Kojo Stone is 24-year-old, but his voice is mature, steady, and poised. At first glance you wouldn’t think he could sing, let alone woo you in a sultry tone reminiscent of D’Angelo. But once he hits the stage his presence is that of a seasoned veteran who knows how to win over a crowd. Stone proved that he is a force to be reckoned with earlier this Month at Nuyorican Poet’s Café; coming in first place in Blind Boy Entertainment’s March 2 “Lyrics First” open mic competition. I chatted with the Stone after he beat out 25 other contenders for the $500 cash prize. He talked to Artists on the Rise about finding his voice, his inspirations and more.
Based on your performance at “Lyrics First,” the judges thought you were a natural. How many live performances have you done?
Out of the 5 years I’ve been established as an artist, I’ve done about 15 if my memory serves me correctly.
How did you discover your vocal abilities?
I always enjoyed singing, but after singing “5 Steps” by Dru Hill for a friend when I was 19-year-old, she suggested I pursue my talent. In some ways that was the breaking point, so to speak.
Did you or do you have vocal training?
Yes. Upon pursuing my talent seriously I decided to take vocal classes, and even worked with the likes of Craig Darry.
You performed “Drinking Blues” at “Lyrics First.” That song really takes me back to the ‘90’s early 2000’s R&B. Can you tell me about the inspiration for this one? Are you also rapping on this one?
Inspiration for this piece came from a very dark place, as I was going through a time of substance abuse. So I used the song as my muse to help get me through that phase in my life. Yes, it is me rapping as well.
Do you like to do both or do you prefer melodies and singing more?
I was a poet before I took singing seriously, so rapping came effortlessly. So the answer to your question is yes.
Tell me about your song “Heartless Love Jones.”
The song was about a person who was being heartless towards me. The concept of the song is about a relationship that is just about sex. However, one person is displaying emotions and those feelings not being reciprocated.
What’s next for Kojo Stone? How are you getting your music out there?
I am making the most of social media; doing shows, meeting new people and taking advantage of any opportunity presented.
For more on Kojo Stone check out the links below:
Follow him on Instagram @KojoStoneChild