Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Q&A with Shirley King

Shirley King is the author, with Dave Smitherman, of the new book Love Is King: B.B. King's Daughter Fights to Preserve Her Father's Legacy. It focuses on her relationship with her late father, the famed blues musician. A singer and entertainer, she is based in Chicago.

Q: Why did you decide to write this memoir about you and your father, and what do you hope readers take away from it?

A: I am always asked what it's like to be B.B. King's daughter and it's not what people thought when he was alive and now that he has passed it is much different. So this book is my story about living with my father's side of the family during the school year and then my mother's side over the summers.

I think it gives readers a better picture of life in entertainment and what it's like to be the daughter of a legend like my father.

Q: How would you describe your father's musical and personal legacies?

A: He was very passionate about life. He loved people, he loved performing, and he of course loved the blues. Personally, he affected a lot of people and his generosity was endless. He also rarely forgot someone's name and always made them feel special.

Musically, he made "the Blues" accessible to people around the world and by working with musicians in different genres, he reached so many people that might have never experienced my father's music.

Q: Do you feel that writing this book changed any of your feelings about your family and your life story?

A: I think looking back at my life has helped put things into perspective and helped me see why things happened the way they did. It took a lot of self-reflection and it was very emotional for me, but I really enjoyed the process. I hope readers love it too.

Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?

A: I talked with my co-author about something that would be meaningful and memorable. We wanted it to be about love and positivity. There's a saying that "cash is king" and we thought what about "Love Is King"? Because above everything else, that's what is most important.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Of course I am doing a lot of interviews and book signings this year for the book, but I also tour around the country as much as I can and I headline Blues festivals overseas. This year I'll be in Portugal and possibly Brazil.

I also promote a program called Blues in the Schools to teach students about blues music and I perform for seniors and tell stories about my father. 

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I'm very excited about this book and I have ideas for even more books in the future. I can't wait to meet people on the road, talk about my wonderful father, and hopefully bring a smile to a few faces along the way.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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