In an industry full of cookie cutter images and factory-produced talent, one is hard pressed to discover an artist with the skill, passion and drive of Kofi Black. As a self trained singer, songwriter and producer, Kofi is the definition of what the industry has been waiting for. Born in the same Park Hill section of Staten Island, famed for the legendary Hip Hop group, Wu Tang Clan, the former rapper turned singer has captured the ear of the region with his soulful voice and penchant for penning nerve-striking lyrics. He writes and sings music that is undeniable. And when you hear him you will agree.
Vocalstar: Who is Kofi Black?
Kofi Black: I’m a singer, rapper, songwriter, producer and engineer who’s worked with the likes of Mariah Carey, Wyclef Jean, Juicy J, Wale, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Mob Deep to name a few.
I sang background for Karen Clark, Joe, Carl Thomas, Anthony Hamilton for spot dates, toured the world, won the Apollo, sang the national anthem at Yankee stadium nd have production credits for movies on Netflix.
Vocalstar: Where are you from? Do you think your upbringing has contributed to your style?
Kofi Black: I’m from Staten Island. My mother, a preacher from Mobile, Alabama raised in Brooklyn and my father a businessman from Ghana, West Africa definitely contributed to my style as an artist/producer.
Vocalstar: Describe the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as an artist?
Kofi Black: The biggest obstacle I had to overcome was knowing who to trust in this industry but now I have the right team around me and progress in a healthy way.
Vocalstar: What’s a typical day like for you artistically?
Kofi Black: I have my laptop on me all the times. I even sleep next to my laptop just In case I have a dope melody or drum pattern idea I need to record. A big time artist may call me and may want me to personally record them or make a beat on the spot. I also have a mobile studio service where I bring the studio to the artist. This is for artist on all levels. I’m always recording and making beats and ever since Kanye said he made “3 Beats a day for 3 summers” I challenged myself to do the same and have been successful.
Vocalstar: What inspires you musically?
Kofi Black: If we’re being honest whoever I’m dealing with at the time lol, my african culture, my church background, my brothers Bernard, Kwasi and Boateng because they are my personal A and R’s. They help me with creative fresh ideas and keep me on my A game.
Vocalstar: When do your ideas come to you?
Kofi Black: Ideas come to me at random moments.
In the middle of the night when I’m sleeping next to my girl an idea will pop in my head and I’ll rush to get up to record an idea. I could be playing Madden with my brothers and have to put the game on pause to record an idea. Other than that ideas come to me while taking a ride o the Staten Island Ferry, a car drive even when I work and I’m in a meeting.
Vocalstar: What is your favorite song you have written / produced and why?
Kofi Black: My favorite song that I’ve written is call “Old school love” because it talks about the current state of love verse the love we heard our grandparents had and the love we read about.
It was a beautiful struggle that exemplified strength, character and true commitment.
My favorite song I produced is called “Sak Kap Fet” for the legendary Wyclef Jean featuring me. The story behind the song is crazy and when the song is performed the energy is even crazier you can go to my instagram @kofiblackmusic to see what I’m talking about. Wyclef is Haitian and I’m African so when number 45 specified Haiti and Africa being “Sh*t hole” It only made sense rebuttal the rude statement with empowerment and inject love and pride into Haiti and Africa in spite of what he said because we are a beautiful people with a beautiful and rich history and represent strength to overcome difficult circumstances throughout history.
Vocalstar: What’s your favorite piece of music and why?
Kofi Black: I’m all over the place when it comes to music.
I’ll start off with Afrobeat, heavy metal to Indian folk music.
Vocalstar: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Kofi Black: Chicago- I don’t think we’ll ever hear a voice like Peter Catera ever again. His voice was like no other. The only way to describe his voice is wow!
James Brown- His showmanship smh People will argue Michael Jackson but MJ will tell you himself the goat is James Brown. The conviction in James Browns voice when he sang “ Mans World” I believed him.
Curtis Mayfield-his arrangements as a composer was crazy.
Dr. Dre- All of his production sound like a movie.
Timbaland- He was not scared to be different. He can have a dragon roaring, a ukulele with a Muslim prayers on a song and make it sound dope.
R. Kelly- I personally think he’s the only artist that can time travel, go into any era in kill it. The guy is a genius. There’s nothing can’t sing or produce.
Drake- The dude is one of the most consistent artist today. He has his own sound and most importantly he’s just being himself and when you do that people connect.
Donny Hathaway and Luther Vandross-
The tone of their voices and pure skills as singers are timeless and cannot be replicated.
Migos- Say what you want then but their flow is infectious and it’s not up for debate that they’ve changed the sound of rap today. People from all backgrounds that speak many languages now use their flow. It’s fun. It’s creative and catchy.
Wu Tang- Represents the gritty side of me where I lace up my Timbs and pic up my pen and write something dirty and lyrical.
Pharrell- His style is smooth, calm and collective. There’s not one song of his that you can’t sing along to. He has a sound that is immediately recognizable whether he wrote it or produced.
Kendrick Lamar- The most intellectual, swagged out, conscious rapper and he has bars. He makes you think deep. He’s a rapper that makes rappers bring their A game.
Kanye- His confidence unmatched
J Cole- He has bars for days and his music his music speaks to your soul.
Bunji Garlin – He has influenced me as a performer. His showmanship and freestyle is impeccable.
Wyclef- He has influenced me as an overall producer, artist and performer.
Jay Z- C’mon do I even have to go into this? Lol
Vocalstar: Which artist would you love to collaborate with and why?
Kofi Black: Pharrell, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Jay Z, Dj Snake, Migos, Future, Kanye, Sam Hunt, Blake Sheldon, Michael Buble, Chris Stapleton, Childish Gambino, Calvin Harris, Drake
Vocalstar: Where can we expect to see you in 5 years? What are your dreams/ aspirations?
Kofi Black: A big house for me, my wife and kids, house for my mother, I should have a few Grammys by then, Platinum plaques, I’ll be the go to producer for the big artist and create stars at well, Compose scores for record breaking movies.
Vocalstar: What’s your idea of success as an artist?
Kofi Black: Success is to always be relevant, have consistent work, have artist call on you to produce for them and a fan base that always wants more from you.
Vocalstar: When will you feel like you’ve made it?
Kofi Black: When I walk up on stage with my mom and hand over my Grammy to my mother and thank her for encouraging me to go for my dreams.
Follow Kofi Black on IG @kofiblackmusic
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