Twin Sister Duo KING Brings Warm Vibes to the Cat


Photo courtesy of KING

A promotional photo from We are King, the R&B trio that performed at the Cat in the Cream last Saturday.

Minneapolis-born twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother performed as the duo KING in the Cat in the Cream this past Saturday, March 7. Now based in Los Angeles, the twins call their self-produced electronic sound “eclectic.” Their self-titled first album received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album of the Year in 2016.

On Saturday, KING lit up the cozy space of the Cat, with Amber on high, fluid vocals and Paris on three different synthesizers and a laptop. They used an effect to make Amber’s voice echoey and atmospheric, which was complemented by the backing vocals looped through Paris’s laptop. Amber’s vocals and Paris’s skills on synth created an energetic soundscape that blossomed as the concert continued.

Audience members flocked to the dance floor in front of the stage as soon as KING began playing, and many stood swaying and tapping their feet throughout the hour-long show. The duo performed songs from their debut album such as “In the Meantime” and “Native Land,” as well as titles such as “Human Condition” from their most recent project, which is currently in the works. Their album lost out at the Grammy’s to Beyoncé, but as Paris said, “When Beyoncé wins, everyone wins.”

KING created a sense of intimacy with the audience that not many performers can manage, even in a smaller space like the Cat. The sisters were set up on opposite sides of the stage, visually emphasizing the two pieces — vocals and synths — that make up their duo. Despite this spacing, their closeness was palpable. They exchanged warm looks while performing, and Paris would often look at her sister admiringly when she hit more difficult notes. They beamed at the audience as well as each other.

“You guys [in the audience] are bringing us so much joy,” Paris said. The two transitioned smoothly from one song to the other so that the set was almost one continuous piece of music.

When they did stop to talk to the audience, they were warm and welcoming.

“Feel free to dance,” Amber said at the beginning of their set. Most of their music was easy and danceable, with a heavy bass and open-sounding synth chords woven with Amber’s airy vocals that conjured an image of sailing through outer space. The songs from their older album tended to sound more bare-bones, with mostly synth backing Amber’s vocals and effects, focusing on her naked talent. Their newer project is more atmospheric and layered, providing a detailed sound experience.

The last song they played, “Move Love,” was originally a collaboration on Robert Glasper’s album Black Love that won a Grammy. The repeated lyric “closest to heaven” embodied the transcendent feeling of KING’s music, but it’s the song “Two at a Time” that seems to represent the two sisters’ relationship: “We always go two at a time.”