Kyleen King

Violist/Violinist, Arranger

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40 Reviews
Kyleen King on SoundBetter

Top acts such as Brandi Carlile, My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists and Father John Misty have hired her for session strings/backing vocals, arranging and live performance. In addition to these abilities, she is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and lead vocalist.

Having been a student of music since the age of 3, Kyleen has over 30 years experience as a classically trained violinist and violist. Armed with a formal education in music (Springfield, MO) and audio engineering (Nashville, TN), she has followed a passionate path towards multi-instrumentalism (guitar, electric bass, keys, percussion, and vocals). She currently tours as the violinist/backing vocalist for Brandi Carlile and is the first-call violist/violinist/arranger for Portland's top recording studios.

Due to an increase in demand, Kyleen has begun to build a home studio in order to record remotely for clients in and out of Portland. She is most interested in serving the needs of the song - whether it be a solitary viola/violin, a bed of strings, ambient noise or fiddle, she is happy to work with you to find the sound you're after. String arranging is very much her forte (pun intended), having written full string arrangements for acts such as Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Chris Funk (of The Decemberists) and The Ben Miller Band. Please reach out if you'd like to take your song(s) to the next level - as anyone who has worked with string players can testify, there is no substitute for the real thing!

Send me a note through the contact button above.

Credits

AllMusic verified credits for Kyleen King
  • Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters
  • Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters
  • Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters
  • Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters
  • Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters
  • The Ben Miller Band
  • Ben Miller
  • The Ben Miller Band
  • Ben Miller
  • The Ben Miller Band
  • Ben Miller
  • The Ben Miller Band
  • Ben Miller
  • Kyle Craft
  • Laura Gibson
  • Laura Gibson
  • First Aid Kit
  • Stephen Malkmus
  • Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
  • Erika Wennerstrom
  • Erika Wennerstrom
  • Grandaddy
  • The Domestics
  • Laura Veirs
  • Neko Case
  • k.d. lang
  • case/lang/veirs
  • Karl Blau
  • Karl Blau
  • Band of Horses
  • The Decemberists
  • My Morning Jacket
  • My Morning Jacket
  • The Decemberists
  • The Decemberists
  • Sallie Ford
  • Sallie Ford
  • Blue Cranes
  • Blue Cranes
  • Blue Cranes
  • Blue Cranes
  • Dirty Mittens
  • Dirty Mittens
  • Blue Cranes
  • Blue Cranes
  • East Forest
  • Alameda
  • Alameda
  • East Forest
  • East Forest
  • East Forest
  • East Forest
  • East Forest
  • East Forest
  • East Forest
  • The Delines
  • Small Souls
  • Small Souls

40 Reviews

Endorse Kyleen King
  1. Review by Adam Lee
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    Kyleen has a brilliant mind for song arrangement. When you pair that with her first chair chops you can't go wrong when working with her. She takes the guess work out of "I know I want strings on this song but not sure exactly where to start". I highly recommend contacting her, to put it simply she takes songs to the next level.

  2. Review by Tucker Martine
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    Kyleen is my first call for strings here in Portland. She could not be more delightful to work with. She excels at pulling out the part you are after whether its pre written or just a vague something you might hum to her. She reads well and works efficiently. We always laugh a lot, and get a lot done.

  3. Review by Jon Frew
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    Some kind of magic connected me with Kyleen last year. I had a fantasy to get some of the songs I had written for my kids recorded but had no idea how to make that happen. Kyleen made it happen. She spent countless hours hanging out with me as I played some of my songs. She helped me pick the best ones then moved into producing demos, rearranging the chords and lyrics just mildly then arranged studio time and recruited an amazing group of players and singers including herself.
    My legacy project happened because of Kyleen. She is an amazing musician and a more amazing person.

  4. Review by Emma Hill
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    Kyleen is such a treat to work with. She shows up to the studio prepared and ready to work but is also a ton of fun. She cares about the music she makes. I hope she will continue to play on my albums for years to come.

  5. Review by Jim Brunberg
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    Kyleen King is talented beyond any expectations a producer / composer / engineer can reasonably have. Every time I’ve worked with her she has brightened the work with her approach to the session, to notes, to pitch, parts, tone and to arrangement. She’s a pinnacle of professional and passionate musicmaking.

