The Voice brought DR King’s signature sound into our homes and left us begging for more. Now, in his brand new EP It’s My Life, he intends to fill our hearts with a pristine poetry that is his and his alone, and though it comes on the heels of two heavily-buzzed singles that set the bar awfully high, it exceeds my own expectations and that of my fellow critics by a mile. I’ve been a fan of King since the start of 2018, and in this past year, which saw two songs from It’s My Life (“Gravedigger” and “Love is a Drug”) burn up college radio and create a cult-like following for the young songwriter, I’ve taken note of his incredible evolution as a performer. This EP is an awesome debut that employs the full capacity of his talents, and that’s definitely no small statement to make.
Nothing about It’s My Life sounds rushed, from the instrumental drawl of “Crying Alone” to the swinging space rock influences that pepper “Do You Love Me” with a vintage tonality you hardly ever hear anymore. You don’t have to be a trained audiological expert or even a music journalist like myself to notice how much time and effort was put into these songs, as tracks like “Your Body” make no attempt to smokescreen the complex rhythms that bind their melodies together. His patience and attention to detail really pay off here, with the entirety of the EP playing out as smoothly as a scripted live performance on television would – minus the inauthenticity of the silver screen setting, of course.
“Anyway,” “Crying Alone,” “Your Body” and “Love is a Drug” are a tad more pendulous than “Do You Love Me” and “Gravedigger,” which will intrigue anyone with a taste for edgier R&B through their dynamic flanking of cerebral psychedelia with ominous, understated adrenaline. For the most part, King is pretty chill throughout all of It’s My Life, but in the opening and closing tracks, he leaves any inhibitions that he (might have) had outside the studio and lets the passion flow through his vocal uncontrollably. The results aren’t reckless or even violently experimental; it ties the melodic core of the record together and brings us a full three hundred and sixty degrees back to where we started. If that isn’t smart producing, I don’t know what is.
DR King dares to be different, and while a lot of artists aren’t quite as comfortable as he is when it comes time to lay all the cards on the table, it’s his transparent artistry that I believe to be the key ingredient in his proven recipe for triumph. It’s My Life is King’s stylish personality incarnate, and though it lives and dies by its incredibly ambitious framework, it doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is – simple, affectionate soul music with a modern twist. I, like many others and even King himself, fell in love with this genre because of its ability to relate musicality to emotions that are next to impossible for most people to articulate, and in It’s My Life, I see the ethos of the style not just alive and well, but thriving vibrantly.