in high school with classmate Morgan Jahnig, who would later become the bassist of Old Crow Medicine Show. Upon graduating from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta in 1998, the two friends made their way to New York University. During her time there, King picked up the guitar again, and revisited the finger-style techniques that intrigued her as a child. From there, King played a few occasional gigs and busked in the New York subways.
Career and Albums
Everybody Loves You | Legs To Make Us Longer:
After signing with Velour Records in 2002, King began recording her debut album, Everybody Loves You. She incorporated finger-style "fanning," with both flamenco style percussion and fret-tapping techniques, as well as using intricate tunings of her guitar (double open tunings, viola tunings, and traditional Russian 7ths). On April 22, 2003, Everybody Loves You was released to positive reviews and feedback on King's skills as a guitarist in relation to her age. While her later work involves more of a band format, Everybody Loves You is King's only fully acoustic guitar album, with the exception of light singing on the hidden bonus track, "The Government." To support the album, King went on her first major media promotional tour in North America.
After her appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Sony Records offered King a deal with Epic's Red Ink label. From there, King headed back into the studio to work on her sophomore effort, "Legs to Make Us Longer." King began to incorporate different instruments and sound effects into her album, such as looping and shoegazing, light drum work on "Doing The Wrong Thing" and her first incorporation of lap steel with "My Insect Life." Produced by David Torn, "Legs to Make Us Longer" was released on Red Ink Imprint on October 5, 2004 to strong reviews. In support of the album, King performed as an opening act for Eric Johnson during a leg of his 2005 tour, as well as completing her own nationwide and world tour.
Until We Felt Red | Daysleeper EP | A Change in Sound
Coming off the end of her tour for Legs to Make Us Longer in 2005, King departed from her previous musical direction, out of a desire to escape being pigeonholed as a solo instrumental artist. She amicably parted ways with major label Sony/Epic and returned to her original label, Velour, to begin work on her third album ...Until We Felt Red. Released August 8, 2006 on Velour Records, the album features production work by Tortoise's John McEntire. With the prominence of electric guitar, shoegazing and peddling effects on the new record and the addition of a full band, the music website AV Club called the sound a "post-rock makeover". She supported the album by going on tour with Sarah Bettens from K's Choice.
Dave Grohl asked King to appear as a guitarist on the track "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners" from the Foo Fighters' on their studio album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, released on September 25, 2007. On November 18, 2007 she joined Dave Grohl on stage to perform the track at the O2 arena in London. Grohl highly praised King's performance:
"There are some guitar players that are good and there are some guitar players that are really fucking good. And then there's Kaki King."
King went on tour with the Foo Fighters on the Australian leg of the Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace tour. While on tour, King finished recording what would become the Daysleeper EP. The EP was released in late 2007, after King had finished work with Robin Williams on August Rush, and with Eddie Vedder and Sean Penn on Into The Wild."
Dreaming of Revenge | Mexican Teenagers EP
King recruited Malcolm Burn to help her on her newest effort, Dreaming of Revenge, and in December 2007 wrote about it in her blog: "I finished the new album. Don't get your panties in a tangle, it won't be released until next year, but it's done. And it's amazing." Filled with more melodic pop tunes than previous albums, Dreaming of Revenge was released in physical format on March 11, 2008 to highly positive reviews. On March 4, 2008, iTunes released a full version of Dreaming of Revenge featuring the bonus track "I Need A Girl Who Knows A Map." After filiming a video for "Pull Me Out Alive," she began her tour.
During the first half of King's tour she headlined The Roxy LA and toured with The Mountain Goats, which later led to the exclusive release of Kaki King and The Mountain Goats EP "Black Pear Tree". While touring Australia in 2008, King filmed part of the music video "Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be A Bad Person?" in Sydney. Directed by Michael Ebner, the rest of the video was completed in New York in 2009. After completing the last leg of her world tour, King decided to tour once again with a strictly acoustic show. Dubbed "The "No Bullshit" Tour,' King did smaller shows throughout the US and UK that were specifically focused on acoustic works from her first albums along with stripped-down versions of her newer songs.
After completing her "No Bullshit Tour," King scored work on the independent film How I Got Lost, and started to record her next EP, titled "Mexican Teenagers EP." Recruiting her band that she used from Dreaming Of Revenge, King cut five new tracks for her new album.
After meeting with Carter Burwell to start work on the Scoring for The Twilight Movies, and completing work on Timbaland's "Shock Value II, (which would later go on to become Miley Cyrus' "We Belong To The Music")" King began to outline her ideals for her 5th record. King's interest in Cold War novels, Russian spies and espionage theme, particularly the idea of living a double life, was the basis for her new album, Junior. Ranging from "lyrically from exuberance and anger to heartbreaking melancholy; and sonically from experimental pieces to accessible pop," Junior showcases her further maturation as a well-rounded artist that continues to defy categorization and expectations.
As with her previous album, 2008's Dreaming of Revenge, Junior was produced by Malcolm Burn and recorded at his studio in Kingston, New York. But in contrast to that record, which was marked by deep textures and layers as well as unusual instrumentation, Junior was specifically made with only three musicians in mind-in this case, King, multi-instrumentalist Dan Brantigan and drummer Jordan Perlson. The result was something more direct. "Prior to this I would have written a lot in the studio and played all the instruments myself," King says. "This time, I really leaned on Dan and Jordan to help shape the songs and help me get the record written."
King toured for five weeks in Europe in support of her LP Junior, on the Cooking Vinyl label. She later appeared as the Musical Guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, sitting in with The Roots as a part of the house band, and began a US-based tour.
When asked by Premier Guitar Magazine what her plans were after completing her tour, King responded "I've been on the road for four months straight. In another three weeks, we'll be done with this tour. Honestly, that's about as far as I can see."
Style, techniques and instruments
After using guitars manufactured by the Ovation Guitar Company throughout her career, King was invited to design her own custom guitar. The result is her primary instrument, the 1581-KK custom Ovation Adamas acoustic guitar. King herself signs her name on each guitar.
King's style combines fret-tapping with slap bass techniques, using the guitar for percussive beats, as well as sound layering and looping. Her playing style has been compared to Michael Hedges and Preston Reed,] the latter of whom she explicitly cites as an influence.
Katherine Elizabeth King (born August 24, 1979) is best known by her stage name; Kaki King, incorporating her childhood nickname of "Kaki" with her surname. She is an American Golden Globe-nominated multi-instrumentalist and composer from Atlanta, Georgia. King is known for her percussive and jazz-tinged melodies, energetic live shows, unique finger-style playing, use of multiple tunings on both acoustic and lap steel guitar, and her diverse range in different genres, creating her own unmistakeable sound.
In February 2006, Rolling Stone released a list of "The New Guitar Gods", with King as the sole woman and youngest artist thus honored. In addition to a 10 year career that includes 5 full LP albums and 2 EP albums, multiple appearances on other artists albums, and working with musicians including Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and Timbaland, King spent significant time scoring music to television and film. She worked alongside Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook contributiong the music for the soundtrack to Sean Penn's Into the Wild, for which King, Vedder and Brook were nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.King's own material used in the soundtrack were "Frame" and "Doing the Wrong Thing"; both songs appearing on her second album, Legs to Make Us Longer. More recently, she has worked on The Twilight Trilogies.