Jason King

Jason King

1999 Roundtable Panelist

Jason King is the Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. A multi-talented Canadian-American scholar, journalist, author, musician, DJ, performer, producer, songwriter, radio and video host, and event curator, Jason has served in leadership positions since the founding of The Clive Davis Institute. He was the Institute’s founding full-time faculty member, working alongside music impresario Clive Davis to help develop the program. He served as the Institute’s first Associate Chair (from 2003-2006), the Institute’s first and only Artistic Director (from 2006-2012); and the Institute’s Director of Writing, History and Emergent Media (2003-2020). He has also been the Institute’s inaugural Director of Global Studies, developing the international study abroad program Clive Davis Institute x Berlin: Future Pop Music Studies in Germany, and the Institute’s J-Term course in Havana.

In his capacity as Associate Professor, Jason teaches classes on popular music history and geography, identity and cultural politics, the music business (artist development/A&R and marketing/branding), and the social aspects of music technology. Among the courses he has taught:  “Artist Development, A&R and Personal Branding,” “Conversations with Technology Entrepreneurs;” “Immersive Experiences,” “The Business of Music: Worldmaking, Values and Ethics,” “Music + Robots,” “Failure” “The Record Producer as Creative Artist,” “Music Recommendation and Discovery,” “Freddie Mercury,” “R&B” and “Hip Hop: History, Music and Culture.” He taught the inaugural class at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus in the United Arab Emirates and he returned as Affiliated Faculty to teach classes in global music production and technology at NYU Abu Dhabi for four years. Jason also taught post-graduate studies in Producing Transnational Media Ventures for the MFA program in International Media Producing at Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore.

In his leadership capacity, Jason has brought numerous guests to the Tisch School, from Pharrell Williams to De La Soul to Nile Rodgers, Q-Tip and Alicia Keys. He has produced or co-produced many events for NYU and outside of NYU, too: the 2014 Club Classics Live! concert extravaganza at Central Park Summerstage featuring Sam Sparro and Ultra Naté; the EMP Pop Conference in April 2013 featuring Amanda Palmer; the EMP Pop Conference in March 2012 with Esperanza Spalding, ?uestlove of The Roots, Angelique Kidjo and Santigold; a two-day “The Making of Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions” with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee; “Sylvester: The Life and Work of a Musical Icon” (produced with Carolyn Dinshaw) with Martha Wash and Kevin Aviance; “The Making of Planet Rock” with Arthur Baker and Fab 5 Freddy for a two-week hip-hop festival at NYU; and Motown’s 50 anniversary series with guests like the late Leon Ware and Raphael Saadiq. He has also served as music supervisor and orchestrator for concerts associated with those events.

Jason has published numerous scholarly essays; he recently wrote about Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “Apesh*t” video for the Journal of Popular Music, and on the politics of Drake’s “Toosie Slide” for the Het Nieuwe Instituut’s For the Record video series. He has been a longtime music critic and journalist for publications like Pitchfork, Slate, Red Bull Music Academy, Vibe, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Spin, Billboard, Buzzfeed, Quartz, The Root, and Vice.

Jason has also been a contributing member of the NPR Music Team. Besides writing for NPR Music, he was the host and co-producer of NPR’s flagship video documentary series Noteworthy, on the creative process of music superstars: Season One featured interviews with Alicia Keys, Maxwell, Miguel, Banks, Dua Lipa and Anthony Hamilton. He was the curator and host of NPR’s 24/7 streaming radio channel dedicated to soul and R&B music called NPRandB, and has worked on R&B video programs with Babyface, King, Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi; and he produced and hosted the 2020 series Pop Talks, an NPR pop-up interview series featuring artists like Dua Lipa, Moses Sumney, Holly Herndon, and Victoria Monet. He was the host of CNN’s original podcast series Soundtracks: The B-Sides. Some of his favorite interviews include Pharrell Williams, Devonté Hynes, Kelela, Nick Jonas, Mary J. Blige, as well as George Clinton for NPR Music, and Harry Belafonte for Apple’s Meet the Musician Series.

Jason has served as a guest curator for Vevo, a consultant for Spotify and he has served on the boards of several technology start-ups. As Creative Director of his own entertainment company Superlatude, Jason has consulted for record labels, branding and marketing firms; and he has served as a music marketing and branding expert in high-profile cases for artists like Drake and Jay Z, as well as Katy Perry, Timbaland, Madonna, Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre and Kanye West. He has also been artist manager/strategist for international major label and indie artists (Jimmy Edgar, The Craig Lewis Band), and he was the music supervisor, live event and concert producer and musical arranger for cult pop star Asha Puthli. He was also the founder/driving force behind innovative New York based dance music superband Company Freak (www.companyfreak.com), featuring original lead singers of Chic Norma Jean Wright and Alfa Anderson and Hubert Eaves of D-Train. The band’s first EP, Le Disco Social, was remixed by DJ Spen, Justin Faust, Eric Kupper, Jodie Harsh, Opolopo and many others. Other studio productions: “Hold On (He’ll Be Right There)” for soul music icon Sarah Dash of Labelle; executive producer of Selan’s Space Flight album, featuring special guests Nile Rodgers, Emily King and M1 from Dead Prez.

Jason is the author of The Michael Jackson Treasures, a Barnes and Noble exclusive biography on the King of Pop, which has been translated in more than 7 languages. His blog entry “Michael Jackson: An Appreciation of His Talent” appears in the Da Capo Press Best Music Writing 2010 compilation, edited by Ann Powers. Jason wrote the liner notes for a Luther Vandross compilation for Sony Music, and for the vinyl exclusive reissue of D’Angelo’s Voodoo for Light in the Attic/Sony. He appears in many music documentaries, including Netflix’s Remastered on Sam Cooke, and two Spike Lee documentaries, Bad 25 and Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall. He was a series regular on CNN’s Soundtracks as well as CNN’s American Style and the series consultant on the Grammy and Emmy nominated eight-part PBS series on the history of popular music called Soundbreaking, in which he also appears. Jason is currently delving into directing and producing his own documentaries, and he is at work on a biography of Freddie Mercury. He is also an inaugural member of the Hip-Hop council at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and he serves on the advisory board of the Journal of Popular Music Studies, and the executive committee of the annual Pop Conference.