I first walk in and I’m greeted by Jahkoy’s manager Tyler. He’s a super cool dude, notices my height but is quick to complain about the internet services being rubbish in the hotel, which automatically breaks the ice later follows Jahkoy. And I’m surprised by how tall he was; he was much taller than expected.
ME: Singing, songwriting, producing, you’re a complete triple threat but I wanted to know…Which one did you get into first and what do you like doing more?
JAHKOY: I got into songwriting at a really young age. I started with poetry. At first in school my teacher would make us write poems and this one particular day she pulled me to the side and said Jahkoy you make really nice poems I think this is something you should get engaged in. I only did it because my teacher asked me to, I didn’t take it serious but then I found it to be a way to express myself and got attached to it unintentionally. It transferred from poems to spoken word and then I put those words over instrumental, the first beat I rapped on was a Lil’ Kim’s record ‘Crush on you’ with Biggie Smalls. Thats when I got introduced to music. From then I was reading a lot of Shakespeare plays like: Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Othello I fell in love with the way he wrote his stories the template he used it was like he was telling a story, the scenarios he used in his books are still scenarios that apply today in every day life. Situations like that are why I’m so motivated to make music, I want to make timeless music like wedding material.
Me: Being out here and opening up for Kehlani how’s that experience been for you?
JAHKOY: Amazing, Kehlani is so down to earth, she’s so real and she’s so out-going it almost throws me off a little bit you know because, she’s so personable and it is great to be in her presence because she’s doing her thing 100% she’s not worried about what anybody has to say or how anybody feels about her, she’s just doing her and its like whether you like it or not your going to fuck with it. Because she’s just herself she’s a great performer nonetheless amazing vocalist and its like her energy is so well received and it’s great to be in that company. Being on this tour right now like we just started not to long ago and were like eight shows in and now were going to be doing this thing right up till the end of June its wild.
ME: Out of the festivals you’ve done so far which was your favourite one?
JAHKOY: Ahh man there’s been so many festivals, the past summer was the first time I got to feel the festival experience, and so when I went out I went to Lalapoloza, Wireless, I even went to one in Belgium which was really dope SXSW I went to All Soul which was really cool but my favorite would have to be SXSW because I did like 9 shows in that week.
ME: Bllboard has labeled you; “Artist to watch” and The Fader have put you on their “Top of playlist” list how does it feel to have these mentions from these major publications?
JAHKOY: Its dope I love the support it’s really awesome. Everything that’s been happening is very overwhelming you know I feel like its happening faster than me, but I love it though because it’s what I’ve been working towards, that’s what I’ve been so hungry for. Now that people have been supportive and acknowledging you know the movement and the music and what I’ve been doing and what I’m trying to represent as an artist. It’s so cool to see like these blogs and magazines they’re really behind what I’m doing and just recently Rolling Stone put up an article on me 17 artist to watch for 2017 so I’m like wow that’s crazy.
ME: New single California Heaven ft Schoolboy Q How was that? What was it like working with him?
JAHKOY: I didn’t get a chance to actually work with him but the way that it worked out was pretty interesting, we started the record: me and Rico and it was like we wanted to tell my story as like a new artist I have this background coming from Toronto and going to California to chase my dream and when I went out there things started to work out for me I started to get into sessions with people that I wanted to get in to sessions with. Meeting producers that I wanted to meet and other writers that I wanted to link up with so its like everything just started to work out. That to me was like finding my purpose that’s where the California heaven comes in cause its like heaven must be somewhere in California because that’s where I was finding myself at home. The whole project is built of my story chase your dreams;there are no such things as dreaming to big. One thing someone told me is that if your dreams don’t scare you you aren’t dreaming big enough, so I look at myself and I’m doing all of this now and its like I’m doing everything I ever wanted to do. Schoolboy has been a massive supporter of the music and when we did the record I was thinking like I miss that R’n’b and Hip Hop collaboration so I had to bring that back. We sent the record to the team and with two days we got a verse, which was so dope everything worked out the way it was supposed to happen and we just shot the video also which is out now.
ME: Is there any pressure at all being from Toronto and having to represent? Seeing as there’s a lot of talent coming through that city right now?
JAHKOY: I love to make music right and I feel like if your doing what you love, you should never feel pressured. I’m not competing with anybody I’m not trying to live up to any standards I’m living up to only my own standards at the end of the day I have to only prove something to myself. I do this music because I love to do it and I want to spread my perspective on the way that I love music to an audience. I look at it as I love what I do and I just want everybody to enjoy the good vibes. We can go about expressing music in so many different ways because of the technology that we have right now, we can get rid of genres. I feel like right now there’s no such thing of genre because there’s so many fusions of it. My music I feel so has a lot of RnB influence, Reggae influence, house influence, even a little bit of country it throws in everything. That’s what it means to be an artist, I always use this scenario in my head that if a painter always painted the same picture he wouldn’t necessarily be considered to be an artist, the reason why he is considered as one is because he has created different forms of art so its like why not do that with music. That’s why I love artist Kanye West, Pharrell, Andre 3000, Rihanna, they’re able to tap into the different worlds because they’re not holding themselves back from anything. Rihanna as artist per say just taps in to everything, this sounds kind of weird but I want to be the male version of Rihanna.
ME: 2017. We are already in March, what would be the goals for the rest of the year? What would you like to achieve personally as Jahkoy, as an artist?
JAHKOY: Well my birthday is in a couple weeks I’m looking forward to turning 23. I’m actually going to be premiering my music video; I have it coming out soon as the tour progresses. I’m going to be dropping some videos can’t wait for you guys to see California Heaven as its super amazing; I look forward to finishing the rest of this tour. Getting into Festivals this summer finally getting time to work on my debut album and I just want the world to be prepared because I’m going to be bringing a lot.
WATCH CALIFORNIA HEAVEN BELOW