Kingsley on Making Music That Makes Her


Kingsley is an artist on the go; leaping into change and chance, she punctuates her music with a furtive attitude telling listeners her work is as much for them, as it is for her. Things naturally gravitate toward her and she doesn’t disappoint the universe’s beck and call—meeting probability face on.

Her ambitiousness is the undercurrent for creating and performing music. When signing on to be the opener act for SG Lewis, the production asked her to forgo performing with her band and instead do a DJ set; without skipping a beat, she said yes. Although unchartered territory, Kingsley remixed her songs specifically just for that night. It was a testimony for seizing every opportunity that aligns with her creative mission, not being afraid to figure it out as it goes.

Without a musical upbringing, Kingsley’s pursuit of songwriting can be traced back to when she was in kindergarten; her diary was a place for unleashing all her musings, her poems and eventual songs. She jokes that her upbringing was too supportive, a loving environment that didn’t spark a “artist’s angst” commonly found in so many successful artists’ lives.

Minus any great tragedy, Kingsley relents as a woman of color in a predominately white city. She doesn’t attribute her assuredness in identify and circumstances as growing to have “thick skin,” but to only care about the right things—meaning, relinquishing judgemental outside opinions.

“I think I’ve spent my whole life being black in a white setting,” says Kingsley. “But I just got to the point where I can either embrace it or I can spend my whole life tiptoeing around people. No, I’m loud. My personality is loud and my skin is loud.”


This drive to be her authentic self, Kingsley admits she’s still exploring her sound—the unknown being more welcoming territory than falling into a genre others have decided on her behalf. In the past, producers attempted placing Kingsley into the R&B category, advising she stick with a “soulful sound.” Instead Kingsley embarked on reinventing a single EP through a different genre lens with each release. The heart of the production was to create freely while exploring what feels challenging but fulfilling.

“This is me, this is it. Going to an all white school, you know I had to know the whole Hannah Montana theme song and every Snoop Dogg album,” says Kingsley. “I got really comfortable with being like, damn I like all these things. With my music, I can say yeah, I wrote this song, I picked this beat for myself, this is what I want to move, this is what I want to sing along to.”

Kingsley’s work is an ongoing exploration of who she is, a reminder to never shy away from ideas that feel unfamiliar or uncertain; her music and presence is an example to never settle, to never be afraid of asking ‘what’s next?’

License and listen to Kingsley’s latest album, I Am Because I Dance. Then hit play on her Top Ten list to see what she’s currently listening to.

In Portland? Catch Kingsley live at Bit House Saloon on Saturday, July 20th. See you there!