The 99% Episode #6 with Anthiny King
Hailing from New York, Anthiny King began as a songwriter at the young age of 14 years old. After merely listening to Kanye West’s debut album “The College Dropout,” Anthiny became fascinated with rap music. Having a poetic background in school, he quickly taught himself how to make and produce music assisting him to create original songs. With his determination, he soon enough paved a path leading him towards success as a singer and rapper. His past releases include mixtapes that highlight various genres like Smooth Jazz, R&B, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, and Downtempo. Since Anthiny remains curious about exploring different kinds of beats, keeps his fans mesmerized by his crafts. Take a listen and read along to the interview we had with Anthiny on the 99% podcast.
Listen To Anthiny King 99 Percent Podcast Interview Below:
[00:00:19]Sean: Anthiny thanks for joining us!
Thank You for having me.
Sean: You’re from Harlem, which has been known for its musical talent since the Renaissance. How has growing up in such an iconic neighborhood shape your sound?
In Harlem, everybody was known for just being unique, so I always wanted to be authentic with whatever sound or style I was developing at the time. When I was in Harlem looking at artists like Big L, rest in peace to him, he was a lyrical assassin. Before I started singing, I was rapping, and I would look up to talent like him. He always made me feel like I had to be authentic.
Sean: I grew up in Harlem to, and one thing I can say is that there are really really unique people and talent, whether it’s fashion, music, or any of that sort, you know someone is from Harlem when you hear, them when you see them, when you look at how they interact their environment. What was your inspiration to start creating music? Was it something that you were always passionate about as a child? Walk me through your musical journey starting from back then and the where you are now.
It’s kind of funny because my family would always say that they’re surprised that I’m making music. Then it would always make sense because when I was around my mom, she played music, my grandparents played music, my dad played music, and they all had different backgrounds. My dad was from Trinidad, and my grandparents were from Charleston, South Carolina. I heard different sounds of music. I feel like as time went on, I started getting that natural niche because when I was younger, I would always record my music on tape recorders and create my radio shows. What activated it was my freshman in high school, I was writing poetry, and I wasn’t entirely making music. What made me start doing it was a close that I had met in high school. He would freestyle, rap, record himself, and the next thing you know I wanted to do that. I started tapping into music. I think around that time, Kanye had dropped his debut album, College Dropout, around 2004, my freshman year of high school. Hearing that man, I listened to that album, and everything changed for me. It made me want to get into music seriously. From then on, I started working on developing my sound.
Sean: You talk about College Dropout being such a fantastic body of work. I was a freshman in college when it came out, and it changed everything. When Kanye came into the space, it changed the sound and how people approached music from a melodic and musical aspect, but also from an ideology and perspective of how they package themselves. You’re a part of an artist collective, a family of sorts. Can you tell me a little bit about who you create with and the benefits of working in collaboration with other artists?
6 Burle Enterprises is a few of my good brothers and me. We have been working together as a collective since 2009. As time went on, we ended up forming 6 Burle Enterprises in 2014. It’s me and my partner/manager, Shines, my other partner Ray Charles, who was one half of the production collective Teen Titans, and they recently produced some work for J Cole in the past. My other partner Biagio, who is a great design editor for a magazine company. It’s us four, and I’m one of the people that heads the label situation. We all have different hands in different pots. Like me being a writer, a rapper, a songwriter and producer. My partner, Ray Charles, who is a part of Team Titans and works with other artists. We are all assets to each other in different ways in the music industry. The R&B collective is not even just R&B; we can’t bind it to that one genre in that way. We’re a music collective because we get so many different sounds from artists we are inspired by. Having multiple different job descriptions in the label, we draw different opportunities.
Sean: I can imagine it being cool to have multiple people with multiple skill sets, allowing you to work a lot quicker.
A lot of times I’ll be in situations where I’m working with an artist, providing songwriting or just providing ideas, I may start something, and then I need Dre to provide production and assistance to help me get the record done for the artist or vice versa. If he’s working on a production for an artist and he needs a hook or an idea, I can throw some vocals on something, so it works out. The benefit of working with another artist is that you learn different things. Everybody has their singing styles, writing styles, and sometimes when we have these big writing sessions where we get to know each other and vibe and organically build our ideas, you end up learning different things from different people. That’s a benefit.
Sean: That’s awesome. So right on Steereo, you have To The Point, off Chocolate. Why the name Chocolate, what was your creative process when conceptualizing and creating this project?
When chocolate was created, at the time, I was in a place where I wanted to be musically transparent and layer all the different inspirations and drives I’ve acquired over the years. I started working on it in the Fall of 2016. Before that, I had finished a previous catalog of work, but I just grew to be uninspired over time. It’s an overwhelming grind and struggle sometimes, working with artists and trying to land different songs. Sometimes you just lose the drive for yourself. When I was making Chocolate, before I even knew it was Chocolate, at a point, by the Fall of 2016, I needed to fall in love with music again. Like how I did as a freshman in high school. The same way I did when Kanye dropped and I heard his music. I knew I needed to somehow get that drive again. What was it? I emotionally shut myself off from the world for a little while, and I knew all I had was my heart, my soul, and some voice notes in my iPhone, and I’m going to start building from the bottom.
