KINGS is the perfect blend of indie-pop and elements of R&B that orbit around relationships, heartbreak, and girl power. She’s best known as a singer and personality, having amassed over 5.1M followers on TikTok. It speaks directly to Generation Z’s love for her raw vocal talent in fun, candid environments and comfy-esque personal style—not to mention going viral for singing her order to Starbucks employees.
Born in North Carolina, KINGS found herself immersed in the arts at a young age, playing piano, singing, and studying dance. By the time she turned fifteen, she was taking trips back and forth to Nashville every month for songwriting sessions, before moving there permanently. “I started singing and writing songs at an extremely young age, with the encouragement of my dad who had his fair share of stages in the spotlight,” she shares. Now, based in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter is looking to take her career to new heights.
Today, KINGS releases her debut EP aptly titled boy tears via Snafu Records (Gia Woods, Hit-Boy, Bayli). The three-track offering is joined by pre-release singles ‘how to kill me” and “thank me later” as well as new songs like “boy,” which we premiere alongside the full-length release. Love and intimacy have always been the focus of her work, but with this most recent release, we get a sense of vulnerability in a world that feeds on validation and acceptance.
We had the pleasure of chatting with KINGS about her debut EP, how TikTok helped upscale her fanbase, and welcoming a new chapter in her career amongst other topics. Read on for our conversation.
How did you start creating music? What were your initial motivations and inspirations?
In a tiny town in North Carolina, baby KINGS was obsessed with Hannah Montana. That’s how it started. As soon as I saw how an artist could command a stage, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Being a dancer as well, I’ve been performing since I was three and my love for music, and really all the arts, was always present.
If I was breathing, I was singing. I started singing and writing songs at an extremely young age, with the encouragement of my dad who had his fair share of stages in the spotlight. I am very thankful I knew this was my path from such a young age.
Can you express how your upbringing in Nashville influences your music?
I was born in North Carolina but started traveling to Nashville for music when I was about fifteen and I fell in love with it. Being the only one with crazy dreams like mine as a kid, it was incredible and inspiring being around people who shared the same one. I definitely had some ups and downs, but I learned more lessons than I could’ve asked for about songwriting and the music industry.
Tell us a little bit about your debut EP. What was the development process like, and what are some hopes or goals you have for this release? If you had to choose one favorite track from the record, which would it be?
boy tears is my way of saying, I cried over a really dumb boy, probably too much, then I realized, why the hell am I crying when I could be screaming these songs in my car at 2 AM. My favorite track is “how to kill me.” Immediately after writing this song, I knew I created something in a new direction I loved.
Even though I connect with each track on an emotional level, this one hits just a tiny bit harder for me. I definitely have high hopes for my first EP and I couldn’t be more stoked to share these stories with my audience. If I can help just one person going through heartbreak with these songs, that’s all I can ask for honestly.
From writing the song to finally being able to put it out, what was the creative process behind “boy.” like? Was there a particular experience or emotion that inspired the record?
“boy.” was written in the middle of the pandemic over facetime. this was my first time writing with producer, David “Messy” Mescon, songwriter Kendall Brower, and it was definitely the start of a very strong team. We continued writing and eventually wrote “thank me later” and “how to kill me,” which I loved just as much as “boy.” We wrote “boy.” about a not-so-great boy situation that went down a few months prior to writing.
How does not only the lead single, but the project as a whole, set the tone for this new chapter in your career?
This EP is definitely setting me up for an amazing year with music. the first single to come out on this EP was “thank me later”, which is my biggest song to date. Getting over 25 million views on my “thank me later” TikToks, my audience has definitely loved watching the rest of my songs trickle onto the platform as well. All three songs have a very distinct sound, incorporating pop and a little R&B, which I love.
Amongst your several musical talents, you have a knack for going viral on the Internet as well. What are your thoughts on the TikTok platform and its community, and how has it influenced your creative processes?
TikTok has been a great stepping stone in my career. Although music will forever be my main passion, my social media journey has opened so many incredible doors for my artist project. The app is extremely volatile, and you never know what’s going to hit, but at the end of the day, it’s all about consistency.
Yellow hair is obviously one of the most distinguishable aspects of your aesthetic—how would you define your fashion style? What brands or items do you enjoy wearing?
My hair is definitely my favorite thing about my style. I’ve had yellow hair for over two years and I’m convinced I could never get sick of it. I tend to lean towards more black and white clothes to match my hair, but in all honesty, comfy clothes are everything. As much as I love dressing up for an event, you will almost always find me in sweats with lots of chains.
What are you looking forward to this year? Aside from releasing music, are there any upcoming projects that you can share?
I am incredibly stoked for my next show on March 28th at Resident DTLA. And yeah, yeah, it sounds cheesy, but the stage really feels like my second home and I’m so excited for all my shows this spring and summer. I also have some very exciting things on the rise that, don’t hate me, I can’t even talk about yet. But there is 100% lots of new music coming. I write a song almost every day and am so pumped to connect with my fans even more through my art this year.