Kim Arrington
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Kim Arrington

Durham, NC | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Durham, NC | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band R&B Jazz




"Kim Arrington on NPR's State of Things"

Kim Arrington
By Frank Stasio & Lindsay Foster Thomas

When singer-songwriter Kim Arrington delivers a tune, you can’t help but wonder if she’s in love. Although amore is a common theme in many of her lyrics, the emotion in Arrington’s music comes from the sincere passion she has for singing. Her forthcoming CD is called “Getting II Yes” and to raise money for its production, Arrington is performing a series of living room concerts to get the word out about her music one community at a time. She joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her new album and play live in the studio.

When singer-songwriter Kim Arrington delivers a tune, you can’t help but wonder if she’s in love. Although amore is a common theme in many of her lyrics, the emotion in Arrington’s music comes from the sincere passion she has for singing. Her forthcoming CD is called “Getting II Yes” and to raise money for its production, Arrington is performing a series of living room concerts to get the word out about her music one community at a time. She joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her new album and play live in the studio. - NPR's State of Things

"Kim Arrington's second album spotlights a real life of Triangle jazz"

Kim Arrington's second album spotlights a real life of Triangle jazz By Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

Kim Arrington's new album reflects the long and worrisome process behind it. Kim Arrington never planned for her second album to spend five years in gestation. But a lot has come apart and subsequently together for the Durham singer-songwriter since her sassy 2008 debut, First Love Note of Kim Arrington.

Back then, for instance, pianist and arranger Victor Moore was simply her sideman; now they are engaged. Their deeper musical connection is but one life change reflected on her new follow-up, Getting II Yes.

"We never keep track of who had the idea. Sometimes we have ideas at the same time. It's actually creepy cool," Arrington says.

While she and Moore now finish each other's thoughts and sentences, Arrington admits that this seamless communication didn't happen overnight.

"It was kind of bumpy at first," she says. "It was hard to separate work from the relationship. We fussed and talked through it, and finally got to the point where we just really trust each other."

Getting II Yes was bumpy at first, too. During the recording process, she had to confront doubts and disappointments, including several bouts of laryngitis that pushed studio time back for months. In fact, the album serves as a sort of audio diary for the five years of soul searching that separate her two records. In early 2010, just before she and Moore got together, Arrington went through—if not a deep depression—a spiritual reboot.

"I decided to not work for awhile, so I could just get some things straight in my head," she says. "I just let myself feel all of it." the old sorrows through which she needed to work: the devastating loss of her father when Arrington was just 10 years old. "I didn't realize that I was walking in it. I went right through it. And I realized that I want people to know resisting your pain doesn't make it better. On the other end is that bit of peace,"

Arrington says. "Do I let myself go for what I want? And that's why the CD is called Getting II Yes, because I do get to go for it. You get to go for your yes. This is my yes."

Getting II Yes brandishes new connections and joys: "Tippy Toes," for instance, features vocals by Moore's two children from a previous relationship. With its warm, homemade essence, Getting II Yes is a true North Carolina album, too, reflective not just of Arrington and Moore's personal journeys but the Triangle musical community that shaped them.

The two met as undergraduates at North Carolina Central University in the '90s. Many of their musician friends from those years joined them for the album's sessions. "It's a huge Central connection, because even if you didn't come out of Central, you played with people who came out of Central, and you're still playing with people who came out of Central," Arrington offers.

For her, the linchpin is Ira Wiggins, a Central graduate and the longtime director of the school's jazz program. "Dr. Wiggins has imparted a certain integrity amongst so many of these musicians. There is something about him that you can feel on every musician who's come in contact with him."

The Central ties extend to cellist and associate professor Timothy Holley, alto saxophonist Bluford Thompson Jr., drummer Larry Q. Draughan Jr. and conguero Brevan Hampden. Trumpeter Al Strong, now an adjunct professor at Central, joined the Getting II Yes sessions to play and arrange horns. For him, the connections within Durham jazz are more family than friends.

"Victor's like my brother," he says. "He was one of the first musicians when I got to Central that would put me on gigs, and basically I learned how to play from playing with guys like him early on."

