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Jul. 27—A group of local kids got to hear music from an unexpected source Wednesday morning — Bruno Mars' trumpet player Jimmy King.
Youth and fathers from the Anniston Fatherhood Initiative, or AFI, gathered Wednesday morning on short notice at the EnVision Center in Anniston at the behest of the Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention to welcome King and hear his inspiring story.
King, 37, of Atlanta, said he has known the drug prevention program's director, Seyram Selase, for 20 years, as the pair made fast friends in their youth. Selase invited the musician to speak with both the fatherhood group and another group at Anniston High School as part of the program's summer summit, he said.
The AFI's program coordinator, Don Thornton, said the organization's partnership with the ASAP goes back a number of years and "just made sense."
Thornton said he felt ASAP brought a positive impact to the kids in the community, which was what the AFI is all about.
"We have a 24/7 dads program where we ask fathers from the community to come through, get together and we teach each other how to become better fathers," Thornton said.
King played a short piece for the group, filling the hall with powerful bright sounds and placing looks of amazement on the several faces. As Bruno Mars' trumpet player for the past 11 years, King was asked by Mars to join his new expansion group, a duo called "Silk Sonic," that includes Mars and entertainer Anderson .Paak. King is also an artist in his own right.
Possibly more impressive than King's skills with the brass is his backstory.
Originally from Stamford, Conn., King was exposed to music by his parents at a young age — but as more of an extracurricular activity rather than a potential profession. It wasn't until college that King nurtured his passion, he said, and realized he was really good at it. He made a choice and changed his major.
Although his parents weren't happy about the decision, King said, "I knew that each year, those opportunities were going to grow. I didn't know how they were going to grow, but I knew they were going to grow."
He said a strong sense of believing in himself and relinquishing any self-doubt was key to that growth.
Living in Atlanta now, King said he drove down to speak to the kids, but that he would be leaving for Las Vegas this weekend for a show with Silk Sonic.
He said he felt it was important to get through to the kids that each of them is the only person who stands in the way of their success.
"I feel like when you do come from different communities, you're only exposed to a certain amount of things," King said. "You don't really see that there's more to life, there's more opportunities out there."