ATM King Releases "Crescendo EP" - Exclusive Q&A
ATM King is a first generation Nigerian from Brockton MA and just dropped his First EP “Crescendo". As a college student athlete, ATM King found and used music as a tool for growth and a way to document his experiences. The project focused on ATM King processing the good , the bad and the unknowns of life but never being afraid to dream.
Boston Culture: Where did you from/ grow up? How was that like?
ATM King: I am a first generation Nigerian, my parents moved to the US in the late 90s. I was born in Dorchester but was raised and made in Brockton MA. I watched my parents work from nothing both of them having to restart their careers upon coming to the US. My family has gone through the worst of times but has always managed to capitalize on opportunities when presented and that is something I have ingrained in myself. Growing up in Brockton, it was easy for people on the outside to throw all these labels and stereotypes at you but as a member of the community I knew how much talent and potential the city held and at the same time i was able to realize the talent and potential within myself.
Boston Culture: How did you get your name?
ATM King: This one is pretty easy , my name is Kingsley and everybody calls me King. My parents folded giving me that name because I have always taken it and tried owning it forreal. “ATM” stands for Across the Map and symbolizes the idea of not being regulated to any one space or lane. I try to embody this in my music not really fully identifying with any one genre or style. At the same time I am a student athlete, software engineer and as well as an artist and embracing these identities as one entity , I think was the only way I was able to allow myself to fully explore music. Therefore, ATM King.
Boston Culture: Talk to us about "Crescendo EP"
ATM King: Crescendo was a vacation. Like a lot of people I had been Isolated not really seeing anybody for months. The EP has been planned for a while now and had been cooking for a while but honestly it was hard to sit down and write about what was going on.”Be Alright” and “Promise” were the only songs off the EP I had anything written to before the end of 2020. I ended up taking a trip out to cali in early january and visited my manager, Shady. We linked with my guy Frankiii (produced “Energiii” and “Holiday” and mix and mastered the entire project) and locked in to the studio for 2 days. By the end of the Two days we had 6 coherent tracks that I felt was the first big step in the creation of this ATM sound and honestly the most immersive studio experience i had been in for some time. Crescendo was a culmination of all the work i have put in so far in my career resulting in this project, Crescendo.
Boston Culture : What was the best advice you got early in your career?
ATM King: Embrace all feedback but understand where the feedback comes from. Some people love ya music and some people don’t , that's just how it is. But learning to take the critiques and reactions of others in the industry and growing from them has helped my process immensely. Understand your feedback and capitalize.
Boston Culture: What do you dislike about the art world/music industry?
ATM King: The more and more I look at the industry it becomes less and less about the music and more about everything else. I hate the gimmicky shit
Boston Culture: Who or what are some of your biggest influences?
ATM King: My parents honestly everything I am, whether that is good or bad comes from my parents. Everything I make is based on some lesson I either learned from them or because of them. I take pride in my Nigerian heritage and have made it a point to learn its history and really understand my culture. My mother is a dance teacher so music was always on in the crib and alot of my early musical influences was Afrobeat, Afrobeats, Dancehall and Reggaeton. Hip-Hop and rap didn’t become prominent prominent until late elementary school.
Boston Culture: Talks to us about your younger mentality.
ATM King:I have always been an Athlete and the determination, the drive that comes with wanting to be a Division 1 Athlete was a mentality and focus that has now expanded into the different realms of my life. I live my life the way I play football, with complete confidence that I can't be stopped.
Boston Culture : What do you think of the music scene in the State? Are there any other Boston producers or artists you'd potentially like to work with for the next project?
ATM King: The 508. Brockton MA. The city of Champions. Brockton is a hidden gem in the music industry that is just starting to bubble. There are so many talented but underrepresented artists and producers in the city but i think as this next generation fully blooms , we will shake the industry. I definitely need to link with my guys at Van Buren at some point, Ricky Felix has been going crazy. Dkeyz is definitely another Brockton made producer I got to link with for sure. There's a lot of artists who grew up in the city that I’m trying to work with , that’s what this year is about forreal.
Boston Culture : Tell us about your goals for 2021.
