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Creative Friday Feature: King Cooley

This week's feature is the talented King Cooley. I've had the pleasure of meeting King Cooley on set for her recent music video Get Down. Aside from her talent she brings genuine warmth to any room.

Here's King Cooley's story

1. Take a moment to introduce yourself?

My name is Katrina Lenzly, also known as King Cooley, and I’m from the Southside of Atlanta, Georgia. I am a hip-hop performing artist with a neo-soul spirit. I have my BFA in graphic design and currently work in the Advertising Industry as a Senior Art Director. My life in hip-hop has had a big influence on my professional career and vice versa. In the advertising world, I’ve become known to connect brands to culture. I speak with companies and brand teams about the power of cultural and creative diversity. In the music world, I’m all about telling cool stories that can translate visually. I love world-building from the concepting, to the songwriting, to the album art, to the marketing. I love immersing my fans in a full journey. 2. What does mental health mean to you?

A few years ago, my therapist told me that we heal through relationships. With that said, to me, mental healthcare at a personal, communal, and institutional level, is how we heal societally. If spirituality is what connects us, then mental healthcare is what gets us moving. The amount of introspection and growth I’ve experienced within my own mental healthcare journey has led to a lot creative breakthroughs. I’ve become a big advocate for therapy and spiritual revolution because of that. 3. How do you balance multiple creative ventures (music, art direction, etc)?

Sheesh. How DO I balance multiple creative ventures? A more practical answer is using lists, task delegation, sleep deprivation, automation, etc. I do a lot list making and often section things out into this “music-design-9-to-5-personal” grid. From there, I just check off items every day. I’ve been a multi-faceted artist since I was young so, it’s never been difficult for me to juggle creative projects. A more theoretical answer, though, is wave-riding. I’ve learned to flow with the seasons — not force projects, timing, or collaboration. Sometimes, as a business owner, there are ideas I want to see bloom but as a creative, I just don’t have the capacity. I’ve learned to honor my creative flow-states so I never compromise creative solutions or quality. I’ve learned to say “no, not yet” to myself or to other collaborators so I don’t get burnt out. It’s tough practicing discipline in that way but in it, I’m getting better at trusting myself and exercising patience (which I didn’t have when I was younger).

4. How does art impact and/or connect to mental & emotional health?

In general, I think creative expression is one of the best self-regulation tools. It engages us. It reunites us with our bodies. It reintroduces us to our inner child. There’s a ton of empirical data on it about cognitive development and hormones, but at a very primary level, our spirits, minds, and bodies need creativity. So many of us lose our hobbies or stop exercising art due to age or capitalism or hurt. And it’s especially sad because you can see how we yearn for art naturally. Look at the ways we consume. We seek creativity in the content we consume. We search for art in the ways we shop. We seek creative identity in the ways we dress. We cling to connect through the music we listen to. For a digital society obsessed with nihilism, I think it’s very interesting that an inch of our subconsciousness is looking for the rush of positivity that art gives us. We want to feel good and we want to feel connected to good moments! In that way, it’s a spiritual thing. 5. What does community mean and look like to you?

Community has a lot of different meanings for me right now and my idea of it hasn’t manifested in my real life just yet. Community looks like collaborative creation, shared resources, systems of accountability, collective child-rearing, transparency, and communication. Jeremy Rifkin — he’s an economic theorist — talks about a third industrial revolution that will connect our society through bartering, mutual aid, environmental reunification, and shared interest in a greater good beyond our lifetime. An “infinite mindset” as Simon Sinek refers to it. My ideal community is a residency where all of my family and favorite artists from my design world and music world can come together to create and build with each other. A refuge and an innovation lab. I had that experience a few years ago at my boyfriend’s old streetwear store, ELEV8ED. It was the closest to an image of a free, creative community that I’d seen in my life. I’ve been trying (and hope to) reconnect with that in my lifetime. 6. When traveling for shows or events, how do you ground yourself?

This is a GREAT question. I’d love to hear how others have answered this. For me, it looks like taking a few minutes before I get on stage to find a quiet spot, express my gratitude to God, get excited, remind myself that I’m prepared, and maybe stretch a bit to just reconnect with my body/get the nerves out.

7. What are your goals for your brand and any things to look forward to?

My 2023 goals! So many! We just released the official music video for our song “Get Down” produced by DopeNorTeria (there’s a special guest in that music video so y’all go check it out). In April, DopeNorTeria and I will be releasing our third collaborative single “Downhill” as well. In between, I’ll be working on a web design project for a design agency called A2; building an apartment complex with my boyfriend; finishing up a movie script, and hopefully producing a music event series in Atlanta this summer. Later in the year, I’ll also be on another episode of Kevin Hart’s “Celebrity Game Face” game show with my brother, Jermaine. I have a pretty ambitious year but I’m feeling good and working to stay healthy (mentally and physically). The goal is to make some dope stuff, follow the fun, and continue investing in the bigger picture!


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