Emily King serves up vibrant, genuine energy in Oakland performance

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Hushed in anticipation, the crowd barely let out a breath as they waited for Emily King, the New York-based singer and musician, to grace the New Parish on Thursday. The Grammy-nominated R&B singer had just begun her debut North American headlining tour in support of her most recent album, “The Switch,” which released last summer.

In a white sweater and matching cap, King joined the rest of her band on stage with ease. She opened the sold-out show with a big smile and her infectious song “Good Friend.” The audience members followed the singer’s lead and largely danced their way through the set, playfully keeping time to King’s melodies.

For the most part, King played through her new album, going through crowd favorites, such as “Sleepwalker” and “The Animals,” in which she showcased her broad vocal range with a quick bout of acapella.

With her strong stage presence, King spoke directly to the audience after “Already There.” She asked, “I feel like we’re friends now. Can we talk? Can we hang out? Can we sing?” As it turns out, crowd members were more than willing to help out as they joined her on soulful phrases such as “Help if you can I’m feeling down” and “I do appreciate it when you are around.”

Throughout the whole night, King’s energy remained infectious and lively, breathing character into her soft, upbeat R&B tunes and showcasing her fun personality. In a notable moment of connection with the audience, King joked that she had been really feeling hot in the venue and had been “trying to take this cape off for the past three songs.” She jokingly called for “tech support!” to the laughs of the crowd but successfully managed to wiggle her way out of her wardrobe.

It was clear that Emily King, with her great energy and genuine stage presence, really would have rather been nowhere else but the New Parish on Thursday night. She played off the audience’s electric energy, even giving the mic to an audience member while she performed “Out of the Clouds.”

As the set drew to a close, she gave introductions for each member of her band — taking care to let each member have a brief solo on stage — before playing the fan favorite “Distance.” The singer returned for an encore following the crowd’s deafening chants of “Emily! Emily! Emily!” and played one of her most well-known songs, “Georgia,” before taking her final bow for the night. Oakland did not miss a beat in having Emily King stop by.

Contact Eda Yu at[email protected].