Introducing: King Isis

Listen to new single ‘in my ways

Debut EP scales out this Spring

Photo credit: Cole Maslansky


King Isis (they/she), the latest signing on Dirty Hit alongside independent label No Matter, shares their new single and visualiser ‘in my ways’. It marks the second single from the Oakland-based artist, following the release of her DIY debut ‘4leaf clover‘ late last year. Today’s announcement also sees the confirmation of King Isis’ debut EP scales, set for release this Spring. On the new track, they comment; “‘in my ways’ is about being stuck in a cycle of your own creation. You don’t quite know how to get out of it just yet and you’re not really trying. It’s willfully ignoring shadows, but it’s ok cuz we’re dancing.”

Born and raised in the cultural hub of Oakland, CA, King Isis shifts shapes and fuses sounds ranging from indie rock, grunge and R&B to jazz and blues, sweeping through pain, growth, and transformation. Music has been in King Isis’ blood for generations. They were taught to play on the same piano owned by their late family matriarch and great-great-grandmother Omega King, one of the first Black opera singers in Chicago. King Isis’ artist moniker pays reverence to Omega’s legacy of pursuing her passion of art and creation in segregated, post-slavery America. “Her name holds a lot of power in my house and in my family,” Isis reflects, “A big part of the reason my artist name incorporates hers is to remind me that there is power in my voice, that music has always been a deep-rooted part of me, and to keep going.”

Growing up, Isis existed on the periphery: coming from a low-income, single mother household, they struggled with feelings of inferiority and insecurity in predominantly white, wealthy private schools. Isis turned to creating little worlds of their own through music and writing. Stifled by years of stringent classic training, they began to explore a more improvisational and experimental approach. EP title scales is a further window into these multiplicities as well as a more literal nod to musical theory – the name also calls to mind creatures both real and mythologised, and the concept of balance between dual forces. This sense of duality is also entwined with the EP’s central motif, which centralises largely around the concept of shadow work – embracing both introspective light and dark, and “stepping within and into discomfort to find acceptance and create the whole and finding freedom within all parts of you.”

Emboldened by the strength of the maternal figures in her lineage and life, King Isis has always had an affinity for rulebreakers, gravitating towards the kinds of people who go beyond themselves to set the template for change. Sonically, they credit everyone from SOPHIE to Erykah Badu and Tyler The Creator, whilst personally they look towards feminist progressives like Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Gloria Anzaldua. The communal healing power of music is also a pillar of King Isis’ ethos. They volunteer teaching music classes for low-income communities in Los Angeles, and worked with the FreeStudio Program of Rikers Island, creating a safe creative space for incarcerated youth and the children of incarcerated adults. King Isis finds power and freedom in sound and is a firm believer in creativity as fuel to the revolution.

King Isis online:

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