Brian Kingston

Brian Kingston

BandPopAdult Contemporary

A collision between Ben Folds Five and Jack Johnson, Kingston's debut CD is winning critical acclaim with strong songwriting and a recording team who previously worked with John Mayer, Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews. BK’s live act (solo and band) is filling clubs such as NYC’s Knitting Factory

Biography

“…top-notch in every respect - the writing, playing, singing, recording - everything.”
– Performing Songwriter, 2006

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BIOGRAPHY
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“Would you rather do a job you hate for a million dollars a year, or one you are truly passionate about for ten grand?”

One might hear that hypothetical question at a cocktail party, but few ever have to make that choice in real life. Charlottesville based singer/songwriter Brian Kingston found himself faced with that very decision in September 2001.

An up-and-coming young investment banker at a high profile Wall Street firm, Brian was only a few years away from making some serious money. The little free time he had, however, wasn’t spent watching the financial markets, but indulging his true passion of writing and performing music. And Brian’s music was starting to garner attention.

“I started playing open mic nights around San Francisco, where I was living at the time, and New York City, where I would regularly travel for business,” says Brian. “People would approach me and say that they loved the lyrics to my songs, that I reminded them of Billy Joel, and that I should quit my day job.” He laughs, adding, “Who was I to argue?”

Barely missing doomed United Flight 93 from New York to San Francisco on the morning of 9/11 helped bring clarity to his choice of career. Brian stayed up late to see a show at the Knitting Factory the night before, and his decision to sleep in rather than rush back to the office on the West Coast got him thinking his life’s purpose. One year later, Brian sold everything but his guitar and keyboard, and traded his apartment in San Francisco for a friend’s couch on Long Island. He also traded in a high-powered career for the one he feels he was destined to have.

“I realized that if it all ended tomorrow, I would rather leave this earth trying to make music than trying to make money,” he says.

Brian spent the next eighteen months honing his live show at bars and open mics on the east coast, as well as writing and recording. In 2005, he released his debut album, Songwriters Are Cowards, recorded with the outstanding rhythm section of Stewart Myers and Brian Jones (Jason Mraz, Rachael Yamagata, Liz Phair), guitarist/producer/ vocalist Doug Derryberry (Bruce Hornsby, John Mayer, Ben Folds Five) and producer/writer Chris Keup (Jason Mraz).

The lyrically driven pop/rock album is split evenly between piano and guitar tracks, and pays homage to Kingston’s many loves lost (or, more accurately, never gained). Songwriters Are Cowards has earned Brian a wide range of comparisons, from Ben Folds and David Gray to John Mayer and Jason Mraz.

The album has received significant attention and airplay from college radio, and Brian has been touring full-time since its release. In fact, Kingston found himself back at the Knitting Factory this past September 10, this time as the performer, four years to the day after music inadvertently saved his life.

“I see some of my old banking colleagues in the audience,” he says. “And I know they’ve gone on to make millions and buy summer homes in the Hamptons, while I’m out borrowing money to record my next album. But you know, somehow I still feel like I made the better deal.”

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Highlights

- Songwriters Are Cowards is being spun on over 70 college radio stations in the Northeast

- Kingston was recently featured on the Reality TV show “The Great Adventure”

- Kingston's song, "Sons And Lovers," has appeared on MTV

- Showcased at the Delaware Music Conference in 2005

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Fast Facts

Current Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Past Hometowns: Ithaca, NY; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Stamford, CT.

Primary Instruments (in order of proficiency): Piano/Keyboards, Vocals, Guitar, Saxophone, Woodblock

Favorite Color: Blue

Astrological Sign: Virgo

Strangest Place to Spend New Year's Eve: An overturned and flooded Land Rover, sinking slowly into a mud hole on the African plains

Distinguishing Mark: Scar on right hand

Lyrics

Sons And Lovers

Written By: Brian Kingston

I told her that I loved her over coffee one day
By the time the check came I’d thrown it all away
She let me know that she was seeing another
Couldn’t risk the friendship, thought of me as a brother
Well, I’ve got too many friends, and when you say “hey baby!”
I don’t want it to be familial, I want it to be craaazy
The last thing she wanted was to cause me frustration
Well, friends shalt not lead friends into temptation

Sons and Lovers
Friends and others
How long did you expect that I would keep this undercover?

