Artist On The Rise: Pierre King | An Exclusive Q&A

REBAL HUE is back with another Artist On The Rise segment this time with Chicago Native, Pierre King. Pierre King as an independent artist with 90’s R&B attributing to the soundtrack of his life. At an early age, King was impacted by artists such as Prince, Outkast, and Missy Elliott, along with vocalists like Kelis and Brandy’s experimental approach to the Hip-Hop/R&B genre. King wanted to echo what he heard and that inspired him to start making beats at age 12.

 Pierre King released two mixtapes Canvas Music’ and ‘Lace and Bullets’ along with a slew of covers to the most popular R&B/Pop tracks of 2009-2013 Under the moniker ‘Raphael Mannequinn. Both free projects and countless remixes garnered hundreds of thousands of downloads and YouTube attention.

The Exclusive Q&A with Pierre King

How would you describe your musical style?

The best way I can describe my musical style is omnipresent. I like to dabble in different sounds, sometimes the selections are weird, they may even create an alternative vibe, but the core of my music has always been R&B/Pop fusion for me.
What made you start pursuing a career in music?
I started writing poetry in my teen years, that’s also around the time I got heavily into Timbaland, Missy and their entire ‘Beatclub’ movement. Their creativity sparked an interest in me to learn how to produce for myself. So, I started testing the waters by creating demo tracks for artists I felt would sound cool. Eventually, that turned into me teaching myself how to hold notes, record and formulate a song from my poetry + beats. With my love for art direction and sound, music became a realized dream because it allowed me to be myself, have a product to show for it all while connecting me to the people that feel, think and have a vision like me but think it’s impossible to accomplish.


Musically, what are your biggest influences and who are your favorite musicians?
I would have to say some of my biggest influences are also my favorite musicians. Prince who is a legend in black creativity and pushing boundaries would be #1. Brandy for her immaculate layering, harmony and overall finesse, listening to her taught me how to sing with myself. Also, I can’t forget Missy Elliott for her energy and attention to little details that always makes a record shine.
What was the inspiration behind your stage name?
(Note: I did edit ‘rap name’ to ‘stage name’, because although I’m not afraid to share a couple bars for fun, I do not consider myself a rapper. Haha.)
The inspiration behind ‘Pierre King’ is pretty simple. I knew I wanted a first and last name, not too many syllables. Something that felt artistic but not pretentious. PIERRE is my middle name and a definition of ‘KING’ is “a person or thing regarded as the finest or most important in its sphere or group”. With that in mind, I made my decision because I’ve always written, produced, engineered and conceptualized my own music with intent to learn and grow within art, aiming for a king caliber. It sounded catchy and looked good. The rest was history!
Growing up (where?), can you describe today’s underground music scene?
I’m born and raised in Chicago, IL. Grew up on the south side, lake shore drive area! When I started releasing music in 2010, the scene from Chicago was all about Drill music. But, I was releasing the opposite of that, my sound was poppier, dancier and had a euro hip hop vibe going. I wouldn’t say I was embraced at all. To me, that wasn’t a concern, it helped me stand out. I had my music in other countries because the internet was tuning in to me more than my city. Now, I feel like I can sit at more tables because being different is encouraged and accepted. Especially for queer/LGBTQ+ identifying artists, there’s a new beacon in music where people are un-apolgetically themselves instead of personas for the most part and I think that bridge is closing the gap for the independent artists who didn’t know how to maneuver that beforehand.
In what ways has your latest music changed from when you first started?
The progression of my sound has matured from growing up and experiencing life. The sounds that didn’t use to excite me like vinyl cracks and muddy basement drums (ala 9th Wonder) are now interesting to me. My music used to be synthy and boisterous, and now I enjoy smooth leads, simple drum patterns and easy storytelling; more relaxed vibes. I’ve always loved house music and I feel like eventually I’m going to visit that territory because R&B and House music make me happy. To journey that realm would be exciting for me.
What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
I’m heavily inspired by my own life as well as others. I’ve always found joy in listening to my friends, family or colleagues and add it into my art. A lot of times it feels like the right thing to do, in order for them to heal and know that I care because I usually write from an optimistic place. Some of my favorite records like ‘Open Letter’, ‘Games’ and even ‘Us’ from my “Black Balloon” EP are inspired by my own experiences and the closest people to me. Other times, I create a fallacy and use music to tell a story that I see in my head. It’s fun to let go and use your imagination!
Who would like to Collaborate with features and why?
Music heals in waves, collaboration adds energy to those waves. Some artists I’d love to create with are Tinashe, KAYTRANADA, and Victoria Monet to name a few! Dream collab is Janet Jackson. All the artists I named give me artistic expression I value in art + their stories resonate with me and my message in life, to live and let live!
How do you stay creative during this quarantine?
I think the key to staying creative during the era of social distancing is to allow yourself to not think about art. At the start, I wanted to rush and force myself to create because I felt like I had nothing but time. But, there’s beauty in not being busy. Allow yourself to breathe and your mind to wander. Re watching my favorite TV series and learning new workout routines inspired me to be creative as random as it sounds because I wasn’t overthinking. The world is our canvas and the best art comes from living life.
Are there any NEW EP or albums in the works this Fall?
Yes! New music is here. I dropped a single “Games” at the end of May. I have an EP album titled ‘Black Balloon’ coming out August 28th! The first single “Us” is an iTunes exclusive right now. When the project drops, it will be available on all streaming platforms. Also, I’ll be bringing EP1 “Float” back to streaming services along with some other cool releases through the rest of the year.
Are there any upcoming tours for the Fall?
With the current state of the world, I don’t have any plans to tour for the safety of myself and others. Not to mention, I want to respect the process of betterment for all so this era can be behind us sooner than later. However, I do have plans to showcase my new project in a live, visual experience of some sorts.

Be Sure Check Out The Release Of Pierre KingBlack Balloon On August 28, 2020.

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