Music Spotlight: Krystal King

Jan 26, 2024 at 06:00 am by Bethany Bowman

Krystal King has had country music in her soul practically since birth. Her parents told her that when she was two or three, they were scanning the radio stations and when it got to an Alan Jackson song, she squealed, “Oh stop, stop.” And she has been listening to country music ever since.

As she got older, the North Carolina native was visiting friends on the coast. A man was DJing at a restaurant. Her parents dared to get up there and sing a song. So, she walked up to him and asked him if I could sing "You're Still the One" by Shania Twain.

Her parents were shocked. She knew all the words and she sang great.

In middle and high school King took guitar lessons. It was that teacher who got her to write songs. He taught her how to structure chords and songs. They would sing at open mic nights at various coffee shops.

Upon graduating high school in Hickory, North Carolina, King enrolled at Appalachian State where she got a degree in Music Therapy. Music Therapy can help patients with pain management, by doing things like drumming or songwriting to help patients work on coping skills and how to express their emotions appropriately.

She told me, “Music Therapy seemed like a great way to combine my love for music and my love for people. It's essentially using music as your therapy tools.”

Still, even with her music therapy certification, King longed to be a country artist. But no one in her family had ever done that and she was unsure how to pursue her dreams. So she did what many others have done and moved to Nashville to pursue music as a full-time career. She can still do Music Therapy on a limited basis but now has been singing/songwriting for the past six years. She has played at iconic venues like Tootsies Orchid Lounge, The Bluebird Café, and The Listening Room.

In 2019, the gifted songwriter won the Old School Songwriting Contest and then the Hickory Oktoberfest Songwriting Competition. She even helped to write one of Taylor Hughes's breakout songs, “Jesus and Jail.”

Additionally, King was a disc jockey in college. When Sirius XM’s Margaritaville needed a weekend host, she was in the right place at the right time. When she and her pal Kristi Krause toured Florida, they got involved in the Parrott Head Community (IYKYK) and became huge Jimmy Buffett fans. She was thrilled to be able to work at his iconic radio channel.

She explained, “It was a cool way for it to fall into place because I had looked for some ways to keep my foot in radio and just hadn't really found anything that was either worth my time. I never imagined my first radio gig would be for Sirius XM.”

One of King’s monikers is “Your redneck friend” and her style of music reminds me of the queen of redneck country, Gretchen Wilson. You can hear Wilson’s influence on King’s songs, “Red Wine and White Lies,” “You Had Me at Double Wide,” “90 Proof,” and fan favorite, “You’re the Reason I Drink.”  

And while those songs are still accurate to who she is as an artist, she is showing a more serious, vulnerable side in her latest single, “House Fire.” The song was co-written with her friend, Stephanie Joyce, who is “the one I write my darker stuff with.” And while King is married, she has heard the awful stories of many of her patients in the psychiatric hospital.

“Writing this song was kind of a way to step into their shoes and feel what they were feeling,” she stated.

The emotional song is about being stuck in a relationship. With the words, “I don’t smoke but I got a lighter/someday I’m going start a house fire… she acknowledges the pain that many unfortunately feel. And while a song cannot remove the pain, just knowing that others may have the same random thoughts that you have delivers a modicum of courage that your situation is not hopeless.

She recently performed “House Fire” on News 4 “Today in Nashville” show. The song is a new release from the upcoming Pretty Poison EP that will be released later this year.

With a classic sound, a freckled face, and a full heart, rising country artist, Krystal King, brings a voice to Nashville that we have all needed. She combines her passion for doing music therapy and DJing along with writing songs and performing. She is a multi-faceted artist and human who brings something extraordinary to the country music scene.

You can follow Krystal King on her website, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and all streaming platforms.

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and X (Twitter).