WESTERLY — Fourteen years after his first appearance on “The Tonight Show,” Westerly crooner Nicolas King is gearing up for his second visit with late night host Jay Leno.
“It’s exciting,” King said Wednesday, taking a break from packing his bags for LA. “Very exciting.”
King is slated to appear Friday night, following a video montage of the children who have appeared on “The Tonight Show” during Leno’s tenure as host.
“I understand that it’s a six-minute piece on all the kids and it will end with mine,” said King. “Whether it will be for 30 seconds or five minutes I’m not sure. I just know that I will be there.”
Angela Bacari, his manager and grandmother, said, “It’s a recap of all the kids who have performed throughout Leno’s reign.”
She plans to accompany King on his trip to Los Angeles. “I think Nicolas was an all-time favorite.”
King was 8 years old at the time. Since then the 22-year-old singer’s career has flourished.
He has been nominated for “Best Cabaret Singer” in New York, drawing comparisons to Mel Tormé, Bobby Darin and Mark Murphy. He has developed close relationships with Liza Minelli, Carol Burnett and Connie Francis, has performed at cabarets like Don’t Tell Mama, The Iridium, and The Metropolitan Room in New York, and at the Royal Room in the Colony Hotel at Palm Beach, where he opened for Minelli. He also opened for Minelli during her 2006 national concert tour. He considers her a mentor.
“Liza’s been very good to me. She directed my first nightclub act when I was 11,” said King. He also credits the longtime Broadway producer Harold Prince and playwright Neil Simon as influences in his career.
“Hal Prince has been a terrific director and help to me,” he said. Simon, he added, “taught me a lot of things.”
“I’ve been so thrilled to have Carol Burnett as a mega supporter,” said King, who called her as soon as he found out he’d be heading to LA, so he could spend time with her while he’s in Hollywood.
King, who’s been acting since he was 4, played the role of Chip in a Broadway production of “Beauty and the Beast,” and played opposite Tom Selleck on Broadway in “A Thousand Clowns.” He was also featured in a television commercial for Oscar Mayer Lunchables.
“I think that commercial is still playing in Japan,” chuckled King, who also appeared on the Jerry Lewis telethon, “The View” with Barbara Walters, “The Today Show,” and with the talk show host Sally Jessy Raphael. He also voiced the role of Oscar on Discovery Kids’ “Kenny the Shark” for three seasons.
At 19, King recorded his debut album, appropriately called “Nineteen.”
His latest record, recorded with pianist-arranger Mike Renzi, features his rendition of “I’m so Glad We Had This Time Together,” and “My Shining Hour.”
“And it’s available on iTunes,” said King, the son of Erik and Christina King of Westerly. King and Renzi will be playing at Warwick’s Ocean State Theater in March. He also has a new website, www.thenicolasking.com.
Bacari said that King has gone from cabaret style singer to “more of a jazz-swing performer over the years.”
“It’s taken a long time,” she said. “But this is what he likes.”
King’s shows last month were so well-received that one was sold out.
“I love using those words,” he laughed. “Sold out.”
Talking about the Leno trip, Bacari said, “This is never not over the top exciting. I don’t know if I’ll be in the audience or in the green room.”
But it matters not, she laughed, adding that she’ll be happy anywhere in either location.
Bacari did find herself wondering if Leno would ask her grandson to “sing a reprise of the song he sang 14 years ago: ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business.’”
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