A CONVERSATION WITH SHIRLEY KING. BB KING'S DAUGHTER RELEASES A NEW ALBUM OF KILLER BLUES MUSIC
Updated: Jul 27
Shirley’s newest and best album yet, Shirley King: Blues for a King, will be released on Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records this Friday, June 19.
Shirley King sings her heart out and shows how musically diverse she is as she does her own versions of classic songs like Feelin’ Alright, Gallows Pole, That’s Alright Mama, At Last, Can’t Find My Way Home and many others.
Recorded in Chicago, the album features an amazing array of guests including Steve Cropper, Elvin Bishop, Harvey Mandel, Robben Ford, Junior Wells, Martin Barre, Duke Robillard, Joe Louis Walker, Arthur Adams, Kirk Fletcher and Pat Travers, all of who wanted to pay their musical respects to this talented daughter of blues royalty.
“I’m so thrilled that these great artists lent their amazing talents to my new album. I can’t thank them enough for believing in me. I’m so proud of this album and can’t wait for the world to hear it. I feel it’s my best work yet,” enthuses King.
Shirley King took time out from her busy schedule to talk with Rockbandreviews.com. In the interview, King talks about her new album, coping with the Corona Virus quarantine, and of course her father BB King.
Born and raised in West Memphis, Arkansas, Shirley began singing in the church choir at age nine. When she was thirteen, she met another music legend – Etta James.
Young Shirley was so impressed by Etta’s performance that she made Etta her musical role model. Ruth Brown and the late Mahalia Jackson also greatly influenced the fledgling singer. Shirley says, “I grew up around the stage watching my dad become famous, but I never imagined I’d become a blues singer too.”
Ms. King came late to the blues, first trying it on in 1990. Within six months, she was a regular performer at famed Chicago blues club Kingston Mines. Two years later she released her first CD, “Jump Through My Keyhole.”
In 1999, Shirley released her highly acclaimed blues album, “Daughter of the Blues,” which featured her soulful, bluesy versions of classics like Wang Dang Doodle, Sweet Home Chicago, Every Day I Have the Blues and, fittingly, The Thrill is Gone. Once her father caught her act he lent his full support to Shirley’s efforts at carving out her own career. She admits that having a legendary father helped open some doors for her, but it was her talent, charisma and high-energy stage presence, along with her big, beautiful singing voice, that put her on the musical map.
From traditional blues to gospel to funky R&B to smooth soul, Shirley defies genre and her singing and stage antics never fails to excite her growing number of fans worldwide.
Shirley also believes in giving back. She has also worked with kids as an artist-in-residence with the highly acclaimed Urban Gateways Arts in the Schools Program at Chicago Public Schools and continues to expose school children to the history blues has played in American culture.
Shirley also published her memoirs in 2017 entitled Love is King, which is dedicated to her father and goes into detail about her life with her dad, to whom she was very close.
Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Joe Louis Walker, who guests on two tracks on the new album, said, “I’ve had the honor of performing on two B.B. King albums. Now I have the distinct honor and pleasure of playing on his daughter’s album, Shirley King, who is also my dear friend. Keep the thrill goin’ on Shirley….”
With her powerful voice and outgoing personality, Shirley always rocks the house whether it’s on an international stage, a festival or a nightclub.
She’s ready to bust out bigger than ever on her own in a way that would make her daddy proud. Make sure to come along for the ride.