As the first Feed The Juice interview, I’m excited to present King Za, also known as Izaiah James, who is a rising creative artist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is known around the Atlanta and New York underground scenes as an energetic, and mysterious persona. We briefly connected with mutual friends shortly before the New Year, and we spontaneously chatted about what the future holds for King Za…
Q: So how did you get into music?
I was born into a musical family, and grew up in recording studios surrounded by legends, including Organize Noize, Goodie Mob, and OutKast. My great, great, great, grandfather was the first African-American poet to be published in the south while still being a slave, and my father was a pianist and song-writer. It is because of my father that I wrote my first chorus when I was four years old. He was instrumental in getting me hooked on music, since he introduced me to the art and continually pushed me.
Q: How did your passion survive throughout the years?
Honestly, I owe a lot to living through so many inspirational moments, and I’m extremely lucky for that. Growing up in studios, I saw some of the best musicians almost everyday. So, I wanted to be just like them. Though when my father moved away when I was around seven, I had to focus more on my family and less on music. When my father wasn’t around to push me, my brother helped pick up his role. He would challenge me to become better than him, and for that I’m so thankful.
Later on, traveling became a big part of shaping and refining my musical palette and abilities. At 18, I left the US to live in Europe for a year. In 2016, I traveled around the US, during the election, selling merchandise to make some bread. I thought it was an interesting way to pay rent and see the world. Doing that, I pushed myself to be an entrepreneur and learned a lot about America. During this time, a lot of new sounds hit my musical senses. Going around a bunch of different vibes and energies helped influence my music, and help it become part of the sound that you’re going to hear. Once you start making things you’ve never made before, you get excited, and it gets you to the next moment. All glory to the most high!
I love my art so much that I want to come out correct.
Q: What are you doing now, and do you think you’re far off from your dreams as a kid?
Right now I’m a full time artist, splitting time between New York and Atlanta. Currently, I’m working on my first album, called Air Mattress.
I think if you’re lucky, your dreams continue to grow and build on top of one another. My dreams are only expanding so I would say I’m still far, but I’m excited to see where I’ve come from.
Q: What advice do you have for other artists?
I think patience is really the key to opening up the right doors. Real patience is a true gift because if you have it, you can outlast most of the artists out there. Had I rushed to go through the first door that I thought I had to unlock, I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am today. Waiting to drop high quality art with the right people is something that takes time and practice to achieve. If my music, in my mind, isn’t up to the right quality and feel, I ain’t dropping it. I love my art so much that I want to come out correct.
So my advice is to stay the course and wait for the right opportunity to present itself, and trust me, you’ll know when that moment comes. I personally had to have so many things unravel before the true beauty of my art came out, which is a testament to just being patient. By now, I’m well beyond the “10,000 hours”, since I started working on my craft when I was 15. I just continue to perfect my unique sound and wait for the universe to bring me the fruits of my labor.
I’m glad we’re doing this interview, because my goal with music is to inspire the youth to do things the right way. I feel that if you do things correctly from the start, you will feel much more comfortable with the outcomes. Sometimes you will have to go down in the trenches to clean out your dirty habits, but eventually if you stay consistent, you will come out as an elite.
Actually, last year, I was walking down Spring St in Soho to clear my mind, and I ran into Andre 3000, who I have known since my childhood studio days.
He goes, “Yo, what you doin?”
I’m just like, “Man, tryna clear my mind”
And he nodded, and we went our separate ways. But this experience confirmed to me that I was on the right path, as I was living next door to one of my idols. I am here to say to every other artist that if you stay your course, and do the right things, one day you’ll have your own symbolic moment with your destiny.
So fresh and so clean clean.OutKast
Q: What can our audience expect from you in 2019?
My audience should expect a lot more me. At the end of the day, I am the Brand. So I think this year, I’m going to be more open and connected with my audience. I feel like fans are like someone you’re dating; you’ve got to let them in slowly, but surely, to allow trust to form. But I’m confident that when you do get to know me, you will appreciate my story and sound as an artist.