Philly Legends: King Britt
One day, when I was having dinner with my husband, he asked me "If you could back to a time in your life... ya know, like any age, what would that be?"
I didn't even stutter. "23-25 years old...PERIOD."
I went on to explain to him why: When I was that age, it was the early 90s. I didn't have a care in the world. I was tending bar and making money. I was traveling throughout Europe, MCing RAVES, recording music with my then-boyfriend, Josh Wink, and his producing partner, King Britt. I was dancing and hanging out with a bunch of unknown legends in Philadelphia who have gone on to be the people that started a scene in the city. They were club owners, DJs, party promoters, artists, musicians, and your basic run-of-the-mill fabulous people. Many of them are still going strong. And we are all in touch with one another.
These amazingly creative wonders of my life are the reason I am the person I am today. My goal in life is to make sure that all of them know this about the effect they had on me throughout my 20's and beyond.
Now, at 48, I have made the choice to embark on a new personal project. Slowly but surely, I will create portraits of each of these amazing people and give a little synopsis of who they are and what they are doing now. I started this actually when I went home to Philly over the Christmas holiday but didn't realize that I was doing this until I traveled back there last weekend to photograph a Bat Mitzvah and actually met up with more of my friends and explained to them what I was starting to do. Each blog will feature one of these amazing people. So let’s get started!
How I know him: I have known King FOREVER. We met at Tower Records on South Street. My boyfriend at the time, Josh, was DJing at a club called The Black Banana and at a bar we worked at together called Xero. I was the club's first hire and brought the owners, both Josh and King to DJ soon after they opened. King was the 12-inch record buyer for Tower. He RAN the show there. He was so stylish, funny and an all-around great guy. And no one knew music like he did (and still does).
At the time, he lived in the back of a storefront in South Philadelphia and was busting his ass to be a music producer. When I tell you he lived in a closet... I'm not kidding. His life was music music music. He slept on the floor with his keyboards, sampler, and turntables.
Eventually, King and Josh became the best of friends and business partners as well. King started the legendary Philadelphia night at Silk City called Back to Basics. You can read about it's history here.
He and Josh went on to produce the house music classic "Tribal Confusion," with yours truly doing vocals in the middle of the song. At 2:24 to be exact. I went on to record other songs with King. At one point, King, Josh, our friend Blake, my oldest friend Grover, and I all lived together in a house, and it was crazy. We called it the happy house. King and I remain close to this day.
What he is doing now: God, what isn't King doing now? Instead of me telling you all the details about everything, because that could take all day, I’ll list his achievements: He has worked and toured with Sade, Alison Moyet, Martin Fry from ABC, Kathy Sledge, Grover Washington Jr, and De La Soul; he produced King Britt Presents: Sister Gertrude Morgan,which was featured on the HBO series True Blood; he won the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts for composition in 2007; and he has released solo albums When The Funk Hits the Fan and Adventures in LoFi.
I took these photos on the Sunday before I returned home last week. He met me at my hotel, and then we went to his studio, where he did a little work and I just hung out. He is possibly the happiest guy I know.