Thursday, 14 February 2013

#ESPspotlight Valentine's Interview with KOF!

Ladies...Didn't I promise you a Valentine's treat? And haven't I delivered?! Super sexy *ahem* SOULFUL Singer KOF is everything that we need to be hearing when we feel like a dose of manly interaction, is he not? Alright, I confess - it might also sort of, kinda be a little bornday present to Yours Truly also...hey - your gift, my gift, we all got a gift!

The Liverpool-native is fresh off supporting US Neo Soul Singer, Songwriter and Producer, Ryan Leslie on his nationwide tour; but even amidst his travelling, he heard that my original 'Valentine' had callously deserted me and gallantly stepped in to save the day. Yes Girls - KOF is an original GENT. My gift to all of you is a Triple G: A Gorgeous, gifted gentleman - Happy Valentine's!

I take absolutely no offence in the knowledge that you of course have absolutely no further interest in anything I have to say, so let's go straight to the good stuff, shall we?

Welcome Sir, thank you for gracing my blog! Busy man that you are, I'm very grateful for you stopping by amidst the whirlwind that is your life now! Normally I would try to keep it short but, being that this is a Valentine’s Special and you’re my gift to the readers, it wouldn't be right if I didn't give them the chance to enjoy you in all your glory, SO...

1. Listening to you, there’s a blend there that your listeners can’t help but be intoxicated by; you’re a fusion of styles and genres within yourself. Who are some of the influences that inspire you?

Liverpuddlian Singer-Songwriter-Producer...and Hottie KOF
Thank you, I draw influence from so many different artists for so many different reasons. Artists who are able to capture a feeling and make it connect to my own. My favourite album is 'World Outside My Window' by Glenn Lewis. As well as the smooth vocals and vivid storytelling it also reminds me of the time I first started getting into Soul Music. When you're really young and you listen to music, you don't take it in, you like it but you might not know why. This album made me understand things much better. It transcended me from being someone who just enjoys music to someone who really listens and wants to be involved in creating it.

Bob Marley is another who inspires me. A musician who was able to bring a higher consciousness and message to the world. I love House and Old Skool garage too. I remember going to school in the morning having arguments with people on the bus because my headphones were too loud. I'd be blasting Sincere by MJ Cole or Nicole's Groove just to get me ready for the day. I'm also a big Kanye West fan. Creatively he's fearless. I'm into music for different moods and that's the music I try to create. It's always from the soul and my vocal tone lends itself nicely to mid tempo, Soul-inspired songs but when I'm creating I'll mix that with other genres I love and listen too.

2. There's a part in your rendition of D'Angelo's 'Brown Sugar' where you talk about kisses and honestly, it just made me think of how your voice kisses the mic – where did you learn your craft? Did you develop your style through any type of training?

Haha thanks, I can feel the Valentine's love from you already!

I haven't had any formal training although I've just started to have a couple of vocal sessions to improve some aspects of my voice. I learned to sing standing in front of the TV watching Michael Jackson concert tapes on repeat and constantly singing my favourite songs whilst in the shower. It was kind of like home schooling...

3. From the first time I saw you perform, to your larger than life instrument on wax (...or mp3), I'm always taken aback by how quiet and laid back you are in person! Aside from the quiet, what other big misconceptions do you find most people have about you?

I don't know, I've always been a quiet, reserved person until I really get to know people. When I'm on stage though, it's like we go way back. I'm comfortable, I'm amongst friends, we're sharing good music.

One of the biggest misconceptions I get is from girls who think I'm a player just because I sing. They always ask me about groupies and stuff but I'm not the type to get involved if it's too easy.

4. One of the main things that gets everyone who listens to you, is the ability you have to carry people away in your story when you sing. You could make a shopping list sound like it was written with a broken heart. How difficult is it to put experiences like ‘My Child’ out there for the world to hear and do they ever get easier to perform?

I have a sweet tooth so a shopping list song might not be too bad. A lot of cakes, sugar and ice cream, haha!

'My Child' is taken from 'Soul:LIFE' available now
All of my songs come from personal situations or feelings that I have. I've found that these songs are the ones that connect best with the audience. They are easier for me to write because I can recall real events firsthand and they will just seem to flow out of the pen.

'My Child' is a very real and personal song that I know many people relate to. The instant I heard the piano play, it got to me. It  slowed things down and unlocked things that I didn't realise I had going on in my head. I didn't think about how the song would be received until I finished recording it and then I had the dilemma with myself whether or not to put it out because it was so personal and because there are other people involved who might not want me to speak about it. The other option would be for the song to just sit on my computer and not be heard or be given the opportunity for other people to take something from it whether good or bad. I haven't ever performed that song live though. I don't know if I will.

5. Your ‘Soul:Series’ feels like an extension of ‘An Alternative Soul’; what was the biggest difference to you, going into the writing process?