  6. Review by Jeff Langston
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    I have been fortunate enough to work with Kyleen a few times. Aside from being an extremely talented, interesting, and funny person, what really resonates about her with me is her humble approach to serving whatever music she is involved in making. She instinctively gives to the music what is needed, in a selfless and generous manor. Anyone would be lucky to have her participation in their project.

  7. Review by Jesse B Ebaugh
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    Working with Kyleen King was quick and easy. With some limited direction King and her group were able to score and perform strings for my project remotely. They were savvy technically (both on their instruments and in the studio process), which helped the project keep to it's schedule. I'll be using her and her group again for sure.

  8. Review by Jesse B Ebaugh
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    Working with Kyleen King was quick and easy. With some limited direction King and her group were able to score and perform strings for my project remotely. They were savvy technically (both on their instruments and in the studio process), which made the project's process stick to it's schedule. I'll be using her and her group again for sure.

  9. Review by Kyle Lowe
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    I met Kyleen while I was on tour with Little Owl in 2012. She was playing with Swansea and she, Rebecca, and Ji were awesome. It's been great to stay in touch through social media and see all the great work she's been doing.

  10. Review by Rebecca Sanborn
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    Ji Tanzer and I “discovered” Kyleen King ten years ago and our lives have been transformed ever since that lucky moment. We formed our trio, Swansea, together and have spent a decade in the studio, on the road, in the craziest and most glorious of venues. Her patience and commitment to growth make her a rare musician and friend. And as far as a down-to-earth, pitch-perfect, insightful string player, composer and arranger? You won’t find any better. Our albums and our lives sparkle because of Kyleen.

  11. Review by Maria Francis
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    Kyleen has played violin on our last two albums. She is highly professional, fun and easy to work with, and her playing is pure magic! She is fast and efficient in the studio and she really brought something special to our project. I recommend her highly!

  12. Review by Amanda Breese
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    Kyleen is the magic you need. I've had the pleasure of working with her in the studio and live and I can say both experiences were some of the best of my career. I can promise you she will blow you away.

  13. Review by Scott Gallegos
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    I've had the distinct honor of working with Kyleen both in the studio and on stage. I can honestly say I've never experienced a more professional or intuitive musician. She helped me tell my stories and share my journey in a language I didn't speak. She is kind and conscientious and serves at the pleasure of the muse.

  14. Review by KC
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    What a fantastic experience recording with Kyleen. Her talent made the tracks thousands of times better. Real magic.

  15. Review by Raymond
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    I have worked with Kyleen on several projects and am constantly impressed at how much life and passion she brings to her music. She has helped me actualize string arrangements I’ve written, and she has an amazing command of harmony, counterpoint, and composition, both traditional and experimental. I feel very safe knowing Kyleen is in a ensemble, she never settles for less than perfect.

  16. Review by Collin Oldham
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    I have played on sessions and in concert with Kyleen, with the Decemberists, Portland Cello Project and others, and have played her arraignments. She’s an ace, get her on your session! She can sing, too and play other instruments that she’s not telling you about.

  17. Review by Collin Oldham
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    I have played on sessions and in concert with Kyleen, with the Decemberists, Portland Cello Project and others, and have played her arraignments. She’s an ace, get her on your session! She can sing, too and play other instruments that she’s not telling you about.

  18. Review by Kristin Holovnia
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    I have had the honor of performing on stage with Kyleen many times. She's not only a total pro, but she's an easy person to work with. Kyleen is an amazing performer with a keen ear and stellar chops. It's a joy to share the stage with her!

  19. Review by Jeffrey
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    Incredible arranger, player, impeccable intonation, and consummate professional, why are you still reading this click contact and book Kyleen!

  20. Review by Matt Greco
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    Kyleen is a true professional and has always been great to work with. I have hired Kyleen to play on many records and her ability to quickly come up with parts, arrange, and record beautifully and efficiently has always impressed me. I would highly recommend Kyleen for any project you are working on!

  21. Review by Wesley Jensen
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    Kyleen is a true professional. She is outstanding in her abilities and a joy to be around.

  22. Review by John Morgan Askew
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    I love working with Kyleen. In addition to Kyleen being kind, professional, efficient, flexible, and extremely willing to be creative and weird and bend all the rules when recording, Kyleen's tone, pitch and musicality are always so spot on that Kyleen is and has always been my very first choice for viola and violin in either a group setting or solo.I always feel lucky whenever I get to work with her on any project.

