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“To find myself, to continue to be myself, and to never lose what makes me happy.”
And what makes Kayo happy is making music. Kayo Guevarra (né Filbert Salton) was born and raised in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Inspired by the likes of Bob Marley, The Fugees, Kardinal Offishall, 2Pac, and Jay-Z, Kayo began honing his talent through poetry at the age of 14. It started simply as “a way to write down my emotions because I wasn’t very outspoken when it came to how I felt about things.”
Eventually, Kayo turned his poetry to songs. Music quickly became a part of his identity, as he feverishly pursued his career as an artist. He had his first big performance at the St Lucia Jazz Festival, and a hit single on the airwaves in 2007 with a local Jazz band called Sisterhood. He continued to collaborate throughout the Caribbean with dancehall and soca artists, until he realized that he needed more. Kayo soon decided that if he wanted to create a life for himself and his family through hip-hop, he’d have to leave his island home; “because there really wasn’t an audience for hip-hop in the Caribbean.”
At the age of 20, Kayo moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia to study marketing at Saint Mary’s University, while simultaneously continuing to pursue music. He immersed himself in the local hip-hop scene where he met future mentor Classified. Class signed Kayo to a production deal via his imprint, Half Life Records, resulting in a licensing deal with EMI Music Canada. He then released ‘1 Night’, his first national single with Half Life/EMI - A club track about the beauty of women “and the insecurities they live with that ultimately destroy them.”
That “sugar with the medicine” approach to songwriting is the basis for what Kayo’s music is all about - creating a uniquely aggressive and penetrating sound while penning songs with substance and purpose. Now residing in Toronto, Kayo continues to pave his way and tell his own story through music.
Poetry In Motion.
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