12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For years, Emily King’s story was emblematic of New York City: The daughter of an accomplished jazz duo—singers Marion Cowings, who is black, and Kim Kalesti, who is Italian—King cut her teeth performing around the Lower East Side. As a teenager, she worked for Bad Boy Entertainment’s Chucky Thompson, who’d produced for Mary J. Blige and Notorious B.I.G., and earned a 2007 Grammy nomination for her first album, East Side Story. But the subsequent decade of self-releasing songs and touring took its toll, and King found herself craving solitude and a change of pace. In 2017, she uprooted for the Catskills, where she converted her cabin’s garage into a recording studio and began a new chapter.

Scenery, her third album with producer Jeremy Most, is lucid and soulful, with assertive vocals, gospel harmonies, and nostalgic, driving percussion. It’s masterfully edited; songs like “Forgiveness” and “Teach You” breathe in all the right places, and King’s voice is always crystal clear. Her head seems clear, too. On the Tom Petty-inspired song “Go Back,” she waves goodbye to the New York rat race and embraces a new way of life. “I know there’s something waiting down this road ahead,” she sings. "I’ll find it in the end.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

For years, Emily King’s story was emblematic of New York City: The daughter of an accomplished jazz duo—singers Marion Cowings, who is black, and Kim Kalesti, who is Italian—King cut her teeth performing around the Lower East Side. As a teenager, she worked for Bad Boy Entertainment’s Chucky Thompson, who’d produced for Mary J. Blige and Notorious B.I.G., and earned a 2007 Grammy nomination for her first album, East Side Story. But the subsequent decade of self-releasing songs and touring took its toll, and King found herself craving solitude and a change of pace. In 2017, she uprooted for the Catskills, where she converted her cabin’s garage into a recording studio and began a new chapter.

Scenery, her third album with producer Jeremy Most, is lucid and soulful, with assertive vocals, gospel harmonies, and nostalgic, driving percussion. It’s masterfully edited; songs like “Forgiveness” and “Teach You” breathe in all the right places, and King’s voice is always crystal clear. Her head seems clear, too. On the Tom Petty-inspired song “Go Back,” she waves goodbye to the New York rat race and embraces a new way of life. “I know there’s something waiting down this road ahead,” she sings. "I’ll find it in the end.”

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