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With a boost from Prince, King trio on their way with show at Martyr’s

Musical group King composed (left right) Paris Strother Amber Strother AnitBias counts Prince as leading adviser.

Musical group King, composed of (left to right) Paris Strother, Amber Strother and Anita Bias, counts Prince as a leading adviser.

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Laura Mvula, King, 8 p.m. Sept. 13, Martyrs 3855 N. Lincoln. $17.50; (773) 404.9494; martyrslive.com

Updated: September 11, 2013 3:00PM



The musical trio known as King has royal connections.

Royalty, as in iconic music-maker Prince, who caught Paris Strother, her twin sister Amber Strother and Anita Bias on their “The Story EP” on YouTube and invited the young women to open for him on one of his 21 shows at the Inglewood Forum outside Los Angeles in 2011. He has since been a mentor of sorts for them, and his management team is helming King’s career as well.

King’s debut single, “In The Meantime” released in March, garnered a huge following for the singer-songwriters, including notable fans such as Questlove, Erykah Badu and Phonte Coleman (The Foreign Exchange). King will be in Chicago for a stop at Martyrs on Sept. 13. Paris Strother talked to the Sun-Times about the trio’s music-making and being mentored by Prince.

Q. How did the three of you form the group?

Paris King: Amber and I are twins, so we’ve been making music growing up. Anita briefly studied music at Berklee College of Music and she had a chance encounter with my sister there. I didn’t run into her again until an open mic night in Los Angeles, and we just started making music together. It started as a friendship — just making songs for fun — and turned into a real group.

Q. Did you come from a musical family?

PK: Our dad plays a little and sings a little. We all took piano lessons. Amber was pretty shy about her voice growing up. When we were little we’d play-act scenes together for ourselves. So we mostly started singing and writing when we got older. ... Our writing just became this natural collaborative effort. It’s a unique thing when we come together to write.

Q. What’s it like to have Prince be your champion?

PK: Amazing! We got an email from our manager saying that [Prince]had heard our song on the Internet and he wanted us to open for him on the last night of his 21 shows at the Forum. He initially flew us to one of his shows on the East Coast. He told us he loved our music.

Q. What advice did he give?

PK: He was so encouraging and told us not to compromise what we do musically for anyone. He doesn’t really work with us on our music, but the places in the songs he touches are amazing. He’s mostly guiding us on the business side of things and teaching us the importance of the deals we make. There’s just a feeling when someone like Prince takes an interest in your craft that lets you know the level it should be.

Q. What was his advice about business?

PK: Know your worth, especially when you’re coming out and people are approaching you. Know who you are so you won’t find yourself in a deal you don’t want.

mdinunzio@suntimes.com



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