In a musical landscape filled with overnight YouTube sensations and people being famous, for being famous, there is something very refreshing and trustworthy about an artist who counts by the number of miles on his tires, rather than the number of “likes” to keep him in the game. John King takes fate into his own hands and trusts his God-‐given gifts as he strives to make a difference by entertaining fans in a way the whole family can enjoy.
It is that drive, paired with raw talent and business savvy, that took this young man out of a little mountain town in Georgia’s Habersham County and into the spotlight opening for award-‐winning artists, playing over 150 dates per year.
John grew up surrounded by his parents, grandparents, cousins and younger brother Andrew. “I have a really close family,” he said. “They are big part of who I am now.”
His recreational days were spent enjoying simple country living: exploring the outdoors, camping, hunting or fishing in the many nearby lakes. “That’s what I love about Georgia, growing up in the
woods and the mountains, there’s a lot of lakes,” John laughs, “There’s so much to do; it’s like a playground for a redneck.”
On Sundays, John spent his mornings with his Grandma singing gospel hymns and playing music in the little country church that he still attends if he’s home.
King grew up working with his hands, building character as he built structures. “Those jobs made me who I am,” says John. “I started off working rock construction, rock masonry, putting rocks in fireplaces, stone furnaces, walkways at about 14 or 15. Although it was tough, it built muscle and character. It was great.”
Citing his parents as the main reason he got into music, John credits them for their influence. “They are the only reason why music was introduced as an early age.” John’s musical tastes were formed by the southern rock sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and The Black Crowes.
“The radio was always going and we’d listen to my dad’s vinyl on Fridays nights,” John recalls. “The day it hit me that I wanted to do music, I was riding in the truck with my parents and we were listening to the Black Crowes. I remember being fascinated with that sound thinking, ‘I want to do that!’”
“I was about five years old when I got a Mickey Mouse drum set from my parents,” he says “My parents were always feeding me music. I started off playing the drums and my first real drum set came when I was 10 or 11. I actually had a guitar then but I thought drums were cooler,” John laughed. “You know, when you’re a kid you want to beat up stuff.”
John took serious interest in guitar when he realized that he could figure out how to play his favorite songs, but then went on to modify them. “That’s when I realized that I could write my own music. I started simply by playing familiar melodies and turning them into funny songs with lyrics about my friends.”
Around this time, John was playing in a band without a singer. “We were all just standing around playing instruments. Eventually, we decided we need a singer and my mom said, ‘John, you talk all the time, you should sing.’ So, I started singing.” After that, John stepped into the spotlight permanently.
Once John settled into the position of lead singer, his voice began to change the sound of the band. “Our early bands were rock bands but my voice was country. I grew up country, I talked country and I started to write about country things.”
After graduating high school, John decided to arm himself with a music degree and went to study at the University of Georgia. It was his time at UGA that the formation of John’s musical footprint would really take shape.
Once in Athens, John honed in on his songwriting and guitar playing. Adding original music to the band’s set list separated them from the rest of the local acts. In 2010, John added a second lead guitarist and began to go by the name, The John King Band. “I thought man, this will be easy. It will be something easy to remember because there are all of these dang band names out there and they are changing every week.”
With the new band name came the refinement of their original sound. “I decided that it would be great to do something that was more country because that’s the stuff I was writing but to still blend the rock ’n ‘roll I love so much.”
The John King Band was in full developmental swing during John’s time at UGA. “My time at UGA helped me,” John said with a very serious tone. “Without that time, we wouldn’t be here.”
“The school helped me tremendously in getting shows, and in knowing how to market yourself, and to market your product. Realizing that “The John King Band” isn’t just a band, it’s a brand.
Not only did John’s time at UGA help him hone in on the bands sound and network to play out more, it gave him a very clear sense of direction and the tools to execute his plans.
Not long after they began touring, the JKB received national attention when their Southern rock-‐country blend took them to the finals of the National College Battle Of The Bands held in Los Angeles, CA.
The doors were opened wide when with help from the department heads of UGA’s Music Business department; The John King Band landed the opening spot for GRAMMY winners, Diamond Rio at The Terry College Young Alumni Board’s Terry Rocks concert in 2011. “After that, things took off. We were able to leverage that show to give us credibility to play bigger venues.”
Their dedication and tenacity paid off in opening slots for ACM’s New Male Vocalist of the Year, Brantley Gilbert; platinum selling artists, Kip Moore and Jerrod Niemann and the ACM’s 2012 Best New Artist, Florida Georgia Line; a feat that is virtually unheard of without a booking agent.
After catching the ear of Black River’s Vice President of A&R, renowned songwriter and producer Doug Johnson in late 2012, John King signed a publishing deal with Black River Publishing in conjunction with Razor & Tie. Johnson, known for his seven number one and ten top ten hits including Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy” and Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses,” was blown away with John’s talent and they began writing together.
"He walked in the room. Picked up his guitar and sang," recalled Doug. "My first thought: authentic. Without saying a word he seemed to say, 'I hope you like it, this is who I am.' Big heart. Humbly hard headed. Sort of like every artist I've ever heard that really made a difference. I was in."
In 2013, Black River Entertainment signed The John King Band to their artist roster; along with “Dancing with the Stars” champion and acclaimed singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler and country music superstar Craig Morgan, (“This Ole Boy,” “International Harvester,” “What I Love About Sunday.”)
The John King Band's new EP "Something in the Water" is now available digitally everywhere and on www.thejohnkingband.com. The new EP is being co-‐written and produced by Doug Johnson.
“It’s such an honor to be on Black River,” says John. “I feel like it’s a huge compliment and validation to all the work we’ve put in up to this point. I am so excited to see what we’ll be able to accomplish now with these new resources at our fingertips.”
One of the first steps since signing with Black River Entertainment is the newly signed deal with the Nashville based booking agency Buddy Lee Attractions.
“Doug is talented in so many different facets, which is rare to find in one person,” John shares. “I could tell from day one that he gets what my direction is and who my influences are. It means a lot to me that he’s putting so much faith into our project.” Now that things are solidly moving in the right direction, and John has an entire team working behind him, he’s looking forward to really focusing on the music and being the artist that can bring something different to the table.
“It’s important to me to always give glory to God in what I do. Not just on stage, but also in how I treat people, in the songs we write and with my own image. I’m an old soul,” John laughs, “I love good, wholesome, stuff that’s got a message. I want the songs to be the best they can be because the fans deserve the best.”
When it comes to the fans, the bar is set high according to John. “I want to be like Garth and these guys who treat their fans like royalty. That’s how we want to be. Like Kenny Chesney, if you’ve got a long career in country music it’s because your fans love you.”
The John King Band has come a long way in a short time not because of the modern day “viral factor” but because of good old-‐fashioned hard work, raw talent and, as John would say, “A whole lot of help from above.”