Jodi King Finds Her Roots in Fashion and Music

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Music and fashion go together naturally. Artists are well-established trendsetters and plenty of them have come out with their own clothing lines. Local singer/songwriter Jodi King is now joining the ranks of artists who have mixed music with fashion by solidifying a relationship with Roots, the world’s leading athletic lifestyle clothing brand.

Several months ago, King was doing an in-store performance at a Toronto clothing shop. Roots owner Don Green happened to be in the shop for the show and approached King about bringing her music to Roots. One thing lead to another and King is now set to do a September tour performing in all major Roots stores across Canada. King’s music will be featured on Roots Radio (the only music that plays in Canadian Roots stores), her clothing merchandise will be manufactured by and displayed in Roots and her upcoming CD will be sold in Roots stores.

"This has been my goal to combine the fashion world with the music world and it is happening," says King, who pays careful attention to her audience. "A lot of people who come to my shows are the people that read fashion magazines.”

King has a history of mixing her love for fashion with her love of music. She has routinely borrowed clothing from local designers, particularly Corydon Avenue’s Poppy Clothing, wearing them during her performances. Her fans would subsequently end up in the stores asking about the fashions Jodi had worn. The Roots relationship is a natural development for her. King also notes that she isn’t the first local artist to think of it, having been inspired by Amanda Stott’s ads in Elle Magazine.

King was handpicked by Roots to headline at the 6th Annual Rethink Breast Cancer event as part of the Canadian contribution to the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer(FTBC) campaign. The invitation-only event, which took place on May 4 inside the Roots flagship store in Toronto, featured an elegant cocktail reception and King’s performance. Past FTBC performers include Juno-winning artist Feist and Lenni Jabour.

In addition to the tour, King will be working with co-writers and producers to put together a new album. She hopes to finish a sampler complete with a new radio single for the September tour and drop a full length album and video in 2007, giving her the chance to build her name before the release. A classically-trained pianist who combines funk and soul with pop melodies, King has performed with the likes of Ivana Santilli and Sekoya and had successful showcases at the Western Canadian Music Awards and Canadian Music Week.

King recently joined the roster of Reach Records, a Toronto-based management company representing the likes of Juno nominee Ray Robinson. Reach secured distribution for Jodi’s release through Soul Clap Records, Universal’s urban music imprint. Reach has also helped King connect with Toronto-based musicians, including Nelly Furtado’s guitarist Adrian Ecclington, to back her up during her Toronto gigs.

These recent developments put King on a fast track to reaching a wider audience. With her music playing in Roots stores and her merchandise on display, customers have the opportunity to translate an otherwise passive listening experience into real sales for the independent artist. Starbucks perfected the formula for selling music in its coffee shops across the globe, helping to launch new artists and serving up established acts with their venti mochaccinos. Customers walk into stores prepared to spend cash and companies like Roots and Starbucks are realizing that offering more keeps them coming back. Starbucks’ website even has an extensive music section where visitors buy coffee and CDs online as well as listen to mp3s, view music television and listen to Starbucks XM Satellite Radio. Roots has established itself in the music community, recently outfitting artists at the Grammy Awards and actively seeking out new artists to feature in its stores.

Thinking outside the box and pursuing new ways to market music is becoming increasingly important at a time when the recording industry is in flux. King has definitely taken that to heart in her approach to her career. “I keep thinking ‘what else do I have in common with my fans besides my CD.’”

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