KOF is not only a singer full of soul but a writer, producer and director of his own videos, amongst other talents. After releasing the ‘An Alternative Soul’ EP, the artist from Liverpool has now given his fans some free tracks in the format of three downloads – ‘SOUL: Love, Life and Live’. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner caught up with the lovely KOF in London to talk about how personal his music is, his upcoming tour and the forthcoming debut album…
The Wrap Up: It’s been a couple of years since you last spoke to us. Tell us briefly what has happened in those few years…
KOF: I’ve totally changed my music style. I’ve worked with a bunch of different artists from Wiley to Terri Walker to Manu Bibango. People seem to be respecting me as a songwriter, producer and as an artist a lot more.
TWU: Your lyrics always possess realism which many people can relate to. Is it hard to let people into your life and do you ever feel like your privacy has been invaded?
KOF: I don’t talk that much about the stuff I go through, so music is my platform for me to do that. If I’m going through something and someone else is going through the same kind of thing and they hear someone singing about how they deal with that situation, it’s going to be beneficial to that person. On ‘Soul: Life’ there is a track called ‘My Child’ where I talk about the situation of an unplanned pregnancy and how that can affect someone from a male’s perspective. That’s one of the deepest songs I’ve written. I haven’t even told the person who it’s about that I’ve written the song.
TWU: We know music isn’t your only talent. For those who don’t know, tell us more about the versatile KOF and what other talents you have.
KOF: I’m into art; modern art. I love to edit videos, all my own stuff; I find it hard letting other people do it. I’ve written one script called ‘Dark Star Rising’ which was an amalgamation of a bunch of my songs; we put them into one story for a youth theatre group based in Liverpool.
TWU: The last time I saw you perform live, you had the audience in a trance. Do you get nervous with so many faces all looking at you and how important are live shows for you?
KOF: I always get nervous before a show. If I do get nervous before a show, I will always have a good show. When I don’t have nerves and I’m on a kind of cocky vibe I usually f**k up or I don’t have a good show. Live shows are very important, especially with the new music I’m making where I’m talking about the different things that have happened in my life - I’m able to connect so much better with the audience.
TWU: Speaking of live shows, you have your ‘An Alternative Soul’ Tour approaching. What can we expect from the show?
KOF: There are a couple of surprises; Terri Walker will be performing on the Birmingham date and she is going to pop up at a few different shows. I’m trying to bring out a few different people from each city I go to. You’re definitely going to get a few previews from the album; there is a track called ‘Never Sober’, which will be the first time I’ve played the guitar on a track.
TWU: You’re in the process of releasing a series of free EP’s ‘Soul: Love, Life and Live’. What was the motive behind this?
KOF: Just to connect with the audience and for those who supported ‘An Alternative Soul’, it was to give them a snapshot of where I am since then. I recorded most of the records earlier on this year, so musically now I’m in a different, improved space. We wanted to put some kind of structure behind it, which is why we split it into ‘Love, Life and Live’. ‘Love’ isn’t the soppy kind of love - it’s a different aspect of love, ‘Life’ is a bit introspective and ‘Live’ is the studio and acoustic stuff.
TWU: What can expect from the upcoming album?
KOF: I’ve written some stuff for Benny Banks and I’ve worked with Ratlin and Nutty P. ‘Dirty Love’ with Sam Frank is one that stands out more than anything, so I’m still trying to look at creating records that can complement it because I really love that song. In terms of song writing, expect that same realism, positive and socially in-depth. The first single should be coming out before the tour, but I don’t think I’m ready [to release the album] so I’m going to push it back and it will be out early next year.
TWU: You have some international releases as well; tell us a little more about them.
KOF: A couple of years ago there was a label in France called Border Blaster, they heard one of my tracks called ‘All Good’ and they wanted to sign it, but it never happened. After they heard ‘Be Like You’ and ‘Child Of The Ghetto’, they called me over and wanted to distribute the album through Europe over over different territories. We went over to Cannes earlier on this year, did a couple of live showcases and sealed the deal. Now we will be releasing a deluxe version of ‘An Alternative Soul’ on November 19, so were having a launch in Paris for that and the following week in Amsterdam.
TWU: Nice! Finally, where do you see your career in the future?
KOF: More collaborations and more experiences that I can turn into music again. That’s all I can ever see myself doing, anything that’s in touch or attached to music. I really do want to write a lot more songs for other artists. I feel if I give myself time, I can get into the headspace of another artist, whoever that may be and actually create a good song for them that means something to them and their audience. I just want to make everything I’m doing better; the production and videos - I just want to push myself.
Words: Shireen Fenner (@Shireenxoxo)
Edit: Maz Khan (@Mazhalima)