Music Industry Quarterly found songwriter, producer, instrumentalist Henry Allen in total relaxation mode while returning home to Corrales, New Mexico, a suburb of Albuquerque, where he was born and raised. Allen moved to Orange County, California to attend Chapman University’s Music Conservatory where he studied classical guitar and earned his Bachelor of Music in Performance. “It was fun but it was also hard,” says Allen of his collegiate experience.
The last three years have been vital to the growth of his career—essentially working as an apprentice under super producer Diplo. “What started as organizing files or however I could assist in the studio transitioned into collaborative music making situations,” says Allen. Before long, he would experience his first taste of success as a co-writer on “All Night” from Beyoncé’s latest project, Lemonade. “That was my first significant placement,” Allen says, “and really what made 2016 such a breakthrough year for me.”
Next up would be the worldwide smash single, “Cold Water,” performed by electronic music band Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber & MO. The song debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 and reached number one in over a dozen countries around the world.
“Initially, ‘Cold Water’ was a song that we got as an acoustic version that Benny Blanco and Ed Sheeran did,” recalls Allen. “Then Junior Blender, Diplo and I worked on three different versions of it to make it a Major Lazer song. Bieber got on it. We wrote the bridge parts with MO then handed it off to the team to make it the song it is now.”
“Cold Water” has opened up more opportunities for Allen (signed to Songs Publishing). “I’ve been balancing the different situations that are coming my way,” he says. “Working with Diplo is the priority but I’ve also been writing and producing for other artists. I have a series of EPs coming under my [moniker] King Henry on the [EDM] Black Butter label out of the U.K. (distributed through Sony UK). The project will have different vocalists on it. The first EP comes in November. I’m also launching my own imprint, Duke City, in the U.S./North America. The plan is to use Duke City as an incubator label for other artists I’m working with.” (D. Mitchell)