Kingrey’s Philipino and Ohio Roots
Philippines-born Kingrey grew up in the small town of Versailles, Ohio. There were six siblings in the household. She began her musical journey playing the alto saxophone which she inherited from her older brother in the fifth grade. Later in high school, she joined the school’s marching and concert bands and also took part in her church’s choir. She admits that she was relatively quiet about singing, as she took on many other extracurricular activities, including sports and a variety of leadership roles in school organizations.
Discovering and Pursuing Music in College
“I didn’t really find a lot of time for music until college. While I was attending Ohio State, I was messing around with the prospect of singing for talent shows. That was back in the day when everyone was still playing cassette tapes. Me and my roommates would gather around the radio and try to record on the tapes,” Kingrey said laughing.
Kingrey moved to Toronto, Canada in 2005. She says she loves everything about the city. It was only five years ago that she decided to take it to the next level by joining an indie funk rock band called Do Mar (which means ‘of the sea’ in Portuguese). She was responding to a Twitter post, which said they were looking for a vocalist. After auditioning, the band began gigging around Toronto, making it her first time performing beyond the talent shows in college.
Toronto and Her Solo Breakthrough
After the band’s disbandment in 2013, she teamed up with a Toronto producer who was looking to make dance music. This led to the release of her first single, “Talk To Me Dirty” which was published by indie electronic dance label, 6n7 Music. Coincidentally, this song released three months prior to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me”. After that single, she decided to become an independent artist.
“After I released that song, my network of producers and different types of musicians within the community had opened up to me. To me, that was a breakthrough song, which enabled me to get in touch with people from all around the world,” said Kingrey
Although she started her career doing alternative and dance music, she is open to creating other kinds of music, including soul, pop and more. “My next release is more of a tropical house mix, where it’s more laid-back. It’s got a trance and a chill house vibe to it.”
Although she understands some of the advantages of having a label, she is not rushing to sign with a label.
She Won’t be Pigeon-holed
“One of the main reasons I am not heavily pursuing a label is because I don’t necessarily want to be pigeon-holed into a category. I like to remain independent because it allows me the freedom to make whatever type of music I want. For me, music is my creative outlet, so I don’t believe that anyone should have to put creativity in a box,” she explained.
As an independent artist, Kingrey sees other artists such as herself coming more to the forefront. “It’s really important to get out there and to keep performing to build a fan base. I think that independent artists will always have an audience. People always want to hear something fresh. So long as big music festivals like SXSW and Coachella keep offering the opportunity for independent artists to perform alongside mainstream artists, music fans help independent artists by spreading their music through word of mouth.”
Kingrey adds, “Having a good grasp of the music business is also key. I’ve seen both sides of the music community and learned that there are a lot of sharks out there. I recommend that people do their homework. Indie musicians will always have a place; it just depends on their goals.”
Holding on to Indie Status
“Being an independent artist means having to do most of the work by yourself,” she asserts. Kingrey points out, for example, that little things like staying current with social media while maintaining her life as a stepmom of two can be a real challenge.
She often feels the pressure of joining a label. However, she reminds herself that it’s okay to remain true to what works for her. When asked about aspiring collaborations, she hopes to one day work with Australian singer-songwriter, Sia.
“She was a writer for so many popular artists, even before she became famous. I really like her, not only because of her voice, but also because she puts more focus on her artistry versus her image. That ideal really resonates with me,” she says.
Kingrey advises us that she will be releasing new music in the next couple of months. You can check her website for updates. Kingrey’s music is available on iTunes, as well as all major digital platforms. Her social media links can be found on her website at http://www.musicmarigold.com/