photo by Steve Thornton
Ronnie King is best known for his work producing Tupac Shakur. He has produced such iconic artists as Snoop Dogg, Coolio, Mariah Carey, The Offspring, Kottonmouth Kings, Pepper, and countless others. He can also be found touring with Rancid from time to time. It was my pleasure to sit down with him and learn a little about the man behind the music that is so well loved.
Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your early days? What were you like as a kid?
Ronnie King: As a kid, I was always playing music. I came from a musical family of 7 kids; my older brothers and sisters where always making music. Then I started studying at 5 years of age and didn’t stop until 2 years into college.
MI: What was it that first sparked your interest in music?
RK: My brother Chuck’s friend, John Buccino, who is a great piano player.
MI: What was your very first favorite song?
RK: “Mandy” by Barry Manilow.
MI: What do you think it takes to make a great song?
RK: Great vision and acting skills.
MI: Why do you think music has always been so well-loved throughout the ages?
RK: Everything else loses power in the translation. Music, you just sit back and enjoy.
MI: You are well known for your work on the analog Moog keyboard and Hammond organ. What it is about those instruments that you love most?
RK: The Moog was the first electronic keyboard and the organ was big, but sounded great.
MI: How do you think the music industry has changed since you first started your career? How do you think it needs to change most at this time?
RK: It’s Great. If you put out great music, you will sell. If it is not enjoyable, it won’t. There are only two kinds of music in the business, The kind that sells or doesn’t sell. Real talk.
MI: What was it like to to work with Tupac Shakur? What was he like as an individual?
RK: Amazing! We used to write 8 songs a day. He was a nice guy to me.
MI: You have worked with countless musicians over the course of your career. Are there any that you hold most dear? Any that helped you grow most as a professional?
RK: It has all been a great time. From Joykiller, 2Pac, or the Pointer Sisters, all of it has been amazing. I’ve no real favorite.
MI: Do you have any interesting stories from your time in the field that you might be a liberty to share with our readers?
RK: All the good stories are happening now. I’ll keep you posted.
MI: What advice would you offer the musicians of tomorrow?
MI: What do you look for in an artist when you are deciding if you want to produce them?
RK: Reality of where they’re at. Not in a dream world.
MI: Are there any little-known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?
RK: I’m white. (smiles).
MI: What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
RK: I travel the World. I love Costa Rica and sailing around the ocean.
MI: What projects have you been working on recently?
RK: Pepper and The Offspring.
MI: Do you have a dream project you’d most like to accomplish before your time is up?
RK: I’ll wait and see.
MI: What are your personal feelings on life and death? How do you hope to be remembered when you go?
RK: I’d like to just be remembered as a nice person.
MI: What projects are you looking forward to bringing the world next?
RK: The Costa Rican artist I am working with.
MI: Anything you’d like to say before you go?
RK: I’ll see everyone in Costa Rica or Mexico down south to Buenos Aires on a wave.
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