Can’t Hold Me
Look at Me Now
Interlude (What Love Is)
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.”