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Kaki King talks about the 20th anniversary of ‘Everybody Loves You’ Tour

Accomplished guitarist and composer Kaki King chatted about her 20th anniversary of “Everybody Loves You” Tour.

Kaki King
Kaki King. Photo Credit: Bogdan Urma
Kaki King. Photo Credit: Bogdan Urma

Accomplished guitarist and composer Kaki King chatted about her 20th anniversary of “Everybody Loves You” Tour, and the digital age.

How does it feel to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Everybody Loves You”?

It honestly feels great. 20 years on, I have achieved a healthy distance from my past. And I say that with lots of love and reverence. As an artist, it’s often difficult to separate yourself from the art that comes to define who you are. Being able to look back with objectivity and clarity is a huge relief.

With that relief comes immense gratitude that I was able to make this album — that it touched people, that it created dreams for me I never knew I had, and that took me along for the ride. 

What inspires your music and songwriting?

It really does come down to the guitar itself. Over the years, I have done lots of work with various kinds of instrumentation, the voice, and recently a lot of new audio-visual performance techniques. But for the entirety of my life, it has always come back to the guitar — sitting still with the guitar, holding the guitar, and playing the guitar. That’s the process that provides the inspiration to write music.

No longer am I seeking cathartic moments to try and resolve emotional challenges. As a composer, I am allowing the guitar to tell me what to do and what to write.

What do your plans for the future include?

A lot! The last decade of my work has brought me into continuous collaboration with an array of brand new performance spaces, forms of collaboration, and  experimentation in multimedia and dance. An example of that is my upcoming collaboration for Modern Yesterdays with D. J. Sparr and the American Composers Orchestra, taking place at Carnegie Hall this March.

I’d like to continue that work, and hone some of these experimental skills that I have learned. I have taken small steps in that direction, but I now want to churn out serious works of art. I want to keep the process of digital and performance experimentation alive, while always centering my work around the guitar.

What are some of your proudest professional moments?

Proud moments are not always so obvious, and not always shared. My proudest moments really center on not giving up when it was hard. I think back on those moments when I chose not to feel depressed about low ticket sales, or upset when projects didn’t go the way I had hoped. I’m most proud of the moments in my career when I’ve been unfazed to keep my authenticity alive.

Sometimes I’m exhausted, lonely, or depressed. And the funny thing is that my proudest professional moments don’t come with an award or certificate. No one wins an award for not giving up. But it’s those moments I look back on with immense pride and appreciation.

How does it feel to be an artist in the digital age? (now with streaming and technology being so prevalent)

Honestly, it feels awesome! I don’t think musicians like me had a shot for the kind of career I’ve had without music being so discoverable and available — the instant shareability of music that exists through streaming on the internet.

Like it or not, this is the golden age for music lovers and discoverers. And of course, my work in the last decade has reflected the digital in terms of aesthetic inspiration. 

So, for someone like me, it’s been a complete positive; however, I totally get why for other artists it has been a tricky time, especially in regards to equity, being properly paid for our work, etc. I came of age at the cusp of the digital revolution, so it’s hard to separate that form the kind of artist I am.

What is your advice for young and aspiring artists?

My advice for young and aspiring artists is to let go of the outcome; because no matter what, what you think you want is not always what you need. Dedicate as much of your free time as possible to creating, performing, studying, learning, and immersing yourself in music — because that immersion will lead you to meet the people who will become your great collaborators and champions.

Often, the immersion will provide you the inspiration you never thought you needed. Be open to all of the possibilities. 

What does the word success mean to you? (My favorite question)

Success means being interviewed about things you made 20 years ago. 

What would you like to tell our readers about the 20th anniversary tour? (What’s the one thing you want them to get out of it)

The one thing I would like to share with you readers is that I’m grateful to be celebrating 20 years, especially with the fans of mine who have grown up in that time span since releasing Everybody Loves You. 

Some of my fans were quite young when this album came out… and now they bring their children to my gigs! This is so rewarding. So please bring your friends, your loved ones, and your kids to my shows. This 20th anniversary tour is as much about me looking back on 20 years as it is about looking forward to our next 20. 

When this music was first coming out in 2003, I was busking in the New York City subway. I didn’t know I was making an album called Everybody Loves You, or that the music would be listened to by millions of people around the world… that I would play on David Letterman, or that I would compose music for films, or that I would perform at Carnegie Hall. With 20 years, I have a lot of stories to share that will connect with synchronicity. 

I would also tell your readers that the upcoming Everybody Loves You tour is all about the solo guitar — there won’t be any bells and or multimedia whistles. It’s important for me to be able to do this, because it’s also the hardest thing I can possibly do as an artist: to play a public concert with precision and passion, accuracy and emotion, for an hour and half, just me and the guitar. It’s really me at my best. It’s imperative that, at least every decade, I can give the audience this kind of live show. 

If your readers are those who might be the ones especially drawn to the digital in my work, think of this process of performing the solo guitar, without the bells and whistles, as me focusing on my back-end code.

Playing the solo guitar is what powers everything I do. If you have been following along with my work these last few years, you may have seen that I’ve played with themes like data and the vastness of patterns. The guitar has always and will always be the center of it all. See you, me, and my guitar… on tour. 

To learn more about Kaki King and her tour schedule, visit her official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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