Michael Kingsley has been writing, arranging and producing music for over twenty five years His songs are about “romance and love and the vagaries thereof,” he says. Some of the songs have spiritual subject matter. “Other songs are pictures taken in the moments of people in especially poignant situations,” he adds.
As a producer, Kingsley has worked with singers in almost every genre – classical, pop, rock, jazz, r&b, country, musical theater and hip hop.
Along came Toni, a German actress and singer from East Berlin. When Michael met Toni in November 2013, he was impressed by “her husky, smoky voice somewhat reminiscent of a young Marlene Dietrich with echoes of the Weimar cabaret period with a very slight sprinkling of a German accent,” he says. Because of her unforgettable instrument along with her personal depth and her ability to “alternately seduce you and break your heart in the same song”, the composer found in Toni an excellent interpreter of his songs.
Toni, who has released two singles with Kingsley (the third one is scheduled to come out at the end of November) has been waiting to receive an artist visa for the USA for over fourteen months. Kingsley says that even though “the commercial sensibility in Europe seems to be more open to poetic expression than in the US, New York offers the most stimulating artistic environment there is. “For Europeans, it might also be a way to a freer, classless feeling with fewer limitations on the artistic self,” he says.
Kingsley believes that Toni brings a certain “Europeaness” to his songs and that she provides “a strong but delicate and incredibly honest and tender reading for the ballads and a playful, sensual, edgy attitude for the rhythm ballads and uptempo songs.
At his studio in New York City, Kingsley is currently working on the arrangements of two additional and “distinctly different” songs that he composed for her. “A brand new melody that I hear her voice on just came to me this morning,” he says. He believes that Toni is definitely is on her way to “stir up New York’s music scene with her “disturbingly beautiful timbre that is hauntingly delicate. Listener, beware.”
You can hear Michael and Toni’s music here: