In addition to mentor Prince, Erykah Badu, Questlove and Robert Glasper, Los Angeles trio KING welcomed another star to its growing constellation of fans during the Hollywood Forever stop on the ethereal soul group’s current tour. Sitting front and center in the balcony of the packed house: Stevie Wonder.
“Just the fact that he heard the music and it spoke to him … it was our wildest dream as we’re such big fans,” recalls Paris Strother, who with twin Amber and sister-in-music Anita Bias comprise KING. Adds Paris, “He asked if we could collaborate with him, which obviously made my whole life.”
As fans anticipate that creative combustion, they are presently relishing KING’s full-length album debut, We Are KING. Released in February on the group’s KING Creative label, the love-themed set bowed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and in the top 10 on Independent Albums. In addition to featuring extended mixes of the three songs from the group’s acclaimed 2011 EP The Story (the title track, “Hey” and “Supernatural”), the 12-song album includes new single “Carry On,” whose video premieres today.
The video — whose visuals were created by Berlin-based illustrator Veronica Solomon — is the second in a series of animated videos planned by KING. Introducing the series was the 8-bit video for first single “The Greatest,” an homage to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. “Carry On” doubles as a primer for teaching someone how to love the right way.
“We found some of Veronica’s work on the Internet and reached out,” says Paris about the new video. “It was fun to see how she interpreted the music. It’s important to us to be able to have no boundaries on what we’re able to present visually.”
Which goes hand-in-hand with KING’s musical mindset. All three work together on songwriting and arrangements, with Paris producing the songs for singers Amber and Anita. Noting that their intention is to always create a musical landscape, Paris throws out several colorful descriptions that KING’s sound has evoked. “We’ve heard phrases like ‘dream pop,’ ‘sophisticated pop’ and ‘LSD R&B,’” she says with a laugh. “All different kinds of listeners can hear themselves in our music because it’s influenced by so many genres and drawn from so many different experiences.”
Next up for KING: continuing its tour, which includes first-time shows at SXSW (Spotify House on March 14; Stereogum on March 16) and new spring dates for overseas shows in the U.K., Ireland and Japan (weareKING.com).
Watch the video for “Carry On” below: