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From Miami To Jamaica to the eardrums – An Interview With King P

King P aka Phillip Solomon Stewart is a musician through and through. His unique vibrations and hustle approach to life has led him to explode onto the scene with a ubiquitous and unorthodox sound. He’s a Jamaican-rooted Hip Hop artist and multi-instrumentalist currently residing in Tallahassee, Fl. who delivers an unmatched level of energy through his Dancehall flair.

He sat down with us for a few questions about his inspiration, musical history and what streaming means to modern artists.

Hey, first and foremost thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us. Let’s start at the beginning, what was your first experience with music?

My first experience with music had to be when I was an infant in Jamaica. I was born in Miami, as a child, my brother and I were sent to Jamaica to live with our grandma for a few years. It was there that I learned how important music is to our culture.

When I eventually came back to Miami my mother told me I had developed a thick Jamaican accent. We teased each other a lot and my family used to call me ‘Little Mike’ (Michael Jackson) because I would try to dance and sing like him all the time.

In my school years I had a lot of musical influence, I can still recall the tunes they played on the way to football practice and at the games. I was also heavily involved with the church in my younger years, I was in the choir where the other kids made fun of my soprano singing. Of course, kids can be cruel, but it rolled off my back and in 6th grade I picked up my first instrument, a trumpet before switching to alto saxophone. I practiced everyday advancing faster and faster. After feeling this new calling, I quit the school choir and threw myself into the instruments.

It’s 11 years since the release of my first song/album, ever since I picked up my first instrument at age 11 I’ve had a passion for performing, I’ll always be a musician first. In 2009 a friend of mine in Los Angeles would ask me to record sax parts on his music, which is where my music career took off.

He suggested I chase after the dream, especially after hearing my contributions. I began producing a few beats and collaborated with some local artists after a friend of mine shared one of my beat tracks with the community. I can remember one day I was in a club and heard one of my own songs being pumped out! I wanted to keep the momentum going so I started writing and chasing after it. I saw the words in the air above me and started writing immediately, it was then and there that the producer became ‘King P, The Artist.

King P aka Phillip Solomon Stewart

Would you say there are some specific influences you have carried through your sound as a saxophonist into hip-hop?

Absolutely! I believe because I am a musician, specifically a saxophonist – melodies come to me naturally. When listening to music, I can recognise the beats, chords and melodies that spark an adventure and spot the ones that fall flat. My strength is in musical chords and progressions, but I can also recognize how music can go over some listeners heads if it is too complex.

It’s still present in my current music too, I incorporate the sax into many of my songs. In fact my song, “Tonight We Party” was written and recorded initially to be a saxophone release for me. My mixing engineer thought I should add lyrics to the song which is how a rap and lyrical version came about. I truly believe the saxophone to be an extension of voice, with that, I carry all the lessons I’ve gained so far as a saxophonist into my music career.

Your music certainly has echoes of classic hip-hop fused with Jamaican vibrations, how important was it to maintain that heritage in your sound?

Extremely important! I’ve always wanted to be me when I make music. It took me a while to find my own distinct sound, I experimented for a long time before developing my patterns, I always had an intention to create ‘World’ music.

It happened with my single “Good Vibes” which won a few awards for its video. One of those winning categories was, Best World Music! This reminded me of what I told myself years ago!

We can’t avoid the elephant in the room, the pandemic certainly threw the world into a tailspin, did you find any silver linings or creative inspiration as a result?

The pandemic and lockdowns are a blessing and a curse – you gotta embrace both sides in a way. I certainly have and I am still appreciative for this moment in human history for all it’s highs and lows.

For me, this question takes me back to May 2nd, 2019. That day I decided to resign from my full time job of 12 years and go full time as an entrepreneur, music artist, and actor. While on the road to a show in Tampa, Florida on November 30th, 2019 – I had a vision to do an “All or Nothing” Tour in 2020. I was driving and saw myself in Los Angeles and remember blurting aloud, “I gotta go to Cali, we going to Los Angeles”. So, we immediately started planning after the Tampa show.

January 5th, 2020, we launched the “All or Nothing” tour in Atlanta. Performing at the ‘New Music Monday’ show at Stankonia Studios which was famous for housing OutKast, a few other shows and then heading to New York.

Got plenty stories to tell from this experience, one that sadly stands out was waking up to the news that one of my biggest inspirations outside of music had passed. I will always remember the moment I read Kobe was gone. On the sixth day in New York, I got an offer to perform in Miami at the “Uncle Luke Super Bowl Car Show” event. We changed up our plans and went to Miami.

While there, I was informed that my “Good Vibes” music video had won “Best Choreography” and “Best World Music”. We went back to LA and stayed for another few weeks which led to studio time where we started the creative process to my latest single “Slip N Slide” that I am very excited about! I got an audition which kept me in LA for a few days more, it was then I decided to move to LA and would start packing as soon as I got back to Miami, that was March 2020… The lockdown started as soon as I got home so all the plans came screeching to a halt.

The rest of 2020 we got creative doing live shows on social media and even involving people across the globe to participate in the filming of my “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”. It started off as a social media post where I invited everyone around the world to contribute including myself and my sons in Tallahassee. Some weeks later I had some devasting news that my friend, super producer Kendall “KenJo” Johnson passed away in his sleep. He was mastering my songs at the time and representing me with industry heads. KenJo was also responsible for my first Platinum plaque for my work on Ludacris’ album “Release Therapy”.

2020 continued with the crazy with another elephant in the room – police killings and social injustice and protests everywhere even in other countries. This prompted the recording of my song “Revolution Televised” which has two official music videos with one being filmed in Atlanta near the site of a recent protest march.

I recorded a second pandemic song in August of 2020. This time a more fun energetic song called, “Put it on Repeat”. The music video caught rapid attention and excitement earning 100k views in about a week. To wrap up the last quarter of the year I decided to go back to Los Angeles on October 1-7 to film multiple music videos for “Top Notch”, “Tonight We Party”, “Aloha” and two versions of “My Life In Time”. I’ll link you to the previews later on, they’re set to release after “Slip n Slide”.

King P

You’ve had some impressive collaborations in your career, is there any artist you feel would complement your style that you haven’t worked with yet?

I’m open to collab with anyone passionate and serious about their music as I am. To collab with the current industry giants would be amazing! Artists like Drake, Roddy Ricch, DJ Khaled, Buju Banton, Dexta Daps, Shenseea, Taurus Riley, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Ty Dolla $ign, Kanye West and even Jay-Z would be a huge accomplishment!

I specifically like Roddy Rich because his orchestral vibes gel well with my own sensibilities, we think in the same mind.

You have a background in Science and Education and seem to have carried that on through your life. What is the single most important lesson you’ve ever been given?

Great Question! I remember while in college, I had a professor that was so mean and focused it on me. She said because I was popular, she wanted to make sure I knew I was not getting any passes and that I had to do the work and do it well. I got the marks for a C and she gave me a D, forcing me to re-sit the course. When I say she was extra mean to me, it’s an understatement. It followed me through to my teaching internships where I was unfairly targeted again. I remember after all was said and done she had me in her office, and she said the one sentence that funnily inspired me to think about what I wanted to do: “Phillip, you are good at a lot of things but you’re not great at nothing!”

She wasn’t completely wrong, I did a lot in college from my position as Assistant Head Drum Major of the World Famous FAMU Marching 100 Band and even Mr. College of Education for two consecutive years at Florida A&M University. After I graduated, I tried my hand in everything, I had a full-time job teaching, I was performing as a saxophonist, producing for local artists, had a R&B/Jazz cover band, was a head coach in football, basketball, track & field, and a full-time family man to name a few…

I excelled in all of it but as time went on, I could still hear that college professor in the back of my mind. The day I decided to take my life back and pursue my calling, I woke up with a familiar headache and simply said “that’s it! I’m done working for anyone”; I didn’t call-in, I just wrote my letter and emailed it and never looked back. Coincidentally, my headache left immediately after I sent the email! I’ve put coaching on hiatus for a little while, I’m focusing on me for the first time in a long time.

In short, there’s a few pieces of advice I’ve gained, boiling down to; “Never quit what you start! No matter what, keep going! You made a hot song, so what, make another one!”

And this: “Love Yourself first and forgive yourself!“

The streaming world has certainly shaken up the music industry in the past 2 decades, has this affected the way you approach creating music? 

Yes! When I first started releasing music 11 years ago, I was working on albums. Even in the midst of streaming becoming dominant, I was working on an album. A few personal things popped up which kept me from completing the album, I found it’s best to release singles in the current landscape and drop an album when the time feels right.

Even the streaming world is shaken up by social media sites like TikTok. Finding an approach to releasing songs appealing to sites like TikTok is becoming a more dominant focus. It’s actually what inspired the song “Put it on Repeat!” I’m actually looking forward to starting a challenge on TikTok for my latest single Slip N Slide so look out for it!

Tell us a little about your new single Slip n’ Slide, what can fans expect? 

Slip N Slide is a fun vibrant song about being on my grind as I quote, “We rock dem shows but they don’t know, these lonely roads, make my dreams unfold!” and the first part of the hook says it all melodically, “Straight Vibin, I’m shining, we sticking and rolling….” As it is said in Jamaica, “everything irie”, that’s the “straight vibin” part; the “I’m shining” part is the grind coming to light and the “sticking and rolling” part is the fun juke dance style of Miami. To sum it all up, I’m having fun while on my grind!

“Slip N Slide” has the essence of Florida, more specifically, a Miami sound. It all came to a head while on my last tour before the pandemic where Suns of Atliens producer Rockomal was crafting the beat. I loved it immediately, what initially was meant to be an ode to LA, ended up becoming a Miami sound naturally, so we went with it. We filmed the music video in Miami, Florida on Monday, March 29, 2021 and the video is set to release on Friday May 28, 2021 which is Memorial Day Weekend.

Any final thoughts on what’s next for King P? 

Featuring in a major film as the star actor and performing on the biggest festival stages as the world opens up from the pandemic are my short-term goals. What’s immediately next for me is the release of my Slip N Slide Music Video on May 28th.

Then releasing more music and more already filmed unreleased music videos for songs like Top Notch, Tonight We Party, Aloha and My Life in Time.

Then as an independent record label owner (PALACE MUSIC RECORDS aka KINGP ENTERTAINMENT), I have a special artist single and EP we are getting ready to release in the next couple of months. I am very excited about this project just as I am excited about my projects!

Slip N Slide

Here’s a short vlog Instagram post recap of the energy on set that also reveals what fans can expect:

Slip N Slide lyric video: https://youtu.be/HvuZq0QJ6lA  to Stream/Download on all platforms here: https://unitedmasters.com/m/slip-nslide

 

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