King was born August 24, 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia. While King was still a small child, her father encouraged her interest in music. She was introduced to the guitar first, but when she learned to perform on the drums, they became her first serious instrument. King played in bands in high school with classmate Morgan Jahnig, who would later become the acoustic bassist of Old Crow Medicine Show. Upon graduating from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta in 1998, the two friends made their way to New York University. During her time there, King picked up the guitar again after years of neglect, and the 5'1" musician played a few occasional gigs and busked in the New York subways.
King's two earlier recordings (Everybody Loves You on Velour Records in 2003 and Legs to Make Us Longer with Sony Records) in 2004 featured more acoustic compositions. These albums focus on her unique guitar skills, such as hammering, tapping, and "fanning," as well as using intricate tunings of her guitar. However, her albums and tours since then have had more use of electric guitars, drums, keyboards and music loops. In 2005, she parted ways with major label Sony and returned to her original label, Velour. Kaki performed as an opening act for Eric Johnson during a leg of his 2005 tour.
For her third album ...Until We Felt Red, King made a conscious decision to depart from her previous musical direction, out of a desire to escape being pigeonholed as a solo instrumental artist. The album features King's vocals on more tracks than previous albums. With the prominence of electric guitar on the new record and the addition of a full band, the popular music website AV Club called the sound a post-rock makeover. Featuring production work by Tortoise's John McEntire, the album was released on August 8, 2006 on Velour Records.
In a MySpace bulletin on July 5, 2006, King announced that she would play with a full band for the first time on her "...Until We Felt Red" tour.
King's talents began to catch on within the music industry, and more artists became interested in using King as a guitarist on their tracks. In 2007, she was featured as a guest guitarist on The Con, an album by Canadian indie-pop/rock band Tegan and Sara, released on July 24, 2007. She appears on the tracks Knife Going In, playing lap steel, and on Floorplan, playing guitars. Both songs were written by Sara Quin.
She is also featured on Northern State's 2007 album, Can I Keep This Pen? on the track "Fall Apart".
King guested as a guitarist on the track "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners" from the Foo Fighters' studio album, entitled Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, released on September 25, 2007, and on November 18, 2007 she joined Dave Grohl on stage to perform the track at the O2 arena in London. With fellow musicians like Serj Tankian and Jimmy Page in attendance, Grohl is quoted as saying: There are some guitar players that are good and there are some guitar players that are really fucking good. And then there's Kaki King.
On January 14, 2008, she appeared at a Breakfast with the Foo Fighters hosted by Kevin and Bean from KROQ-FM, a commercial radio station located in Los Angeles, California. There she performed "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners". Grohl jokingly stated that he is "molding her to take his place." She then went on tour with the Foo Fighters on the Australian leg of the Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace tour.
King also appears in the 2007 film August Rush, performing as the protagonist's hands and playing his guitar parts. In addition, she contributed to the music for the 2007 film, Into the Wild, produced and directed by Sean Penn, playing Frame and Doing the Wrong Thing. Both songs are featured on her second album, Legs to Make Us Longer.
King finished her new record, and in late 2007 wrote about it in her MySpace blog: I finished the new album. Don't get your panties in a tangle, it won't be released until next year, but it's done. And it's amazing. In a later blog and in a Billboard Magazine interview she told readers that the new album Dreaming of Revenge, produced by Malcolm Burn, would be released on March 4, 2008. This date was changed to March 11, 2008.
On March 4, 2008, iTunes released a full version of Dreaming of Revenge featuring the bonus track "I Need A Girl Who Knows A Map".
King is also a featured artist for Adamas and Ovation guitars. Adamas guitars' composite tops are well suited for her tap-style playing, as King herself noted on the DVD "Unique Voices: 40 Years of Ovation Guitars". The soundholes on her Adamas guitar are adorned with a cloudlike pattern inlay that King designed herself.
In an interview in the April 1, 2008 issue of Blast Magazine, King says she hopes she can be known more for her music and not just as a "good female guitarist." Ultimately, Id rather be known as like, Oh yeah, that sounds like Kaki King, rather than Oh, shes pretty good for a girl. However, King has not shied away from her gender, appearing in several Gardasil commercials to promote the first vaccine for cervical cancer.
King made an appearance on the forthcoming tribute to The Cure on Manimal Vinyl Records in fall 2008 covering "Close To Me".
Whilst touring Australia with the Foo Fighters in 2008, Kaki featured on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio station Triple J's "Like A Version" where she performed a cover of the second half of Justin Timberlake's song "LoveStoned/I Think She Knows". This performance was also filmed and aired on the ABC show jtv on May 5, 2008 in Australia. A studio version of this cover was featured on Engine Room Recordings' compilation album Guilt by Association Vol. 2, which was released in November 2008 .
King was a featured performer in The Berkeley Sessions, a 30 minute solo concert filmed for television in Canada in April 2008 and premiered on Bravo! October 8, 2008.
King has also been a guest contestant on the Australian musical trivia quiz show Spicks and Specks, appearing on October 22, 2008 on ABC1, as well as on June 3, 2009.
She is credited for scoring the yet-to-be-released film "How I Got Lost".
 Awards and nominations
Playing lap steel guitar, 1st Adelaide International Guitar Festival, Australia, November 2007.
In February 2006, King was named as a Guitar God by Rolling Stone Magazine, becoming the first ever female to make this list in the history of the publication.
On December 13, 2007, King was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for the music she played in the film Into the Wild. She was nominated for the award along with Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook, who also contributed music to the film.
 Style and techniques
King's style combines fret-tapping with slap bass techniques, using the guitar for percussive beats, as well as sound layering and looping, which creates a complex sound. Her playing style evokes Michael Hedges and Preston Reed, the latter of whom she explicitly cites as an influence. Although she shares both similar playing techniques and a last name with guitarist Justin King, the two are not related.
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