I was really starting to find my sound with 'An Alternative Soul', letting people who may have previously heard me rapping, hear me try something new and a lot more fitting to where I was creatively with my music. The 'Soul Series' was a chance for me to reinforce this and give something free to the people who supported 'An Alternative Soul' and for the people who might have heard of me, that wanted to catch a vibe of what I'm about. It was another chance for me to express myself from the writing and production, to the artwork and direction and editing of the music videos along with some other Creatives who's work and ideas I respect.

6. All of your lyrics feel very raw and soul-baring; can you talk about your most personal track to date and the inspiration behind it?

It would probably be 'My Child' or 'Get Out'. Both are very personal. 'Get Out' is really that situation of the relationship that doesn't want to end but has to. It's crazy to see the range of people that feel that song. This dude approached me once and I thought he was gonna try and move to me but he was like, "Are you KOF?… Yo i'm feeling that 'Get Out' tune, it's real tings!" I was shocked because it's my break up tune. The sensitive one, haha! 

7. You've just finished touring with Ryan Leslie and I know that you really loved it. After a year filled with some seriously massive highlights, what’s been the most memorable, standout moment?

Yeah I loved playing along side Ryan. I didn't really know all of his songs but he's passionate about his music and you can really see that when he performs and he doesn't fail to put on a good show. He brings you into it all.

The highlight of my year was playing in Cannes. We flew out to the South of France to perform at the Midem Music Conference but I also had a private performance in the villa we were staying in. Before the show we were just chilling, rehearsing and Stevie Wonder's manager came in and just chilled with us. He was telling us stories about when they were touring and I sang a couple of songs for him. It was a cool experience. He gave me some bits of advice and we had a great night. I met David Guetta there also. Although at the other end of the music spectrum, it was pretty cool too.

8. Obviously the Grammys just occurred and the BRITS are on the way. We’re not doing too badly on the UK representational front. You’re already being recognised in the US (Congrats, by the way); is it your goal to break those same markets as Ed and Adele or are you looking to carve a different route? If so, what are your aspirations and how do you plan to achieve them?

I just want as many people as possible to hear my music, regardless of where they are from or their background. The goal is to do that and have fun doing it. I've performed in many places around the world but nowhere near all, which is something I definitely want to have a go at. I just have to keep making good musicget better at my craft and work with people and artists who can elevate and inspire me creatively. I have a couple of shows in New York next month so I'm planning to hop up with some people out there so I can continue and add to this journey I'm on. I'm currently working on my d├ębut album entitled 'The Beautiful Struggle in Pursuit of a Dirty Love'. It's about life and the things we go through to make it what we want. The highs and lows of the thrill of the chase.

9. Now being that this is a Valentine’s Special; you had to know you weren't going to escape without a couple of questions on ‘matters of the heart’! You have an EP devoted to ‘Love’, so I think you’re qualified enough to advise those in need of a little help:
  • What are your Top 5 Tips for the Fellas who can’t serenade the object of their affection the way that you can? How should they romance their ladies ‘Alternative Kof-style’?

Haha, well I'm far from an expert, but I'd say...

I doubt a serenade would hurt!
(Photography by David Zinyama)
Be cool and respectful in your approach. The first impression is key

Don't walk over when all your boys are standing there egging you on. You don't want them shouting things over when your trying to drop game, ha!

If it's somebody you already know, then you've just got to set the mood. maybe put on some good music, spark some candles...Make her feel relaxed and comfortable. Maybe a nice massage. If you can cook something then do that or at least try. If it doesn't work out then you can try and make it up with dessert, haha.

  • On the flip side, please guide the ladies on what a Gent wants – how should we approach you, but still ensure we receive that all-important first-date invitation?

If a woman is approaching me, I like her to be confident but over-confidence is a turnoff. She's got to be able to hold a conversation and know what she's about.

I love women who dress well and can look cute but then flip it and just be totally sexy. Like when they're walking around the house with just your t-shirt on. That kind of stuff drives me crazy!

10. Lastly, I'm sorry (alright, I'm not really), but I gotta ask – who’s getting your Valentine today and what sort of romantic and creative things can the oh so lucky lady, expect?

Well I was hoping that you would be my Valentine today, so I don't want to tell you what to expect before you get it, haha!

Alrighty, who's fanning themselves? Just me? Well it's allowed after that, don't you think? I have to say a massive Thank You to KOF for his time and graciously allowing me to serve him up to you all, garnished on a silver platter. We enjoyed you, my friend!

Read my #ESPspotlight Review for KOF'S 'Soul:Series', the final selection in my '7 Days, 7 Mixtapes To Set The Valentine Mood' Series before downloading the EP...

If you still want more KOF - and let's be honest, why wouldn't you - connect with the Sexy Scouser via his Social Media Catalogue:

Visit to get your 15% off before midnight

If you left it far too late to bag those Valentine baubles, make up for it with something good quicksmart! Head over to and take advantage of my Brand Ambassador Code before it expires at midnight!

It would seem that I'm now a tad late for a Valentine's date but; make sure you come back tomorrow for Part One in my super-sized, London Fashion Week Special. I've got an absolute LEGEND getting 'Frank' in the #FindOutFriday hotseat...

Share the (Soul:) LOVE, enjoy your night and I'll see you on the morrows!
ES ;)