Say hello to King Vagabond. They are a queer-fronted, alternative, electronic-pop duo from New York. The artistic love child of frontman, vocalist Joey Dean and guitarist/producer Niko Vaude. To say I am beyond super excited about them is putting it lightly. Months ago, they sent over a preview of their brilliant debut single “Rule The World” to me. Without hesitation. And not even reaching the first chorus on my first listen through of the track. I had them flagged up in my schedule for an introduction feature on the blog. (I planned that they would be one of the first new acts I would post about when I returned from holiday.)
What is it about King Vagabond that gets me in such a state of excitement about them? They’re an independent music act with a dark pop edge. They have nailed the art of writing eloquently worded, almost poetic press releases. That ties in seamlessly with the aesthetic of the music and visual elements they use. Their bio reads like this: “King Vagabond tells a tale of poetic triumph as a queer misfit and a catholic Egyptian-American turned rockstar compound their peculiar perspectives of the world and build a space for fellow queerdos, misfits, and wandering Vagabonds”. These are the things I find exhilarating about them.
The music speaks for itself. Niko’s production is powerful and dynamic. In comparison, Joey’s vocal traverses the spheres of poignant balladeer equally juxtaposed with those of a burgeoning pop-rock star who can hit a falsetto note spot-on. Unlike most emerging acts, King Vagabond has put a lot of thought into its image and concept. Their bold move is paying off.
Regarding the track, Joey comments…
“I spent too many years of my life misaligned. I decided to address an ever-growing division within myself. Instead of rejecting the bits that made me special, I chose to lean into them. Mythology, Italian renaissance art, sci-fi fantasy literature, my queerness. “Rule The World,” It asks listeners to unsheath their swords—the ‘weapons’ they keep hidden—and lean into them hard. Only after you face, love, and own every part of yourself can you become the ruler of your world.”
King Vagabond has a lot of good things going for them. They are the living proof that when electronic meets rock is done right the end results can be as catchy as they are impactful.