Country singer-songwriter John King’s experience of keeping his lyrics centered around real life events has proven tried-and-true for establishing a loyal fanbase.
Chasing “topics that are true and real,” the Georgia native made the decision to strip down and put a country spin on rapper Logic’s hit “1-800-273-8255” — a song named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number, which intends to deliver a message of hope — so it would never “go unheard for any genre.”
“In real life, real songs aren’t always easy to talk about and this is definitely one of those really difficult topics that people don’t talk about, but it happens,” he tells PEOPLE about why he decided to step outside the box and cover an R&B song. “I think it’s so cool that Logic was brave enough to sing about a subject like suicide.”
“I think we all know someone around us that’s been affected either with thoughts or has had something like that happen, and it’s just one of the saddest things in this world,” he continues. “I fell in love with the message and the bravery and the artistry to say that freely.”
In January, Logic performed the song alongside Alessia Cara and Khalid during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, as a tribute to Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who both died by suicide in 2017.
And while King, 29, thanks his lucky stars that suicide has not affected anyone close to him, personally, writing and singing songs about honest topics is “a cool way to step into someone else’s shoes for a moment.”
“It’s very therapeutic,” he says about the process. “Every once and a while you need those tough songs to get you through tough times.”
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King, who “grew up listening to rock and R&B and gospel and everything,” enjoys incorporating other genres into his music, but has been working hard writing and recording new music for a forthcoming project.
“We just put out our last single ‘I Still Pick Up’ back in the end of 2017 and it’s doing really well,” he says about the song, which is about to break one million streams. “It’s the first song of a whole new collection of songs that we’ve been working on.”
Watch King’s rendition of Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” above.