Ran into her again about three weeks later
With some guy with some shirt with some alligator
The smile on her face said she was happy to see me
But I couldn’t help it, I was barely breathing
The normal exchange, “how about dinner?”
I don’t want to lose her, but I can’t seem to win her
If all you wanted girl was brotherly love
Move down to Philly, because I’ve got too much

Sons and Lovers
Friends and others
How long did you expect that I would keep this undercover?
You used to tease me
But you won’t please me
And I don’t want to be friends anymore…

What did you think, I was some kid in your sandbox?
Well, here’s some news, I don’t want to play anymore
Not being able to live in the castle’s a bore
If you think about it
It could have been like the movies
Bermuda beaches, making love in the bay
Instead we chat over lunch, and I pay
It didn’t have to be this way

I shouldn’t have gone off like a man on a mission
I guess that’s why they don’t talk much about a man’s intuition
And some might say, you should’ve showed her not told her
But I’m getting better baby, and you’re getting older
So, don’t go on thinking I’m going to cry in my coffee
It’s more bitter than I am, my heart isn’t stopping
You and me, we could’ve been a good thing
But I’m seeking greatness, have fun with your next fling

Sons and Lovers
Friends and others
I loved her once, I guess I’ll have to love another…

Copyright 1998-2005 Blue Bleep Records
Words and Music by Brian Kingston

Ellen

Written By: Brian Kingston

Ellen lives her life alone in Dallas
Sometimes I think she’s happier that way
Me, I'm alone amidst my gold and my mirrors,
And I can’t stand the sight of my own face

Ellen, will you shape me up,
Will you clear my skin?
Ellen, will you pick my sheets,
My brains, my linens?

And what a grand fool,
To make a man who
Can’t complete himself at all
And what a tragedy,
To give a boat to the Perfect Beast,
And sail him straight towards a waterfall

Ellen, will you shape me up?
These weights I lift, they’re made of tin
Ellen, will you call my bluff?
There’s no one here to do it
And I’m sick of winning…

Well she comes up,
no words are spoken,
Embrace is so tight
Ellen, we’re a puzzle,
But we’re just two pieces
You can finish us tonight
And can’t you see the edges?
Won’t you see the edges?
Can’t you find my edges and fill me in?

What if someone told you,
That he’d never be angry?
What if someone told you,
That he’d die to keep your stocking filled with candy?

Would you shape me up,
Would you clear my skin?
Ellen, would you pick my sheets,
My brains, my linens?

Aren't I enough,
Won't you waltz right in?
Would it be so rough,
For you to fill me in, Ellen?

Copyright 1998-2005 Blue Bleep Records
Words and music by Brian Kingston

Turn It On

Written By: Brian Kingston (BMI)

A girl in a torn dress with a boy in a car
Sometimes I think that was easier love, by far
Than you in your nightgown
With your head on the table
But that’s where I’d have you
If I was able

But you, you’re on again, off again
You’ve run off again but I’m on…

Won’t you stay?
You know I never needed anyone
Then you came
And I’d say
That you don’t really need anyone
But I’ll still play

So I’ll keep on trying to pin you down
And you’ll keep on trying to do the same
We’re like two lonely dancers just spinning around
Willing to practice, never taking the stage

And me, I’m up again, down again
I’ve gone down again, but you’re on…

Won’t you stay?
I know you never needed anyone
Then you came
And you better pray
That you don’t really need anyone
If you turn away

But you’ll turn on again, off again,
You’ll run off again, but I’m on…

Fire. It’s the middle of the night
And the time is just right
It just has to be you
So I’ll take you farther
Than you thought you could go
With just a telephone and a memory
And though I’ll see you in a couple of days
It’ll be a different way than we’d want it to be
Sure love is harder when you don’t have a plan
Don’t know where things stand
Well you’re not going to

But you, you’re turned on again, on again
And me, I’ve come up again

All lyrics by Brian Kingston (BMI)
Copyright 1998-2005 Blue Bleep Records

Discography

Songwriters Are Cowards (LP)
2004 - Blue Bleep Records

Tracks 1, 3, 4 and 6 have all received significant radio airplay as well as online radio airplay

Set List

Typical original set consists of 15-20 original songs (1 to 2 hours). Longer sets (3 hour engagements) consist of 15-20 original songs and 15-20 cover songs. Covers include Coldplay (The Scientist, Clocks), Dave Matthews (Grey Street, #41), Beatles (Hide Your Love, etc...), Crowded House (Fall At Your Feet), CSN (Southern Cross), Ben Folds (Philosophy, Alice Childress), Aqualung (Brighter Than Sunshine), Travis (Sing), James (Laid), and many more (if you want to hear it, I'll learn it)...