Rapper on the Rise

In February of 2012 Saint Lucian Hip Hop artiste Kayo signed with record label EMI while still a student in Halifax, Canada.  Before that, Kayo had already made a name for himself on the Saint Lucian entertainment scene and later in Canada where he is now based.  One year on, several recordings and a soon to be released first single, followed by an album, Kayo says while he is still being embraced by his fans and supporters in Saint Lucia, which he appreciates, it is unfortunate that there has been no reaching out to him by the authorities or any agencies here in Saint Lucia.
Kayo spoke to the STAR this week from Canada and openly stated that he is still happy to be a Saint Lucian and whilst he loves music and Hip Hop he is first and foremost a proud son of Fair Helen.
“It is true that I am based here in Canada for the obvious reasons my schooling, my music, my heart has never been far from Saint Lucia,” he says. “It is for this reason I would love to do something at home probably around the Saint Lucia Jazz festival,” he informed the STAR.
In September of last year, Kayo says he had his manager contact the Saint Lucia Tourist Board, to see if there was a possibility of the young performer getting in on the festival. “We were informed at the time that the event was in the early planning stages and the selection of artistes had not been discussed and that they would get back to us. After a month or so we heard nothing more and I have personally tried to reach out to them and have received no feedback not even a response,” Kayo revealed to the STAR. “It is not really about getting in on the festival or simply about getting paid to perform, but I would have liked to be part of this great event and share my music on a Saint Lucian stage with an international audience,” he says.
It was in 2006 that Kayo wowed the Jazz Festival audience here when he performed as part of the set with the group Sisterhood. Thereafter the young upstart who had been honing his skills since a student at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College migrated to Canada to study business management. But what used to be his free-styling expressions at Sir Arthur, which later turned into poetry, rhymes and later Hip Hop songs would not be muzzled. Kayo continued to do in Canada, in the halls at school, what his Saint Lucian friends and fans had been exposed to particularly at school, his neigbourhood and Snapper International Barber Shop in Castries.
In 2004, Kayo recorded his first set of music, in 2006 performed the song ‘Dear Music’, his first official single at Saint Lucia Jazz and in 2012 after releasing a mix tape and several singles  including “1 Night,” caught the attention of EMI who immediately signed him up. “It has been a long road and although I am not quite there yet, I know it will pay off some-day,” Kayo told the STAR.
When asked about the process since signing up with EMI he says it is gruelling, sometimes frustrating but he is staying focussed. “Although it can get frustrating sometimes, I understand that it is business and they (the record label) have a vision and want to get it right. For example since signing to the label I have been recording non-stop and to date I have done like fifty songs.
After that “they” have to sift through the songs before we can come up with just twelve songs for the album,” he disclosed. “I am new to all of this so I did not know what to expect but I am learning and working hard at this so that in the end the label will be happy, I will be satisfied that the album will be a great representation of my creativity and the fans too will be happy,” Kayo added.
Apart from signing with EMI, Kayo says 2012 was very rewarding. “Among the highlights for me was opening up for rapper Snoop Dogg in Canada, during his tour there, the mix-tape Escape movement, the Juno and MVA awards and just travelling to LA for events, meetings and studio session,” he says.
Of course graduating in the midst of a hectic career schedule was no easy feat.  In October of 2012 Kayo graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has since taken up the position of Regional Marketing Rep for the “Escape Movement” clothing company in Canada.
For 2013 Kayo says the focus is on getting the first single out, followed by the debut EMI album and touring.             “We are still finalizing what the first single should be. I met with the A&R this week because we are due to release by March. Once we agree on the first single I then have to fly to LA to meet with the producer and finalize the project,” he revealed. “I think it will be a busy year but I would still love to come and give something back to Saint Lucia if not for Jazz maybe do a school tour, not just performing but just reaching out to inspire and motivating the young ones,” he says.
“I have gotten lots of public support in Saint Lucia and I want to reach out to all my fans well-wishers and just say thank you and keep rooting for me. The love they give, I humbly give back doubly,” Kayo ended by saying.

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