Meanwhile, Arrington invited vocalist Mark Wells, of retrofitted jazz outfit Peter Lamb and the Wolves, to help pull off the album's biggest accomplishment: a must-hear duo version of Morris Albert's 1974 hit "Feelings," de-cheesed and made fresh with hip-hop and swing underpinnings. "['Feelings'] was only on the edges of my consciousness. I think Kim just kind of had an epiphany that it would be great if we did it together, so I just ran with it," Wells says.

The album's two other covers, "Control" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," also reflect Arrington's attitude toward the generation of soul and jazz performers who came of age in the '70s and '80s. For her, jazz isn't a museum piece but a living continuum that connects back to pop and rock and everything else it's influenced.

"I wasn't interested in doing [Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan] standards," she says. "Janet Jackson, Tears for Fears, those are the standards of my time." Co-writer and arranger Moore enjoys the challenge of vivifying the covers in unexpected ways:

"How can I make this song hip? That's the challenge," he says. He recasts "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" in 7/4 meter. He often uses a "bed of sound" approach, too, adding textured layers of Hammond B3 organ and Rhodes piano, reflecting his gospel music upbringing in rural Robersonville, N.C.

Whereas Love Notes foregrounded Arrington's vocals against an instrumental background, Getting II Yes demonstrates a mature ensemble awareness, with Arrington's voice yielding to the instrumentalists as equals. The result is a sophisticated and unified album sound, full of subtlety and revelation. It shows the five-year process—the struggles, the joys, the actualization—that led to these songs. "This music requires commitment, and deepening commitment,"

Arrington says. "It had to have that kind of luster on it or it wasn't going to shine." - Indy Weekly

"ArtsNow NC: Artist to Watch: Kim Arrington"

Alex Thomsen caught up with singer/songwriter Kim Arrington before she performed at the annual African-American Cultural Festival in Raleigh. She talks music, marriage and, of course, soul. - ArtsNow NC

"Seven Questions ... with Kim Arrington"

Submitted by Mike Williams — Managing Editor (@imikewilliams)

Kim Arrington is a deep thinker. Kim Arrington is soulful. Kim Arrington is passionate about love and life. The Durham native is on a musical journey that took her overseas and back — right into your living room. Literally.

While working on her new album, “Getting II Yes,” Arrington has been performing in the Triangle. I caught up with her recently after a show at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, which featured an exhibit by Durham artist Franco.

Here are my Seven Questions with Kim Arrington.

Q: You’ve been singing and writing songs since you were a little girl. When did you decide music wasn’t just going to be a hobby, but a career?

I always wanted to sing, since I was 4 years old. I wrote my first song at 7. Six days after turning 10, my dad was killed by a drunk driver — a mile from our house. The immense space music occupied in my life became waterlogged with quarts, pints and gallons of loss. When my dad’s manslaughter case was being tried, the lawyers in the case seemed so helpful and respectable. I gave up my dreams of being a singer right then. I wanted to be an attorney to help people and to honor my father’s memory. I even started out as a political science major in college. Before long, I felt like I was playing a game of ping-pong by myself. It wasn’t me. People started to tell me a song I sang would bring them joy, or help them move through grief. I decided my way to connect with people was through words and voice.

Q: You and I met while studying at North Carolina Central University. Talk about your time there. Is your music influenced by the historically black college experience?

I am a student of wonder. My curiosity activates whether I’m in the rainforest of Panama, or speaking with a person in line at Red and White Supermarket. Actually, I started [college] at Howard University in Washington, D.C. For the first time in my life, I was around people from Aruba, Nigeria, Jamaica, and all over the United States. I couldn’t believe how similar and unique we all [were]. That newness was forced to show up in my music.

I dropped out of Howard. I came home to work [and] ask myself what I truly wanted. I applied to North Carolina Central University [to study] music, and it was such a powerful awakening. The world-renowned jazz program is masterfully illuminating. I fell in love with Durham again. Central was the perfect fit for me, and I’m forever indebted for all that I received there.

Q: What was it like recording your first album, "First Love Note of Kim Arrington"?

