Kokayi | artist, producer, educator
As one of the most versatile innovators of his generation of interdisciplinary artists, Kokayi forges new ground yearning to create all things new and different. The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, emcee producer and educator continues to make music that is often described as outside the box.
It has been a busy 2015 for Kokayi, he provided the score for MTV's Rebel Music series (4M+ views), Joan Baez: Rebel Icon (200K+ views) and releasing 2 new singles. History from the 5149 Project (186k listens) and his latest work Part of It, whose subsequent video debuted on MTV IGGY.
Throughout his career he has garnered rave reviews and new fans, with over a decade in music industry experience and a catalog that reflects his prolific nature and ability to cross genres as both a vocalist and producer, Kokayi maintains the mantra, “5. 500. 5,000 or 50,000. I give the same show, with the same intensity." Adhering to this ethos has afforded him the opportunity to collaborate and share stages with: MacArthur Fellows; Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer and Dafnis Prieto, as well as, Wale, Little Dragon, Meshelle Ndgeocello, Janelle Monae, Pharoahe Monch, Ravi Coltrane, Jean Grae, Black Milk, and The Roots.
With his exploration of soundscapes his work has ranged from the interpretation of social subtexts surroundingrace, religion and patriotism and their affects on the human psyche (Pro Deo et Patria) , voted as one of the best records of 2012 by the Washington City Paper, Bold As Love.us and RoxFontaine.com, Pro Deo et Patria's lead single Birdus Ghetti was featured on MTV's Hive.com. His reflections on ageism and the changed landscape of the music industry were made present in Robots and Dinosaurs whose songs found their way into Kevin Hart's "Laugh at my Pain".
Kokayi has won the Sister Cities Grant to work in Senegal, has served as Artist in Residence in Nijmegen, Netherlands, collaborates with both Nomadic Wax and 1beat Music fellowship to mentor artists, continues to work as music emissary with the US State Department, serves as DC Grammy Chapter Vice-President and as adjunct faculty with the School of Improvisational Music at NY all while functioning as the Co-Creator and Chief Curator of BeatsandBeans: a study in creative spaces and their affects on creativity and ideation.