Welcome to the first in the new series of Creative Artist Interviews. There is a slight twist to these posts in as much as I would like them to be interactive.. I will ask the guests a number of questions but the idea is that you will also ask your own in the comments section for the guest to respond to. Details of how you can become a guest will be at the end of the post today. And to show you how it is done.. my friend and collaborator here on the blog.. William Price King, Jazz singer, musician and composer is looking forward to your questions.
Back in April 2014 I met William Price King on Twitter. I was planning on bringing my Sunday Show that I presented on ExpressFM in Portsmouth over to my blog with interviews and music.. William has a huge following on Twitter and it was with some trepidation that I contacted him and asked if he would consider being a guest for the new show. He accepted immediately and little did I know that it would result in such a wonderful friendship and collaboration.
It was not long before the subject of a regular music spot came up and as William is a Jazz singer, musician and composer with a love of the iconic artists of the 20th century such as Nat King Cole and Mel Torme, that is where we began.
However, William actually began his career as a classical singer and composer and recently he has provided a fabulous insight into the work and dedication needed to succeed in this very demanding singing discipline.
The good news is that in March we will be beginning a new series on some of the leading contemporary singers and musicians of our generation (those of us who remember the 1960s onwards!) And we will be starting with The Boss.. Bruce Springsteen.
I hope you are as excited as I am to celebrate three years of great music with this new series with William… and here is an interview to bring us up to date along with some performances that I am sure you will enjoy.
What style of art attracts you the most and why? Who is your favourite artist?
My favorite period for art is Impressionism. My favorite artist is Claude Monet. There is something very peaceful in Monet’s paintings and his relationship with nature. I discovered that when I lived in Manhattan and worked at the Metropolitan Museum. Like a magnet I was strongly attracted to his art.
This exhibit, “Monet at Giverny” was on display for a short period of time and I spent most of my “breaks” breathing in the atmosphere his paintings created. I adored his perception of nature, his landscapes,and the seasonal changes he created on those landscapes.They demonstrate his skill at outdoor painting, his obsession with color, and his appreciation of light. My favorite painting by Monet is “Water Lillies (Nymphéas).”
Who is the best actor or actress you have ever seen on television of film and tell us why.
My favorite actress is Meryl Streep. What I like the most about her is that she is meticulously attentive to the nuances of performance, imbuing every gesture with the values of craftsmanship and an enormous respect for quality. She masters the accents of an impressive amount of regions and countries, as seen in “The Deer Hunter” from western Pennsylvania, “Sophie’s Choice” from Poland, “Out of Africa” in Kenya, and Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” to name a few.
She has proven over and over that she can do anything, that she can play any role with consummate skill, resourcefulness and dignity. I appreciate her using her stature as an artist to speak out and engage in human rights activities, and being a strong advocate for the arts and humanities.
What is your definition of success?
Success is very unique and personal for each of us. Often times in our society success is determined by what others have decided that success is, such as personal worth which is measured by what we have to show for what we have done – money, diplomas achieved, or goals reached.
And most of the time the determining factor of success is the degree to which a person is validated and approved by others. I, like most people, fell prey to that concept. Now, with age, I believe that if you love what you are doing, then you are successful.
If you live life as a sincere human being, then you’re successful. If you try to ease suffering in others, then you are successful. If you are kind, then you are successful.
And most of all, if you can love, without conditions, then you’re successful.
What are the most significant changes in the way that Jazz is performed in the last thirty years?
Many different types of jazz have been recorded and performed over the last thirty years, from traditional styles to fusion, acoustic, and electric styles, with an interesting combination of influences resulting in unique and very artistic types of music.
The term “jazz” has expanded to take in a wide variety of music, from very commercial “smooth jazz” and “latin jazz,” to pop vocal stylings of artists like Norah Jones.
Many young musicians are performing and recording exploratory types of jazz, taking risks and creating new music on a high artistic level. Older jazz artists, on the other hand, still follow the established jazz tradition. It is not uncommon to find young musicians today who blend all styles of jazz together and create new styles, using the latest computer technology.
Jazz, like people, society, and the culture it reflects, is constantly evolving.
You studied classical music and have composed and performed Jazz and some contemporary music over the last thirty years. If you were beginning your career today would you choose a different style.. If so why and if not why?
Singing classical music, pop, and jazz has been a very rich experience for me. Classical music opened the doors to the great composers in both vocal and instrumental music and struck a chord deep inside me. I identified with Schumann, for example, on a very profound level. Of course, having studied music in school and at university, it prepared me for my future, not only as a singer but also as a vocal coach. Contemporary music (pop music) opened the door to jazz.
I found a kind of freedom in jazz that does not exist in classical music. In classical music what you see in the score is what you sing and nothing else, whereas in jazz one can modify and improvise on what is written in the score which opens the door to more creativity. As a composer as well as a singer, if I had to start all over again I would go the same route. I am a much better musician because of it.
After such a wonderful career in both performing and coaching young singers, is there still a dream that you would like to achieve in relation to music?
Yes there is. About 15 years ago someone gave me a cd of Harmonic Singing, or Overtone Singing as some call it. I was taken aback by what I heard and profoundly moved. Harmonic singing is believed to have its origins in south west Mongolia. It is a voice technique wherein one sings two or more notes at the same time. This happens when one sings one note where the overtones or harmonics are amplified by changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth, larynx and pharynx. It is extraordinary. So, when I retire from singing jazz, I intend to participate in workshops which teach this type of singing. I did one years ago and it was fascinating and I look forward to starting again one day. It is very meditative.
William’s latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.
William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking
William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.
Connect to William
Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
My thanks as always to William and I am so delighted that we will be enjoying his music contributions into a fourth year here on the blog.
If you are a singer, musician, artist, photographer, illustrator, short story teller, poet and would like to take part in the Creative Artist Interviews then please take a look at the details in this post..
Please leave your questions for William in the comments section of the post and he will answer them over the next two days.