Heard of TikTok? The video content creating app tweens and teens are into. Insta, you are not dead yet, just for old people in their 20s. As for Facebook, is grandma still alive?
When we asked hitmaker Kings to give advice to those up and coming musicians like him, how to make it big, he is not going to play the old sage card.
"Have you seen TikTok, it's creative children creating content on a daily basis so I'd ask if they had any advice for me. Otherwise, the same cliché things that somebody has told you 100 times before. There's no substitute for hard work, full stop."
Kings is one of New Zealand's most popular artists of the moment, and is looking forward to joining the impressive line-up of the Arataki Day Out on Sunday, at the free family event at Arataki Park alongside Sons of Zion's Riapo Panapa and Caleb Haapu, social media star William 'Waiirua' Cribb, and pint-sized hip-hop sensation Lotima Nicholas — better known as General Fiyah.
We caught up with the Kiwi producer, rapper, singer, songwriter Kings (Kingdon Chapple-Wilson) who is best known for the hit song Don't Worry 'Bout It, and who has recently been top of the Kiwi iTunes chart with the song Send It, and just received Gold for one of the singles of his latest album LOV3 & 3GO.
What advice do you have for young people wanting to get into the music biz, for instance the young people coming to see you at Arataki?
This is going to sound whack, but I believe we need to be taking pointers from the youth in some instances. My daughter introduced me to an app called TikTok recently, which is full of hugely creative children creating content on a daily basis.
I'd ask if they had any advice for me. Otherwise, the same cliché things that somebody has told you 100 times before. There's no substitute for hard work, full stop.
Having the studio based at the marae definitely brings a wairua or energy to my creative space.
What's it like to do what you do?
This job is pretty full on! At the end of the day, I produce, mix and master my own music, run the socials, I'm heavily involved with photo and video content, run my own label which distributes my music alongside DRM, I'm a dad to two children, and an okay fiancé to one lucky lady. My schedule is pretty full!
Where do you produce your music?
At Northcote's Awataha Marae, which my grandfather built. That will be home forever. The food's mean, everyone that works there is either family or close to. I'm from Tuhoe, home is pretty much the studio, but we live on the North Shore, Auckland. My partner Danni and I run Arch Angel Records, my record label. She makes sure I'm everywhere I need to be, and we make a good team.
You have the record for the longest standing No 1 on the New Zealand singles chart which you held for 33 weeks with Don't Worry 'Bout It, beating Lorde. But it was the result of several years of hard slog in the music industry. How did you get your big break? Lorde's on a level of her own! I have met her, and she whispered in my ear that she liked my song at the awards! So we're pretty much besties.
All jokes aside, there's no substitute for hard work! I've been on the grind for seven years now. I like to think of Don't Worry 'Bout It as the end of chapter one of a 20-chapter book. I'm hugely appreciative of where I am, and the support I've had. But if building a music school and a Grammy are the end goals, I still have a lot of work to do!
A song you produced, Send it, just topped the Kiwi iTunes chart, a project with ZM DJ duo Bree and Clint. How did this colab come about?
I'm behind a lot of songs that people have no idea about. I was a part of the Float line-up and they announced Bree and Clint were going to do a DJ duo.
They hit me up to do the production, and I love a challenge! It was produced, mixed and mastered it in just over a week.
Your 2018 release You Do You was used for the launch of a corporate enterprise, Yudu, actually for our very own NZME. How did this come about?
My manager, Matt Headland, referred me. My background is actually producing music for commercial use, such as ads and for TV, so that's one of my strengths as an artist. I create everything myself.
You are from Samoan and Māori heritage, and on your wall in your studio at the marae you have a plaque saying "Never forget where you come from, Focus on where you are going." How much does your heritage and culture inspire your music?
Having the studio based at the marae definitely brings a wairua or energy to my creative space. I can hear powhiri while I'm doing a recording session, which is a cool reminder as to who I am. And also a reminder to shut my windows. My Samoan side is from my mum.
She was adopted at birth and so that journey has, and is, taking a lot longer to understand my heritage on that side. But, I definitely resonate with the upbringing side of things as my mum raised me.
How was it supporting Six60 last year on their 2018 summer tour with Nico & Vinz?
Great! Such an awesome experience to work with such professionals. It was my first big summer run, performing to tens of thousands each night. I learned a lot about the game in a short amount of time and gained a huge respect for the people behind the scenes.
You released your debut album Chapter One in 2017, followed by TWO early 2018, and LOV3 & 3GO came out in October. What's next?
My manager Matt Headland joked one day saying the Beatles are the only ones to drop three albums in a year. I took it as a challenge. The Beatles have a few more fans than me, but I was really proud to have followed through with that. It's given me so much material for my live shows!
Music-wise, I won't be releasing as much, it was such a huge project last year. I am a part of some cool projects that I can't announce just yet, and will be branching into Australia.
Who are your favourite artists right now, and anyone you would love to colab with?
On a New Zealand front, Bene is dope! Shout out to Vayne too, a NZ female rapper on the come up. On an international front, Jayden Smith. Always been a huge fan of J. Cole, and the usual suspects, Kendrick, Drake, etc. I'd love to work with Skrillix. I feel like his ADHD would match mine.
What else have you got lined up for this weekend in the Bay?
Take some photos, got some family down there so probably catch up with them. Just enjoy a great event and give back. If that's one thing a good King would do, it would be to give back to the people in some way. I can't wait.
What: Arataki Day Out — a free family event with Kings, Riapo Panapa, Caleb Haapu, William 'Waiirua' Cribb, and General Fiyah.
Where: Arataki Park, Mount Maunganui
When: Sunday, March 3