Singing before she was talking, Kingsley had the rhythms of music running throughout her as she grew up in Chicago as the third eldest daughter of eight. At just the age of ten, Kingsley and two of her sisters created the family band, Heartfilled. Inspired by the pop style of The Jonas Brothers, she began to produce her own songs and knew that music had to be her focus in college.
Doubling majoring in Vocal Performance and Business Administration, Kingsley started an all-female a cappella group, gaining composing and arranging skills along the way. Moving her way to Portland, Oregon, after college, she landed an internship at a small indue venue called The Old Church as the marketing liaison. The Head of Marketing at The Roseland Theater then called her name, but she soon left to chase after her own music career. She became the forefront of Portland’s underground music scene and soon opened for artists like SG Lewis and worked on the remixing of “Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes with Sony/ATV.
With the hardships of 2020, Kingsley was able to make the most of the situation and worked with an entire cast and crew of Black females to bring the “I’m Fine” video to life. She also took on a brand partnership with the black owned makeup company, Event Cosmetics, and released a lipstick collection on Valentine’s Day.
Creating her own genre with a distinct and unique sound, her newest single “Therapy” reflects on a toxic relationship that only drags you down into a darker place. Her confidence can be felt and the bold production pulsates throughout as she sings the lyrics, “Now my mind’s my worst enemy, how could you/I let my heart waste away, waste away for you…I pulled myself under, trying to save you from you”.
The music video also relays the unfortunate love through the magic and spells put on her by her past relationship however shows that, in the end, it was she alone who could ultimately save herself. To create the video, Kingsley teamed up with a POC team to create including Director/Editor Kamryn Fall and Camera Operator Sika Stanton, with the main actor Pedro Rodeduiz playing the part of the prince.
Whether Kingsley is singing, acting, or modeling, her main goal is to inspire listeners to become confident in who they are and know that they are unstoppable. We had the chance to fire some questions her way to learn more about this unique artist.
What kinds of music did you grow up listening to and who or what influenced you most?
It’s actually pretty funny to say now that I am getting older, but I was a hardcore Disney kid. I grew up listening to Demi, HSM, Hannah Montana, and The Jonas Brothers (I am low key listening to Nick Jonas’ new album, Spaceman, as I work on these interview questions haha!). I was also heavily influenced by Usher, Alicia Keys, and Aaliyah. They all inspired me to turn my poems into structured song form. I loved the way the artists told their side of the story in such an honest way, the way they wrote the choruses, and how they summed up a lifetime of conversations. And my God, their music was so damn catchy.
How would you describe your style and sound to those wondering what Kingsley is all about?
“WHY AM I CRYING AT THE CLUB” type of vibe. Melodic, pop-as-hell, dancey. The lyrics are from deep within a hollowed soul that is in need of serious mending, but the beat is something you have to get up and shake your booty to!
What is the Portland music scene like these days, and how did you find yourself being a part of it?
I was tired of the Chicago snow so I moved a week after I graduated from college. I wasn’t planning on staying as long as I have. I was lucky enough to work for one of the biggest venues in town as the head of marketing for a few years, which really helped shape my understanding of how to successfully navigate the indie music scene before I made the jump to have Kingsley be my day job. Portland is a great city to incubate and find your sound. It’s a very forgiving audience who wants to be a part of your journey from the very start. I was lucky enough to have this experience and gain lifetime fans during my early stages; at a time when I was still working on vocal control while dancing around on stage and shaping up on my stage banter.
What is your songwriting process like? Do you enjoy co-writing, or do you find it best to go through the process alone?
I always write about whichever boy or girl is currently in my life pissing me off (haha!) – and he or she knows that I write about his or her flaws. I think most people know that if you date a songwriter, that they WILL write about you. For me, I get to the point where all of my emotions are boiling over and I sit down and just write out how I am feeling – process everything the best as my mind can. Usually, it is in song form; sometimes it’s a poem or a short story. On my upcoming album, Crying On Holidays, I co-wrote with a few of my best friends who are AMAZING musicians, which was one of the best experiences I’ve had and I hope to have the chance to do it more often with people outside of my circle.
How did 2020 impact your career, and did you find it to be helpful or hurtful to your artistry?
BOTH. It was hurtful at first, but I have realized that it was helpful in the long run to my personal life and career. At the start of April 2020, I turned 27 and, like most, was feeling like ‘how long do I mentally have to prepare myself for what is to come? A few weeks? Great, I can do that.’ And then it turned out to be a freaking year and some change. After a full month of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use this free time to dig deeper spiritually and focus on myself rather than my career. I started meditating and doing breath work daily. I revamped my morning and night routines, I started reading the self-improvement books and listening to the podcasts that I had on my list since 2015.
After I got my personal life in a place where I thought it should be, I had a new lens to see out of. I was excited to create and cultivate outside of my bubble and do things that weren’t exactly conventional. I rewrote my entire album and collaborated with friends. I ended up teaming up with a group of Black females, to produce my first video, “I’m Fine,” from the album. The entire cast and crew for the video, including director, choreographer, camerawomen, photographers, stylists, and dancers were Black AND FROM Portland, which was such an honor and so dope.
In addition, I am so freaking excited to announce that I have landed a brand partnership with the black-owned local makeup company, Event Cosmetics, and released a lipstick collection on Valentine’s Day 2021 AND we have more items coming! There have been ups and downs, but I have learned so much about what actually is necessary in life and I will never ever ever go back to the way Kingsley used to think and treat life.
Where did the idea or inspiration for your newest single, “Therapy,” come from?
Ooooo child! I was in this relationship – the longest one I’ve ever been in – and we were coming to a pivotal point: work it out or break it off. I believed my pain and suffering came from and was entirely his fault. I went to therapy for multiple reasons, but a big one was because of him. I hadn’t felt like myself in the last year and something needed to change. Funny thing is that I wrote this song a week before I started my sessions when said person decided a break was necessary. Where was the song recorded and who was involved with the production? My bandmate Jack Mortensen created the instrumental and I wrote the song, I recorded it at Sunset Digs Studio in Portland with the amazing producer (who is producing my entire album) Sean Berahmand, and my bandmate, Amy Evans is singing on the back ground vocals.
How did the idea for the “Therapy” music video come about?
Fast forward to being in actual therapy over this guy. I thought my therapist would see my view and blame him too, maybe even see me as a true victim of my scenario, but she, in fact, did not. We worked hard and found the true root of a lot of my issues and came to the other side of the labyrinth, which you will see in the most artsy and creative way in the video.
While I’m in this labyrinth (which represents therapy in real life), I follow this purple fairy (who represents the highest conscious in real life) who will lead me to my salvation, which I believe is the prince, but maybe it’s not….
It was super important to me to play a princess, as it was always my dream as a kid to be one, and we know, represent matters. And the fairy tail concept fits perfectly with happy endings and the love story you secretly wish for.
What can listeners expect from your upcoming album, and when will it be out?
IT IS ACTUALLY COMING OUT IN MAY. We had to push it back a bit. But you can, as always, expect to be able to dance along and feel some serious heartache. This time around, I hope you can find healing in my music, as each song has helped me move into the beautiful soul I stand to be today.