NEW ARTIST FINDS: KING AVRIEL
Out of the mouth of the babe who voiced the part of Timberly Johannsson on Hey Arnold comes some of the most sociopolitical, silky smooth R&B you'll ever hear. Emerging artist King avriel has done more in her 23 years of life than most of us could do in a few lifetimes. She's got a wealth of experience and talent and seems to just be coming in to her own.
KING AVRIEL "FREEDOM"
Currently having to deal with the hassles that come from having several major record labels vying for your services, the lady who was born Avriel Epps has been in the entertainment industry since she was two. Which is to say, she's used to all this bullshit by now. Avriel first cut her teeth in the industry at the age of two when she starred in a commercial for Bumble Ball, which seems like an unlikely genesis for a pro-feminist crooner currently sporting some of the tightest conscious-soul-music in the game.
The Epps family tree is loaded with talent. Her father is a guitar virtuoso and her sister a dancer who once appeared in a Pepsi ad with Michael Jackson. As she continued to grow, Avriel stopped acting and began to model. A scholarship to UCLA followed, and while she was there studying Media and Communications, she was honing her musical crafts by making mix tapes with the likes of Miguel. According to reports, Avriel still works on campus in Westwood as a Teacher's Assistant. If you listen to her music, you quickly realize she won't be there much longer.
KING AVRIEL "PRELUDE"
Both her studies in academia and her life experiences have given her a desire to make more than some vapid, over-sexualized statement that most R&B falls prey to. In her very first track, "Paranormal Paradigm," avriel sings that she would "give anything to see the end of war on women." As far as the odd spelling of her name, well there's a purpose behind that too, as the Los Angeles-native recently told her hometown's weekly-zine:
"At first I was just going to go by avriel and I was going to lower case the 'a' in my name for the same reasons that bell hooks does it, in terms of making it be more about the work and less about the individual. Keeping with that theme, that's why I capitalize the 'K' in King...When I'm saying I'm a king, I'm saying any woman can be a king. I'm just as much of a king as a man is, and a man is just as much a king as I am"
When you can explain that your name is derived from one of the best feminist authors ever while promoting a message of gender equality, you know you're on some gangsta shit. If you haven't noticed, King avriel is big on making statements. On her tumblr page, she offered up a perfectly cited and reasonable explanation for the imagery that appears in her video "Freedom" (seen at the onset of this post).
But in case you're just looking for some escapism, as opposed to another reminder of how fucked up and unfair the world is, rest assured that these pieces of art are also great songs.
KING AVRIEL "FAILED MESSIAH"
Despite or because of being a part of the Hollywood Industrial Complex since near infancy, Ms. Epps claims to have no interest in traditional celebrity. All you have to do is listen to her music to realize that's the case. That's not a knock on it, which is of course great, otherwise we wouldn't be writing about it. Just as a general rule you don't ascend to mass stardom by pointing out the intrinsic inequalities of modernity. Who knows, though, maybe this King can break the mold.
KING AVRIEL "PARANORMAL PARADIGM"
Do you know of other soulful songstresses trying to bring down the patriarch? If so, and if they're even a fraction as good King avriel, then we'd like to pay you for that knowledge. Duffster introduced us off on King avriel, and we put some coin in his pocket for the pleasure. Become a Curator today, you guys. There's honestly no reason not to.
About Calvin Paradise
Calvin Paradise manages to live a productive life despite a childhood of home schooling and suffering from what some doctors have called the worst case of Groucho Marx's Syndrome in recorded history.