SoundLab Feature: International Reggae Artist, Iakopo
I first heard about California-born, Samoa-raised, reggae artist, Iakpopo a few months ago and have been a big fan every since. His singles “Let Your Light Shine” and “Love Jah” [from "Let Your Light Shine", 2006] made it to the top of reggae charts in the US, Hawaii,
Polynesia, Asia and Europe and ‘Let Your Light Shine’ sold 2.000.000 downloads in the UK.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with Iakopo and talk to him about his career, where he’s from and where he’s going.
Essince: Thanks for taking your time out to do this interview with me. Tell me a little about your background. I understand you’re California-born but raised in Samoa? How did you end up there?
Iakopo: I was adopted by a Samoan family. Growing up in Samoan culture taught me a lot about life and respect. It also helped nuture my vibe.
Essince: Has being in so many different places, including your current Japan, influenced your sound at all?
Iakopo: Yeah. Because everywhere I go I am connecting with people on different levels. In the islands, it’s Island Reggae/ R’n'B influences, and in Japan it’s more pop oriented. America gave me Hip Hop influences.
Essince: Where and when did you first start doing music? Is reggae popular in Samoa?
Iakopo: I started playing the piano when I was just a baby and started singing. Got my first guitar on my 13th birthday and from that day on I was a fucking rockstar (laughs).
Reggae is very popular in Samoa and all the Polynesian Islands. It’s the most influential music along with Hip Hop.
Essince: How did all of this take you to Japan? From all the time I spend there I know reggae is big but how do they respond to non-Japanese music for you?
Iakopo: It started with a compilation with Universal Music Japan called ’808 Maui’, released April 20th 2011. They put 4 of my singles on there. Japan’s amazing. Been getting a lot of great responses and having a great time.
Essince: What are your goals with music?
Iakopo: I just wanna do the most. Keep it going. Reach as many people as possible in a positive way.
Essince: Where can we hear more music or connect with you online?
Iakopo: I’m doing some tours this year and you can check my website for details: http://iakopo.com/
Also check my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IAKOPO
And YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/IakopoMusic
Essince: Any final shout outs?
Iakopo: Give thanks to the universe. Give thanks to all the fans and supporters of my music, who have shown me love and guidance.