  23. Review by Erika Wennerstrom
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    Kyleen is fantastic. I toured with her with my band Heartless Bastards, and I like to call her a wizard. She played the keys, guitar, moog, and sang amazing perfect pitch backup vocals. She also recorded strings on a couple tracks on my recent solo album. In addition to her amazing musical talents she was just a really cool and positive person to be around.

  24. Review by Jessie Dettwiler
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    I highly recommend working with Kyleen. As a fellow string player, I have been performing and recording with her for many years. She is excellent at her craft and is always developing her skills. Her calm and warm demeanor make her a dream to work with, and her communication skills are excellent.

  25. Review by Michael Page Sheridan
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    Kyleen is a pro in every way. A solid, confident performer on any instrument and an absolute pleasure to be around. Her abilities with string arrangement, producing and engineering are equally as strong and make her your greatest ally on either side of the glass.

  26. Review by Chris Slusarenko
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    Kyleen is absolutely the best! For our latest record we brought Kyleen in to score some strings and perform them on 3 songs. She was great at listening to our ideas and instantly understood what we wanted. What she played was incredibly exciting and still gives me goosebumps. She easily switched gear from track to track (one of them was very abstract with unusual tempo changes) and it was if she had been there writing the songs along with us from the beginning. We even had her sing after she was done with the string sections and again it elevated the track. Can't speak highly enough.

  27. Review by Steven Drizos
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    I have had the pleasure of working with Kyleen on countless projects, utilizing her talents as an arranger and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist and engineering for her as she confidently wore the producer hat. She is the epitome of professionalism and talent. Her vocal stylings and string performances are not only spot on for the project at hand, but she brings that undefinable element that can stir your soul, no matter what the genre.

  28. Review by jason lytle
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    I had a very easy and enjoyable time working with Kyleen for some string arrangements and recording for both Grandaddy and Band of Horses songs. She wonderfully bridged the gap between my inability to notate music but my fairly good idea of how things might sound. I was happy to leave plenty of room for her (and the other players) to improvise accordingly and was very happy with what I ended up with. Looking forward to working with her again

  29. Review by Brud Giles
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    I have worked with her as a violist, a singer and an arranger and you simply will not find a better choice for your music than Kyleen King. She's the secret weapon everyone is looking for.

    The sessions are easy, productive and creative. Her ideas and performance will shine in your music and you will find yourself reaching out to her again and again for something new each and every time.

  30. Review by Ben Miller (Ben Miller band)
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    Seriously, she's awesome. She was a joy to work with and her orchestration was perfect. I can't say enough good stuff about her. Anyone who asks who they should use I tell them to check out Kyleen.

  31. Review by Dustin Johnsen (dKOTA)
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    Kyleen beautifully transcribed strings parts for my album that I had sketched in rough demos, transforming them from rather listless MIDI compositions into emotionally engaging, sweeping scores. Moreover, her writing skills are on par with the best; in fact, what she did with one particular song, "Shapeshifter," channeled the brilliance of Jonny Greenwood or even George Martin. Big names to use -- I know. But that's who comes to mind: creative, ambitious, risk-taking, yet always grounded in the song. Any opportunity to work with Kyleen is an opportunity worth taking.

  32. Review by Jenny Conlee
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    I recently worked with Kyleen King on a project in which she was the producer. She came to the session organized with great ideas. The flow of the recording was easy and relaxed. I have also hired her multiple times as a string player. She is an amazing violinist and violist. She is able to arrange parts on the fly as well as read charts. I hope to work with her again in the future!

  33. Review by Molly Douglas
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    I was fortunate enough to get to work with Kyleen on my last album, and I hope to work with her again on future projects. She is kind, professional, fun and easy to work with, and an absolute star at her craft. Kyleen put together a viola/violin/cello arrangement for one of my songs and it was brilliant. She totally nailed the feel of the song, and executed the arrangement perfectly. It just what the song needed to take it to the next level! Beyond arranging, she also played viola on various tracks, which turned out beautifully. I cannot recommend Kyleen enough!

  34. Review by Ashleigh Flynn
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    I have had the opportunity to work with Kyleen multiple times. For our live performance work, she learned an incredible amount of material and came prepared to perform for 2 hours in sub-optimal conditions (outside under a tent in the cold lashing rain). Her fiddle work and harmonies were exceptional, as was her professional and fun attitude! I also hired Kyleen to write and perform a scored string part for a song on my most recent record. The score was beautiful and melodically right on; and her ability to track the piece in the studio with amazing tone and in a very short time.

