I recently got a chance to sit down with King Heartbreaker, an up and coming artist originally from Memphis, and got to pick his mind a little. A little background on King Heartbreaker; he grew up in the South Memphis area and has recently moved to Atlanta to further his music ambitions. His first single "Do To You" sold more than 120,000 copies on iTunes and his first mixtape reached over 100,000 downloads, so he's firmly established himself as an artist to pay attention to.
I met up with King Heartbreaker at Memphis Slim Collaboratory at his new album's listening party. It was a fitting location due to the rich musical history of not only Memphis Slim House, but also because of it's close proximity to Stax. Doing an interview at a recording studio was also something I've always wanted to do, So I thank King and his management team for this opportunity.
How did you come to have the name King Heartbreaker? Is it an admission of breaking hearts?
"Growing up my family would always say I would grow to be a little heartbreaker. That meaning has evolved into more. I was always counted out so now King Heartbreaker is more like being an upset and proving naysayers wrong. It has nothing to do with breaking ladies hearts Haha."
So you're from South Memphis? Tell me a bit about growing up in Memphis and why you went the route of R&B instead of hip hop.
"Growing up in South Memphis was hard. Lots of killings and drugs around, but I had love for music and that kept me out of trouble. I had confidence in myself and I didn't want to be a product of my environment."
"I went to a concert with my mom and aunt to see Usher and the Pyramid. He had just released the 8701 album and I saw how the ladies loved him and screamed for him and I wanted to be like him. Even church women were screaming for him!"
Did you have any positive role models growing up?
"My dad wasn't always around, so i never got the chance to learn a lot from him. My older friends and family members helped raise me. My mom allowed positive men around that could help teach me how to grow and survive. "
There's been a mass exodus from Memphis to Atlanta or Houston. Do you feel that move helped your career and did it effect your approach to music?
"I believed it helped me grow as a person and an artist to see something different from what you know. I wanted to know if I had what it took to go all the way and moving to Atlanta, where there's talent everywhere, was me challenging myself to be great. I got to see the ins and outs of the music industry."
Do you feel there's not enough support amongst Memphis artists?
"Definitely. I feel that it's getting better. It's a tough city and it's hard for some Memphis artists to trust someone they don't know. It's mainly on a who you know basis. In Atlanta, all the artists all help each other and are willing to reach out to help. It was completely different from what I was used to. You'll see T.I., 2 Chains and other artists working together. I want Memphis to be like that. Everyone helping each other and less out for only themselves. Personally, if you're from Memphis and doing something positive, I will never charge them for doing a song."
I hear you've been working with Drumma Boy. How did that relationship come about?
"He saw one of my videos and later he gave me a call to come to the studio. We recorded a few songs and played 2K! Haha. He taught me a lot about the industry. He's let me turn down beats that went on to sell millions of copies, but he also taught me how to be more humble. He's a brother to me"
Ok, let's let's switch it up. Tell me about the song Big Daddy.
"It's a song about the man a woman goes to see that will make her life easy and pleasurable. She can depend on him to fulfill her hearts desires. Make her feel better than she's ever felt before regardless of whatever situation she might be in.
So describe your ideal woman
"A woman that know who she is and what she wants. A woman that's true to herself and her has her own goals and dreams."
Do you feel artists have a responsibility to use their platforms to create social change? Would you be comfortable with the younger generation looking at you as a role model?
"Most definitely. With the amount of people that watch and follow you, you have a platform and a voice to say and do what others can't do. These people are buying your music and you have to be willing to accept the responsibility that comes along with that. I also see where the artists come fro that don't want that responsibility. We are all humans and we all make mistakes. Some people think that because you have a certain platform and you can no longer make mistakes."
"I don't mind being seen as a role model, but I'm still human. I've made mistakes and I'm going to make more. I prefer to be called a real model instead because I don't play a role. I'm just who I am and that's trying to be as real as I can possibly be."
When you touchdown in the city, what's something you have to eat while in Memphis?
"Honestly, I gotta go to Dixie Queen! I have to have a 10 piece hot with a suicide slush! It's 24 hours so I can get it anytime I get back to Memphis. Also the BBQ. I've been to a lot of places and there's nothing like Memphis BBQ anywhere."
So the last and hardest question, Tigers or Grizzlies?
"Wow that is a hard question. Do I have to pick one? I have real love for both the Tigers and Grizzlies. If one has to go......I would say the Grizzlies, but I don't really want to pick one. The Grizzlies moved here and could move again. The Tigers were all we had for a while, so I will say keep the Tigers. Man, this is a really hard question!"
Check out King Heartbreaker's newest single Oxygen! His new mixtape King Sh*t will be released on Dec 29th. Be on the lookout for that.