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iakopo makes reggae connections while in JA

Published:Wednesday | March 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell

Billboard-charting Japanese reggae artiste iakopo (Yah - Koh - Poh) is in Jamaica, where he is expected to work with several local producers and artistes for his upcoming project. The artiste, who was born in the United States (US) under the Mormon faith, later moved to Japan, where he released several singles as a reggae act. However, having received relative success, iakopo now wants to officially validate his place in the reggae music industry and he hopes that by working with Jamaicans, he will be brought closer to his objective.

Though often referred to as a pop artiste, iakopo says the trip to Jamaica is expected to broaden his horizon, since reggae was his first love.

"Music, reggae music especially, has been the one constant in my life. Music has been my friend and confidante and saved my life. I've spent countless hours listening to Bob Marley and UB40; they have influenced my work greatly. The vibe that comes from them speaks to my soul," he told The Gleaner.

He has previously charted on the US reggae Billboard charts with songs like Break Free, featuring veteran reggae artiste Lukie D, Love Like This, I Believe and When I See You Smile - accomplishments which mirror that of Jewish reggae artiste Matisyahu, who also climbed the Billboard reggae chart on numerous occasions.

The artiste did not wish to reveal the names of the local artistes he collaborated with during his studio-hopping recording sessions. However, he says they were some of the biggest names in modern reggae music.

Surreal experience

According to iakopo, being in Jamaica, and even having the chance to record at the Tuff Gong studios "has been surreal and soul-cleansing". He said, "Jamaica speaks to me through the air, the sun, the food, the music and amazing people. Besides the opportunity to visit the different landmarks and sites, I've had the opportunity to record and work with some of the greatest producers in reggae, and recording at Tuff Gong was a great experience."

According to his publicist Malaika, the artiste is testimony that reggae music is one of the greatest genres on earth.

"Jamaica is such a little island, and to see that so many persons have been influenced by the music from different geographical locations, it's just simply amazing. We have a lot of genres that are strong in their own land space, but when you look at the reach of reggae music, it's just unbelievable. Bob Marley said he wanted to see a world in which mankind live together in harmony - black, white, Chinese, everyone... and it's ironic that reggae, of which he is the king, is able to bring people together in that manner," she said.

iakopo has sold over two million singles in downloads and is also an International World Music Video Awards winner.