ATM King: 2021 is about honing in on my sound and collaborating and making music with new artists from all around the world. We live in a world where global access is few taps away and i wanna take that opportunity to make dope music. I’m also graduating this year and i think all this isolation and self reflection over the past few months was preparing me for the next chapter in my life. I’m on go mode all 2021. The price is going all the way up.
Boston Culture : What brands should sponsor you?
ATM King: Hennessy, UberEats, BIC , Nike , Pure White Hennessy
Boston Culture : Talk about the vision for the label, how did you get the idea?
Sam Shadorf: For me ATM started with a pure love for music. I love being in the studio just as much as the artist. Up until about two years ago, my entire life was circulated around football. Athletics along with my education were always the main focuses of my life. I came into Brown as a football player, but at the beginning of my sophomore year I had to stop playing because of head injuries. This opened up a crazy amount of free time for me that I never had before, so now I had to figure out what to fill that time with.
King would come over to my dorm and spit some verses for me. Just what he would perform for the group he was a part of on campus, or verses he wrote in his phone. I was always blown away by King’s ability to consistently experiment with new flows, and always make them work. King was very east coast oriented in his sound, and I knew that if he was given the opportunity to put time into his craft, he would develop quickly as an artist. Our boy Evan (ATM EJ) and King began to write some music together, and I would go over to EJ’s to listen in. The tracks they would show me were different from mainstream hip-hop today. Their sound together was not the typical “Hip-Hop” content. Both of their stories and being Ivy League students, they could really create a new element of relatability to the Gen-Z listener. How many Ivy league rappers do you know? King visited my crib in California almost 2 years ago. We went out one night and we knew, we can do this. We got back to campus, went to the studio with the whole ATM team, (we’re dropping the video of that night, when the time's right). King and EJ recorded their first song that night titled “Butterflies”. S/O Cam Bells who engineered us that night and who's been there from the start. From there Across the Map was created.
Boston Culture : What about ATM King, caught your eye?
Sam Shadorf: Kingsley’s my brother. So much that comes before music has connected me to King. Kingsley is a true leader, he is someone you need on your team. He makes people feel comfortable and treats the ones close to him like family. He really would do anything for the people he cares about, and is always there when called upon. He is extremely reliable, other than when he loses his glasses or wallet hahah.
On the music side of things, King has always been experimental with his sound. His endless amount of flows, and lyrical ability alone, proved early on that he is a star in the making. King is equipped with a batman belt full of flows. We would sit down and he would show me some verses, and I just would think to myself that he needs to be out there for the people to hear. King always has a million things to do, a million things on his mind, and that shows in his music making. He doesn’t allow himself to be complacent with one sound, with one genre of music. King has real stories to tell, and puts so much time into each and every song he creates. He has showed so much potential as an artist, I knew that all he needed was to take time out of his day to focus purely on music making, to allow himself to grow as an artist. He continues to show that growth with every new song he creates. If you’re reading this go listen to “Promise” the lead single off of Crescendo; King will have you singing along with him quick, Wooaaahhhh. King’s hunger for greatness, his craving for knowledge, and his ability to implement what he has learned, show that he can do this forever.
King is the ideal business partner, and together with the entire ATM family, we are going to go Across the Map.
Boston Culture : What's the best advice you give your artists?
Sam Shadorf: We can never stop moving. We must not be satisfied and must continue to move forward. Artists have to be consistent, especially when trying to come up in the game. We must prove to current and possible listeners/fans that this not a hobby. We live in a world of social media, where people are constantly scrolling for new content, new music, etc. We gotta keep up with the current state of the internet, and we can never slow down. Consistency has been a major focus for us at ATM, and we concentrate on releasing quality music along with quality content. Everyone in ATM has multiple focuses within their life. ATM King codes, runs a business, is a full-time student, football player, and of course is ATM King. The same can be said about every single artist within ATM: ATM EJ, Maesyn G, Love Rob, SHYM, all of our artists have many responsibilities throughout the day besides music. This is what defines Across the Map: we do not limit ourselves, we refuse to box ourselves into one lane. We are multifaceted, and bring a new definition of what a role model is in this music industry. My artists are individuals that people of all ages can be inspired by. We are all college students who dream big. We have discovered through experience, that with consistency and hard work, we can turn these dreams into a reality.