By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Forever inspired by gritty ’90s rock like Matchbox Twenty and Foo Fighters, an acoustic guitar and a heart of gold was all Zack King realized he needed to succeed after he found himself stuck in the post-grad blues.
Armed with emotional stories, catchy melodies and the lyrical wit to match the bitter wind chills of his native Minnesota, this indie singer-songwriter always knows the score.
Recommended for fans of The Band CAMINO, The Fray and Parachute, King followed up his 2020 debut album ‘Mess’ with the five-track EP ‘Bend But Don’t Break,’ notable for the singles “Butterfly Face,” “Hit & Run” and “Stay.”
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with King about his new music and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Zack King – Bringing back a nostalgic sound. My favorite genre is ’90s alternative rock. It’s the music I grew up on and the genre I find most inspiration in when writing lyrics. It’s fun to find other ’90s alt rock finds, because they’re so excited to hear new songs in their favorite genre, which can be hard to find nowadays.
Music Bugle – What are your favorite types of songs to sing?
Zack King – Songs that have a lot of emotion. I like feeling goosebumps when I sing, so having a lot of anger and overall emotion is what I love. I’m naturally drawn to bands like Matchbox Twenty, All Time Low and the Foo Fighters because of that reason. They all are really good at writing lyrics that tug on your emotions consistently, so I love to sing their songs, which also gives me inspiration when writing.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your single “Butterfly Face”?
Zack King – To write an upbeat summer bop. I wanted to show I could write songs that have happier emotions, so I challenged myself to write “Butterfly Face.” I loved the way the song made you want to dance around, roll the windows down and sing those high notes. The song was a perfect opener for the five-song EP.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Zack King – “Butterfly Face” was the most challenging to write. As my fans know, I usually write alternative rock music. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and write a folk-pop song. The challenge wasn’t creating the melody, but writing the lyrics. I played around with many different lyrical variations until I finally found the right fit. I even attended a songwriting retreat to find clarity on how I should write “Butterfly Face.” Who doesn’t love a good challenge though?
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?
Zack King – After college. I moved back home away from all of the friends I made and felt very alone. I turned to playing guitar and singing to keep my mind off those feelings. Once I started playing a lot, I started writing lyrics to help get those emotions out. After experiencing this for the first time, I realized this is what I was meant to do. The rest is history.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Zack King – The Band CAMINO. I love their alt rock sound mixed with modern pop. They also have great concerts!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Zack King – If you’re doing it right, it can help. If you’re putting too much pressure or creating ridiculous posting schedules, it can hurt. It’s all about balance and having realistic expectations. If you want to engage with your fans, social media is a great tool to use, especially if you’re creating personal relationships with your biggest superfans.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Zack King – The biggest impact COVID had on my career was with gigs. I wasn’t able to play live shows for months, which really hurt. I love being able to showcase my talent and find like-minded music lovers. There were some benefits, though. The pandemic allowed me to work on my voice, build on my marketing and advertising skills for my music career and write more often.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Zack King – Long walks at the dog park. My dog Ramona and I love to go explore and take a break from all the chaos in our lives – hers is mostly the next door neighbors’ cat that’s always taunting her. I love to get some fresh air and take Ramona on a fun adventure. It’s a great way to recuperate and take a breather.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Zack King – “Good is the enemy of great.” I love this quote because it pushes me to be the best version of myself. It’s easy to be content with where you are in life and sometimes, that prevents you from being even better. I never want to be content. I’m always striving to better myself and my music career.
*Photo Credit – Dana Leigh*