A lot of the music on Chocolate had no samples. It was a lot of different, pure ideas from me. I’m like a jack of all trades when it comes to vocal shaping. I know how to use my vocals to create an organic presence for music. As I was making music, I felt like I was making chocolate. By then I hadn’t had any music released and I felt like I could name is Chocolate because chocolate represents a gift on special occasions. People give chocolate to their significant other during the best times in a relationship and in the worst times. It’s a gift and an apology. For my listeners and to every one that’s been waiting for my music for a long time. It’s a gift because I put a lot of my heart and soul into a lot of organic ideas. Building this whole project with no samples is pure instrumentation and organic scoring. I decided to name the project chocolate. There are so many different things you could tie into why I would name it chocolate, but I thought about the musical style which has rich textures, eccentric sounds; dark and gloomy but vibing at the same time. With this, I feel like anyone listening would know that this guy has good taste. At the end of the day, I’m displaying my taste and the things that inspire me.
Sean: Just like chocolate, music comes in all different forms. You have white chocolate, caramel. I got to see your album cover work, which we love, with the different images, and it kind of speaks through your artwork.
Chocolate, the brand itself is an ever growing thing. It was a progression of sorts because as time went on, as I was creating, I felt like I was finetuning chocolate and I was making something that was going to be different for everybody in why it was done.
Sean: I want to know your thoughts on the music industry and the music landscape in general, and in your opinion, what is it like being an independent artist? From your point of view, what are the benefits and drawbacks? We’re obviously in a renaissance for artists where access to music and the ability to do things on your own is at a place where it’s never been, so I want to get your perspective on being an independent artist.
You feel like a free agent, and you’re not held bound to a lot of the politics in the industry. It’s like you’re outside of this world. I’ve been in a lot of different situations where I could have gotten into a significant legal situation, but for some reason just from personal experience it just never really worked out to be fair for me. Regarding contracts and everything. So I just always remained independent until I found a great situation. I feel like now, as an independent artist, I still have control over my audience. As far as working with other talent and working for yourself, you have more free reign. There’s nobody to answer to. For me, you still work in the system. The drawback is obviously that I don’t have a major label to push this. But at the same time, I’m able to build that organic audience and the organic following. Work my way through the ranks as I am a songwriter, I still use those resources to build myself with other artists.
Sean: What are your thoughts on music technology? We have all these advancements such as Spotify, Musical.y, Soundcloud. How is it giving artists the opportunity to be discovered?
I always appreciated SoundCloud. Soundcloud up until now has been the primary outlet for our music. I have yet to release anything on other platforms officially. This is something that I am preparing for now, but Soundcloud has put me onto so many different people from all over the world. I get messages all the time on Twitter and my Instagram from different people from overseas. I would say Soundcloud has been a big help when teamed up with the right social media. I remember when Vine was going. It was very SoundCloud friendly because everyone on Vine was looking for some music on SoundCloud. I feel like around then there was a big boom. Artists like Bryson Tiller, he was discovered on SoundCloud. SoundCloud has proven to be a good outlet source. A lot of major artists don’t release their music on SoundCloud anymore, but that was an excellent platform. I feel like it still is, but now you have to expand because there is way more than SoundCloud now.
Sean: It’s super interesting because major artists now will release their music on SoundCloud; someone that sees the value of releasing as much music as possible. I’m more interested in the artists that produce a lot and put it out there versus the artists that tuck it away. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but platforms like SoundCloud make it awesome for me to go on there and find artists like you without even necessarily looking for it because of it kind of falls in your lap.
They have a good playlist shuffle system. People discovered me and this song that I did two years ago because it ended up in a playlist and was shuffled over to another. Sometimes my songs have started from the very bottom and you just have to get them up. SoundCloud is a good outlet.
Sean: What artists are you currently listening to and are inspired by? Past and present.
I would say, Sade.
Sean: When someone hears Anthony King for the first time, someone is listening to your music the first time out. What would you like them to feel? What emotions do you want to invoke in anyone that’s hearing you for the first time?
I’d like to think that a lot of the music that I make has a strong influence of sounds from the past and present while being uniquely shaped by me with my delivery. Music is always capturing a vibe and taking control of it. Music is nostalgic and futuristic.
[00:21:05]Sean: That’s as simple as you can put it. Okay, fill in the blank: Music to me is…
Music to me is everything because I’ve spent most of my existence doing it. This has been the vehicle for how I live my life. Music is everything and especially at this point, it’s everything. Everything that I need.
Sean: That rolled beautifully.
When you brought yourself to a point where this is all you have is all you had, you put all your eggs in this basket. You put your life on the line for it, so it’s everything. This is what is going to allow me to change other people’s lives.
Sean: Last but not least, who is Anthiny King?
Changemaker. I’m glad you’re able to join us and share your story.
Sean: Can you give our listeners some info on where to find you and any projects or shows you have coming up?
Follow me on instagram, twitter, facebook, SoundCloud at Anthiny King.