Interview with singer, songwriter, performer, and actress Lillie King
Today on What On What’s Good with Host Jovin Tardif, I am here with new pop and adult contemporary artist Lillie King. Her self-titled EP will be out on Friday, November 20. In our interview, we discuss the Talent West Virginia competition, performing at Carnegie Hall, music influences, her new single “Red” and much more.
1. Can you tell us about Talent West Virginia and your experience at the event?
Talent West Virginia was my first real opportunity to perform in a non-theatre setting singing as myself and not as a character. Not only was I terribly nervous about this new setting, but I was also not expecting to win at all. I sang a Frank Sinatra song in a bright red women’s suit – it was such a fierce look. When they called my name as the winner, it validated my hunger for something more than the theatrical stage. I wanted to start performing as Lillie King, not someone else.
2. What was it like performing at Carnegie Hall?
I grew up watching performances at Carnegie Hall, so you can imagine how surreal it was when I stepped on the stage as the performer. The realization didn’t hit me until they called. At 16 years old, I was about to sing my own music for the first time in front
of hundreds of people in a place that I grew up dreaming about.
3. You listed some of your musical influences as 70s classics, new-age Indie rock, and piano ballads. Which musical artists or groups inspire you the most and why?
Personally, I’m most inspired by the classic lyricists that I grew up listening to – Carole King, Elton John, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Van Morrison, and many others. It’s not that their sound was a super new age, but their lyrics and the stories they told are better than anything I hear today. They found the most creative ways to tell such personal stories, all while also being able to further the story with the emotion in their vocal performance. I feel like many songs have become more about the music rather than the story, but the greats from the ’70s and ’80s didn’t need to rely on production for their music to be incredible.
4. Describe your background in live theatre.
I began doing live theatre when I was 7 years old and. For the next ten years, I would do over 30 shows. At first, I was just there because I loved to act, but it was around age 12 when I realized I could really sing. I was quickly thrown into leading roles, becoming a seasoned actress at an Equity theatre at a young age. Not only did theatre teach me how to act, sing, and dance around a stage, it helped me find my voice. I gained confidence in my ability to write and perform my own music in front of others.
5. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I’ve been given is “respect everyone but fear no one”. I’m sure it’s a famous quote from somewhere, but a dear mentor of mine told me this when I was in the beginning stages of breaking into the music industry. It was not only something I needed to hear at the time. But it’s something that I’ll always carry with me.
6. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
For someone wanting to follow in my footsteps, I would tell them to listen to others, but always trust your instinct first. If something doesn’t feel or sound right, say something. If people are making decisions without you or for you, speak up and make sure your voice is being heard. At the end of the day, it’s your career, your life, and your work that’s on the line, which is why it’s so important to advocate for yourself.
7. Your new single Red was released on October 30. What can you tell us about the forthcoming self-titled EP set to be released on Friday, November 20?
In my opinion, this EP release is so cool because you’ll be able to see the first tracks of raw music coming from a new artist. The songs on this EP are the first songs I had ever written. When you listen you can really get a feel for the thought process and growth of a new songwriter. As you progress through the music, you can almost hear the lyrics and music maturing as I was writing more and more songs. As far as style goes, there’s a little something for everyone in there. My goal was to have a song for any kind of mood. You might be in while simultaneously testing out different genres.