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In this Articulate exclusive, guitarist Kaki King performs “Trying to Speak II ft. Ethel” off her 2015 album, The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body, at Grounds for Sculpture in 2018.

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Kaki King
Kaki King

Kaki King is a virtuosic guitarist and composer. She is admired for her skillful fingerstyle technique combined with percussive fret-tapping and slapping as well as live sound loops.

Born in 1979 in Atlanta, she began taking classical guitar lessons at age 5. She played drums in high school bands and studied music at New York University, where she rediscovered her love for guitar. She released her debut album, the solo acoustic Everybody Loves You in 2002. She switched to electric guitar and a full band for her third album Until We Felt Red (2006). In 2014 she toured the United States with a visual and music storytelling performance in which her guitar was used as a projection screen. Her eighth album, The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body (2015) was released as a soundtrack to this multimedia show.

King was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2007 for co-writing the film score to Into the Wild, which also featured two of her songs. She has performed with symphonies and chamber ensembles, and recorded the album Live at Berklee (2017) in collaboration with the Porta Girevole Chamber Orchestra.