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About Ernest K.

A rapper with eclectic influences and a versatile style, Ernest K. (full name Ernest Keith Smith) hails from Nashville, Tennessee. Ernest's passion for music presented itself at an early age; he learned to play guitar and banjo as a child, and he was introduced to R&B and hip-hop in third grade through the soundtrack album to the movie Space Jam. Not long afterward, a friend burned Ernest a mix CD of tracks by Eminem, and from that he started learning the finer points of writing and performing raps. In his teens, Ernest was drawing influences from country, rap, and alternative rock artists. At the age of 19, Ernest experienced a brush with death when a viral infection led to a heart attack, and during his time in college he fell into a cycle of drug abuse. Ernest returned to Nashville to sort out his life, and made a valuable friend in Matt Royer, a fellow musician whose sister was dating Ernest. Royer had a home recording studio, and together they began writing and recording tracks that reflected both their love of hip-hop and their Southern roots. Ernest's country-oriented material earned him a songwriting deal with noted publisher Sony/ATV, and he collaborated on the song "Dig Your Roots," recorded by Florida Georgia Line in 2016. But Ernest still had ambitions as a performer, and in April 2017 he released his debut single, a gritty rap titled "Dopeman." Ernest released another track, a more romantic number titled "Bad Boy," the following September. ~ Mark Deming

Nashville, TN