Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie London and Taylor Plecity.
Natalie and Taylor, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I (Natalie) was in the midst of a flourishing music career when I contracted Lyme, Babesia, and Bartonella, a life-threatening illness that left me bedridden for over three years. I lost the ability to walk, talk, read and write, but spent years regaining those skills and the ability to play music again. My debut memoir “Lyme Light” 2016 was narrated by Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) received critical acclaim from such icons as Sara Gilbert and Tori Spelling.
As I started this new life, I wanted to form a band that echoed that sentiment. I formed Hey, King! influenced by artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Two Gallants, Bright Eyes, and Edward Sharpe, and named after Where The Wild Things Are… they don’t know Max’s name so they just call to him “Hey, King!”
I would say, however, that Hey, King! did not become the band it is today or the band you’ll be introduced to this coming year until Taylor Plecity joined.
Taylor and I met March 17th, 2015 and fell in love shortly after… though I’d argue it was when we shook hands. Taylor had been brought out from Tucson, AZ to Los Angeles to play the lead in Peary Teo’s (Cloud Atlas) newest film. What began as joining Hey, King! as a guest singer on a couple of songs shortly after turned to a fully immersive collaboration by 2017 with Taylor on vocals and percussion.
When we crossed paths with Ben Harper, our lives changed immensely. Ben brought Hey, King! into the studio and began collaborating, laying downslide guitar, and playing everything from the harmonium to the hammer-dulcimer. What came out of it is the upcoming debut LP, In the meantime Hey, King! has been lucky enough to spend the last two years hitting the road as the opener for Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Sorry, we don’t understand this question, what’s a smooth road? We have yet to come across one. But in all seriousness, the ups and downs do not feel that rough because if you know what you want to do and believe in the story you have to tell than you are practically impenetrable. We have had to find a great deal of patience and faith, I’d say.
I had lunch with Ben Lee a while back and was picking his brain about music and his career and he told me that vulnerability is a superpower and that always stuck with me. When you truly put yourself out there you have to ride the ups and downs by believing that the people who are meant to hear your work will hear it someday, end of story.
Please tell us about Hey, King!.
I think one of the things we are most proud of as a band is successfully finding a way to differentiate our relationship from us being bandmates and getting through it without killing each other. There is nothing better than hitting the stage or being on the road with your significant other, I mean, who is lucky enough to get to share the most amazing moments of their life right next to the person they love! Getting through the stressful times and the day to day, however can cause an extra layer of complication. We actually started creating name tags to be able to communicate with each other without misunderstanding, we will put on our “bandmate” name tags and be like “I really need to talk to you about my girlfriend right now.”
What is your earliest musical memory & the first time you wanted to be a musician?
Natalie – My first musical memory: As early as I can remember, my mom was a walking 60s jukebox. I don’t remember a time where she wasn’t singing everything from The Doors to Herman’s Hermits, The Beatles, The Animals, in the car and on her horse and especially before I fell asleep at night. My mom never played music, she always said she was the best clapper in the audience. My grandma on the other hand was a prodigy, she played piano by ear and had the most extraordinary voice. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of her singing and playing, especially “you’ll never walk alone.”
My earliest memory of wanting to be a musician: I think music will always feel like my first language, everything else is a bit of a task lol. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t know I would do this for a living.
Taylor – My first musical memory: I was maybe 3, visiting my dad’s side of the family in North Dakota, and my grandmother took me to this buffalo/grand ole Opry-esque place where they had a large stage and an interactive musical show– they were yodeling. I had never heard of this before – yodeling. I asked my grandmother to teach me how. The next event they threw on stage had audience volunteers and I snuck away from my family and ran up onto the stage. They were asking us to line up and to yodel for a prize. When it got to be my turn, I stood proud and uttered wildly the training and techniques my grandmother taught me – “yodeling is like saying ‘old lady, old lady, old lady’ as fast as you can!” I did shout “old lady, old lady, old lady” as loud and fast as I could. They stopped and asked me where I learned how to yodel and I pointed my grandmother out in the audience and told them I learned it all from her.
My earliest memory of wanting to be a musician: I think I first started unknowingly visualizing being a musician while escaping in my room and imagining I was the lead singer to Taking Back Sunday or Brand New and transporting into the time, the places, and the feelings of those songs. There was something about alt/rock that played both my guardian angel and my abuser. On a lighter side, I kind of new music was going to be a monumental aspect of my passion and life, when the only way I would clean my room, was if I played the musical Annie’s “Hard Knock Life”.
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Main Hey, King! photo in water is shot by: Rich Fournier @fournierfilmstudios