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Cameron Kinghorn on King Pari, new project playing Midwest Music Fest at Home

Cameron Kinghorn at The Current in 2017. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
Cameron Kinghorn at The Current in 2017. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

by Sylvia Jennings

May 08, 2020

Around this time each year, local music enthusiasts typically gather in Winona, Minnesota to attend the Midwest Music Fest. This year, due to social distancing rules, Mid West Music Fest is going virtual, and is now Midwest Music Fest at home. The event will be streamed from the Midwest Music Fest Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo, and will include performances from Charlie Parr, Gully Boys, the Nunnery, the Shackletons, and more.

Morning show host Jill Riley had a chance to talk with Cameron Kinghorn of Nooky Jones, who will also be performing at the virtual festival with his new project, King Pari.

Jill Riley: Cameron, how are you?

Cameron Kinghorn: Oh, I'm doing alright. I woke up today feeling like today is going to be a good day.

Before we talk about Mid West Music Fest at Home, what have you been doing during this time?

I have been trying to fill my time with as much creative work as possible. I have a home recording set up, and I actually feel pretty lucky. Over the last year, I've been doing a ton of home recording, which feels really good. It has been a really nice distraction for me right now, just like diving into projects and coming out like five or six hours later and being like "Whoa, where did all that time go?" That's been most of what I've been doing.

I just participated in a festival last week called Novel Stages that Bobby Maher put on. That was my first time ever putting out any content that people could download that was under my own name, which was really exciting. I spent two weeks doing a super deep dive on recording some new music that I had been working on for a while and creating video content on my own. It was super, super, super fun, and a really beautiful festival and a cool experience to be a part of.

That's something that you probably wouldn't have done without the time that we're living in. 

Yeah, I've just been trying to dive into things that I'm extremely excited about, and create content that I feel really positive about and content that I think other people will enjoy and laugh and have fun participating in.

You were a music teacher, right?

I teach private trumpet and voice lessons through Twin Town. Teaching, for me, is something I've always loved but performing won out in the end. I still do it on the side, and I love it so much. I love working with my students, and I've been able to continue. With most of my students, we've switched to online lessons, which has been great.

Is that working out for you? At least you can do a one-on-one with people through technology.

It's actually worked really well. There's occasional challenges, like we can't do any duets with my trumpet students because we can't play at the same time, or I can't accompany my voice students on piano, but we've figured out a lot of other ways to interact together. I know, for me, the first day that I had online lessons, there was so much uncertainty and I had lost all my gigs for the next two months overnight, and I remember sitting down and having my first lesson with my student and had this rush of, "At least I have this little bit of normalcy right now. I'm still seeing my students." That's been a really positive experience.

What do you have planned for the weekend as part of Mid West Music Fest?

This new project that I am very, very stoked about. It's called King Pari. It's myself and Joe Paris Christensen, and it's like psychedelic, soul, funk, [and] R&B. We're playing on Saturday, May 9, at 9:30 [p.m.] Joe and I have actually still been working together, even though it's been separate, because all the work that we've done with this project has been DIY. We actually recorded an EP last year in his bedroom, for the most part, that's done and we're sitting on at the moment. We're going to be set up at his place, and it's been a while. For the last two months, we haven't seen each other at all. This Saturday at 9:30, Joe and I will be performing from his bedroom.

Connecting with the music world during the coronavirus crisis

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.