Does anyone do pop music quite like Scandinavia? Ever since Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 and became the undisputed Best Pop Band Ever (why argue? The Beatles who?), a disproportionate number of the world’s most exciting and inventive pop stars have hailed from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Is it time to add KING to a list that already includes the likes of MØ, Tove Lo, Lykke Li, Robyn and Icona Pop? If debut single Promise is anything to go by, then it’s obvious KING already knows how to write the kind of happy-sad club banger we all love to scream along to when we’re feeling drunk and emotional (see: Robyn’s Dancing On My Own). She sings of broken promises and things, “Never being the same without you”, and confidently said in a recent interview, “Stating ‘promise me you’ll lead me along’ is a vow we all need to love and feel loved.”
KING’s real name is Gabriela Olmedo Catalán. She comes from Denmark but her roots are Cuban and Chilean, with her press release informing that her uncle used to be one of Fidel Castro’s personal bodyguards. More relevant, at least when it comes to the video for Promise, is her background in dance. KING has been dancing since she was 11 and earning a living as a dance teacher since 18 with a spell at a Copenhagen urban dance academy in between. The video, directed by Morten Sabroe, sees KING make her way through the beautifully remote Cuban rainforest, pausing at the track’s choruses to dance over slow-motion and blur filters.
For a first record, Promise is mature and accomplished, masterfully produced by Marcus Bormann. KING’s vocal abilities are particularly impressive; she flits between breathy, sultry, and euphoric, hinting there’s even more to come if we keep paying attention.
Promise is available to buy now on Quarterback Entertainment.
Words by Gemma Barnes