Credit: David O’Donahue
Recognized for his work with Justin Bieber, LANY, Sasha Sloan, and other huge names in music right now, King Henry knows how to please artists and music fans alike. His tracks have been topping the charts for the past decade, and he even received a Grammy nomination for his work on Beyonce’s “All Night.” For the past few years, however, King Henry has been focusing on his own music, releasing singles and EPs that showcase his unmatched proficiency as a singer and songwriter. We had the chance to catch up with the illustrious King Henry to learn more about his work as a producer, his new single “Let Go,” his upcoming debut album, and more!
Melodic Mag: Hi there! Thanks so much for chatting with me. How is your October going so far?
King Henry: Hard to complain! Have been living in Nashville for about a year at this point, and I love the fall over here. After many years of living in Los Angeles, it has been a nice change to see the leaves falling and it getting a bit colder. Have been busy with my artist project recently and also finishing up a couple different album projects for artists I’ve been working with here in Nashville.
You are known for your work with the likes of The Weeknd, LANY, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé – when you first start working with an artist, how long does it take for you to tap into their sound and the music they want to make?
Honestly, it depends on the artist. At times, it can take a while to crack the code and figure out truly what an artist wants, but a lot of the great artists I’ve worked with all have a clear direction for what they want out of a producer and co-writer. It’s been fun to work, not only with individual artists, but also groups of collaborators while trying to make records that change the face of music. At the end of the day, I’m just having fun making music with my friends.
Diplo has had a major impact on your career –what do you think your life would be like if you never met him?
Wes has, before anything else, been a great friend in my life. He and I go way back, and it’s hard to imagine what things would have been like if we never met. I think at some point, we would have met and worked together because we both share a love for country music, but I definitely, in the early years of my career, had some unforgettable experiences working with him while traveling the world. Can’t replace any of that!
You recently released “Let Go” from your upcoming album. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind the track and how you decided to make it the first single?
“Let Go” came together over the course of the pandemic, but it originated as a demo between Sasha Sloan and I. We had created it a couple years ago and it was definitely more in line with things we’ve done together in the past, more of a singer-songwriter type of vibe. I realized it would be a pretty good addition to my project and worked on it over a few months. There were a lot of different ideas, but ultimately it became a pretty heavy-hitting house record, and I couldn’t be happier that we went with it first. I think releasing more music as an artist has always been a goal of mine, and this is a great display of where I think a lot of my direction is heading.
What was the inspiration behind the floating car concept for the artwork?
In a way, it came together slightly randomly, my creative directors Ethan Young and Mikey Caro threw it together and I couldn’t help but love it. They have been doing all of my artwork and visuals for some time now. They are old college friends of mine, but have been helping me create my visual components for the project. Ultimately, the design stemmed from the song being about letting go of love, one might say letting go of the wheel, and seeing where you end up. The car is a display of one not having any control and ultimately floating with no clear direction.
How does your new album compare to your 2016 and 2017 EPs?
It’s really different. I’m still figuring out exactly what the structure of it will be, but I think in the last few years since I released a lot of music, my sound has stayed consistent, but this project feels more mature than what I’ve done in the past. I’m excited to have more music coming on November 5th!
Is there anything you would change on those EPs now after all you have learned since then?
Definitely not. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and wouldn’t change it for the world. I still work with a lot of people from those records.
Credit: David O’Donahue
Is it difficult to create original songs with all of the music that is out in the world?
For me, not really. It’s easy to be inspired. At the end of the day, a lot of my artist project is me messing around with guitar and coming up with lyrical concepts and playing around with beats. I like to be a bit different and try new things with my artist project. Sometimes it’s hard when I’m a producer for an album for another artist.
I read that you first started out as a classical guitarist. Do you remember the first piece you learned how to play?
Man, I don’t. It’s been years. [Laughs] I started playing classical in my freshman year of high school. It was probably “Romance Anónimo,” which if you know anything about classical or maybe even not, you would recognize and know that piece. It’s quite easy to play in comparison to most pieces, but to a non-classical guitarist it probably sounds very complicated. [Laughs]
You were nominated for a Grammy for Beyoncé’s “All Night,” but unfortunately didn’t bring home the hardware that night. Are you someone who makes a big deal out of getting awards, or are you more “honored just to be nominated?”
Great question, and yes it stung at the time. [Laughs] That song was my first “placement” as a producer, so the fact that it earned me a Grammy nomination was beyond what I would have ever expected, and I’m happy with that. Surely that hardware would have looked nice in the studio, I’m not gonna lie, but I also think that awards are sometimes misleading and can make people feel unvalidated when they shouldn’t. Many songs and artists don’t receive Grammy’s etc and are more prolific and inspring than some of those who do, so to me its all just one group of people’s opinions and should be taken with more than a grain of salt.
Thanks again for your time. Any final comments or shoutouts or words of wisdom?
Life is short, don’t waste time doing things that you don’t enjoy doing just because society is trying to convince you otherwise 🙂