  35. Review by Bryan Daste
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    As a producer, I have hired Kyleen many times for sessions on viola and violin over the past few years. She is a true pro who always delivers great performances! Whether the parts are already written or not, she can make your record sound like you hear it in your head. And she's great at arranging. She's the first name I think of when my clients ask about strings. Highly recommend!

  36. Review by Krishna-Trevor Oswalt
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    Kyleen is a total pro who always takes my recordings to a deeper level - easy to work with, multi instrumentalist, and great too for creating parts on the spot. Highly recommend.

  37. Review by Patterson Hood
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    Kyleen King is The Shit! Fantastic. I first hired her to play on a song I did for a fundraiser single for Southern Poverty Law Center. The song was called "Airplane Screams" and she came in and in about 45 minutes built an entire string section for the song that to me was the highlight of the track. More recently, we hired her to create a string arrangement and play on 2 songs for the next Drive-By Truckers album. I wasn't able to attend the session, but absolutely loved what she did. It elevated our songs to the next level. I've also played with her a couple of times live. Excellent!

  38. Review by Jesse Keyes
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    Kyleen King is a high-caliber artist with talents that are rare, sundry, polished and versatile. She has a style all her own and a unique sensibility when it comes to writing original material AND arranging for other songs. She's really in a class by herself. If I had to handpick one singer/multi-instrumentalist to work with live or in the studio, she'd be the one. Always professional, organized, timely, elegant...her work speaks for itself. And an even better person!

  39. Review by Steve Hefter
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    Kyleen is among the most talented, creative, and kind people I've ever known, let alone worked with. She's confident, efficient and supportive in the studio/ recording environment; she's willing to defer but able to take charge and arrange, as needed. She's highly sensitive and attentive to-- and uniquely in-tune with-- the unique processes of the widely disparate artists she collaborates with. These skills, talents, and traits make her an invaluable asset to any project.

  40. Review by Gavin Castleton
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    Working with Kyleen is always quick and easy. She has a great collaborative attitude, a clear sense of when a performance has hit the mark or should be redone, and a diverse musical background that informs her tasteful creative instincts. She's played Violin, Viola, and Electric Bass for me on multiple records and live performances. I always reach out to her first when I need a painless session or show (which is basically always).

Interview with Kyleen King

  1. Q: How would you describe your style?

  2. A: My arranging style has been compared to Robert Kirby's (Nick Drake's string arranger). I'd say my playing style is dependent on what the song calls for - it is crucial to me that the strings suit the song, be they dramatic and cinematic, glassy and cold, upbeat fiddle-style or ambient noise...I am capable of adapting to what the song calls for.

  3. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  4. A: Most often, I work on rock and folk records, commonly with singer-songwriters. I am also experienced and comfortable working in the genres of country, bluegrass, jazz and experimental.

  5. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  6. A: I'd say there are 2 skills that consistently get me hired. 1, I play with good tone and intonation on the viola and violin. 2, I can quickly and reliably execute the ideas I have for string parts/production.

  7. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  8. A: Unlike most classically-trained string players, I have both a multi-instrumentalist and audio engineering background - this means I know my way around in a recording studio environment, as well as being more open-minded to the approach of adding strings to a song due to my experiences in multiple genres (rock, jazz, folk, experimental, etc) and with multiple instruments (guitar, electric bass, piano, percussion).

  9. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  10. A: A few of my favorite producers are Nigel Godrich, Dave Fridmann, Dave Cobb and Blake Mills. I am inspired by artists like Jon Brion, Radiohead, Air, Bjork, Beck and Jason Isbell.

  11. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  12. A: My specialty is arranging string parts 'on the fly' (in the studio session, either alone or in collaboration with the artist/producer/engineer), so I am often hired to do just that. I also arrange full string parts ahead of a session, as well as read parts written by the artist or arranger.

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Gavin Castleton, ‘Expensive Love’

I was the String Section in this production

Terms Of Service

Turn-around time for full live string stems is 2-3 days, for string arrangements up to 7 days. 1 revision/song included in the price (1 additional revision is allowed with additional costs incurred).

GenresSounds Like
  • The Decemberists
  • Nick Drake
  • Brandi Carlile
Gear Highlights
  • UAD Apollo Twin MKII Duo interface
  • 2 Josephson C42 cardioid condenser FET matched pair mics
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