I’d been writing my first CD my whole life. That was the easy part. I remember that day so well, because the pollen count was astronomical. You can hear it in my voice. “Hurry On, Silly Boy” was the first song we recorded. We got it in one take. I was so excited, unsure, crazed and audacious. It was a block party with instruments and audio engineer John Plymale running around making sure we captured it just right.

Q: Tell me about your tour in Europe. Did the experience help shape the direction of the album you’re currently working on?

People all need family, love, food, shelter and what I call “wind,” or passion. The address doesn’t matter much. In London, you can go to hundreds of places to hear music every day and see some of the world’s best art for free. That’s real commitment to what makes us human, but so is an impromptu drum circle in downtown Durham. The way life bumps into you is what you talk about the most.

Traveling pushes your limits. I require open hearts wherever I go. I found that in Panama. I found that in Switzerland. I find that everywhere.

Q: Speaking of the upcoming album, let’s talk about “Getting II Yes.” What’s the significance of the title?

“Getting II Yes” is all about what’s happened since “First Love Note of Kim Arrington.” I finally allowed myself love, family and a career that fits simultaneously. I invite people to witness my musings, and to join me. It’s honest, genre-bending music. The greatest paradox of life is what liberates you is what [you remember] you wanted when you were 7 years old. I listened and followed. My dad would be proud.

Q: You’re also a poet and published your first volume of poetry, “The Lapis Dwellers,” in 2005. Are the messages in your poetry different from those in your music?

The only thing I’ve ever written about, and will ever write about, is love. That’s all there truly is.

Q: You’ve been pretty excited about your series of Living Room Concerts. Talk about what this concept is all about.

Living Room Concerts are an easy way for me to connect with people, and for my supporters to get in on the action. My keyboard player and I literally come into your home. We give you, your friends and family your own personal concert. We’ve helped people to celebrate everything from birthdays to baby showers. We just ask for a donation to help fund ”Getting II Yes,” the new CD. There is nothing more remarkable than people giving. We are accessible, touchable and open. If you email me, you’re going to get a response back. Tell me where you’d like us to come, and I’ll show up ready to sing. As long as I have a voice, I’ll do the Living Room Concerts forever. -


Make Your Luck, Collective Bull, TBA (Singer, Composer, Executive Producer)

Getting II Yes, Collective Bull, 2013 (Singer, Composer, Executive Producer)

First Love Note of Kim Arrington, Collective Bull, 2008 (Singer, Composer, Executive Producer)



Kim Arrington sang publicly at 4 years old. By 7 years old, she was writing her own songs. Arrington has been described by the Indy Week as ”a singer boasting an appropriately smooth and sultry voice…[Kim Arrington’s songwriting] relishes turns of phrase and unexpected details, subtle character development and sung dialog.”

In 2013, Arrington released her latest musical offering, “Getting II Yes” (Collective Bull), comprised of 10 genre-bending, original songs written with co-producer-pianist-husband Victor Moore. “Getting II Yes” also boasts 3 re-imagined covers spanning from Janet Jackson’s “Control” to Morris Albert’s “Feelings” to Tears for Fear’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” “Getting II Yes” has been described by United Kingdom-based Soul Brother Records as “beautiful, laid back, jazzy soul album… utilizing an amazing tally of 25 different instruments. This album is a refreshingly different and vibrant, yet very accessible.”

In 2008, Arrington released her debut CD, “First Love Note of Kim Arrington” (Collective Bull), which Soul Brother Records described as, “Very good, lyrically-strong, independent soul album featuring real instruments from North Carolina singer-songwriter Kim Arrington, who possesses a really strong, unique voice.” She has sung for thousands in the United States, Italy, Switzerland, England, France, Austria, and Germany.

In 2012, Arrington was the recipient of North Carolina Central University’s 40 Under 40 Award for excellence in the arts. She was the co-founder, along with Billboard-charting singer, Rissi Palmer, of The Relative Pitch, a free, quarterly performance workshop for youth ages 18 and under. Arrington is hard at work on her third CD, “Make Your Luck,” to be released in 2016.


Band Members