KOFI

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UK LEGENDS OF LEGENDS 2017 PERFORMANCE – KOFI

SIMMS FIRST FOUND SUCCESS AS A MEMBER OF THE LOVERS ROCK TRIO BROWN SUGAR (WHICH ALSO FEATURED CARON WHEELER AND PAULINE CATLIN). THE TRIO ENJOYED UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS, TOPPING THE UK REGGAE CHARTS ON THREE OCCASIONS. BROWN SUGAR’S FIRST CHART-TOPPER IN 1977, “I’M IN LOVE WITH A DREADLOCKS”, WAS ALSO THE FIRST RELEASE ON THE NEW LOVER’S ROCK RECORD LABEL FORMED BY DENNIS HARRIS, JOHN KPIAYE AND DENNIS BOVELL. THE RECORD LABEL TITLE BECAME THE ADOPTED DEFINITION FOR THE GENRE OF MUSIC. SIMMS AND WHEELER WERE RE-UNITED BRIEFLY IN OCTOBER 2005 AT THE METROPOLITAN BLACK POLICE ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL GALA AT THE BARBICAN IN LONDON.

FOLLOWING THE DEMISE OF BROWN SUGAR IN THE MID-1980S, SIMMS, UNDER THE MONIKER OF KOFI, EMBARKED ON A SOLO CAREER, INITIALLY WITH MAD PROFESSOR AND RELEASING THREE ALBUMS ON HIS ARIWA SOUND LABEL.[1] SHE HAD HITS ON THE BRITISH REGGAE CHARTS WITH THE REWORKING OF BROWN SUGAR SONGS “I AM SO PROUD”, “I’M IN LOVE WITH A DREADLOCKS” AND “BLACK PRIDE”, WITH NEW SONGS SUCH AS “DIDN’T I” (ON WHICH KOFI ALSO PLAYED BASS GUITAR), “LOOKING OVER LOVE”, AND WITH A VERSION OF ALTON ELLIS’ “I’M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU”, A DUET WITH JOHN MCLEAN. “PROUD OF MANDELA”, A VERSION OF THE IMPRESSIONS’ “I’M SO PROUD”, A COLLABORATION WITH MACKA B, TOPPED THE BRITISH REGGAE CHARTS IN 1990.

THE 1988 BRITISH REGGAE INDUSTRY AWARDS CEREMONY SAW KOFI WINNING THE AWARDS FOR “BEST FEMALE VOCALIST” AND REACHING NUMBER ONE WITH THE SONGS “DIDN’T I” AND “BLACK PRIDE”. KOFI WENT ON TO ACHIEVE FURTHER AWARDS IN 1989, ESTABLISHING HER STATUS AS ONE OF THE QUEENS OF LOVERS ROCK.

KOFI HAD BEEN ASKED ON MANY OCCASIONS TO CROSSOVER INTO THE SOUL/R&B MARKET AND SHE BEGAN TO PEN SOME OF HER OWN WORK DIRECTLY AIMED AT THAT GENRE OF MUSIC. THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE THROUGH ASSOCIATION WITH JAZZIE B OF THE SOUL II SOUL PHENOMENA. MOTOWN RECORDS HAD ENGAGED JAZZIE B TO ESTABLISH A SUBSIDIARY LABEL, FUNKI DREDS TO WHICH HE WAS TO FIND AND SIGN ARTISTS OF THE HIGHEST CALIBRE IN THE UK – KOFI WAS SIGNED TO THE NEW LABEL AND FEATURED ON THE 1992 SOUL II SOUL VOLUME III – JUST RIGHT ALBUM WITH THE TRACKS “MOVE ME NO MOUNTAIN” AND “FUTURE”. THE ONLY SINGLE RELEASE BY KOFI DURING THIS PERIOD WAS IN 1992 WITH THE SONG “STEP BY STEP”.

DURING HER TIME WITH MOTOWN, KOFI WAS COMMISSIONED TO WORK FOR A MAMMOTH MUSICAL PROJECT PUT TOGETHER BY DISNEY/BUENA VISTA. THE SIMPLY MAD ABOUT THE MOUSE: A MUSICAL CELEBRATION OF IMAGINATION PROJECT WAS A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE COMPANY’S MANY SUCCESSFUL MOVIES OVER THE YEARS AND AS SUCH THEY MARKED THE OCCASION BY FEATURING MANY TOP-RATED ARTISTS TO EACH TAKE A VERY FAMOUS SONG FROM ONE OF THEIR BELOVED MOVIES AND PERFORM IT IN THEIR OWN UNIQUE STYLE. THIS INCLUDED LL COOL J, GIPSY KINGS, MICHAEL BOLTON AND BILLY JOEL, TO NAME A FEW. KOFI’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROJECT WAS HER RENDITION OF “KISS THE GIRL” FROM THE FILM THE LITTLE MERMAID. KOFI WENT ON TO WORK MORE CLOSELY WITH PRODUCERS MAFIA & FLUXY.

AS WELL AS THE INCLUSION OF SONGS ON A NUMBER OF COMPILATION ALBUMS, IN 2008 THE ALBUM ROCKING ETERNALLY WAS RELEASED. THE 2011 ALBUM KOFI & FRIENDS SHOWCASED KOFI IN A MORE ROOTS REGGAE MOOD AND SHARING THE ALBUM WITH ESTABLISHED REGGAE ARTISTS: FREDDIE MCGREGOR, LUCIANO, MICHAEL ROSE, GEORGE NOOKS, MORGAN HERITAGE AND EARL SIXTEEN. DURING 2011, THE FILM THE STORY OF LOVERS ROCK, DIRECTED BY MENELIK SHABAZZ, WAS PUBLICLY RELEASED AND FEATURED KOFI IN CONVERSATION AND MUSIC FROM BROWN SUGAR.
IN 2010 KOFI TOOK UP RESIDENCY IN BARBADOS PERFORMING VARIOUS MUSIC STYLES TO MEET AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS AT MANY HOTELS AND LOCATIONS AROUND THE ISLAND. 2012 SAW HER NOT ONLY WORKING WITH NEW PRODUCERS, BUT ALSO THE RELEASE OF A NEW EP, SWEETNESS & THANKS, AND A NUMBER OF SINGLES IN VARIOUS GENRES.

THE ALBUM ROCKING ETERNALLY WAS ALSO RE-RELEASED. MIDWAY THROUGH THE YEAR, KOFI BECAME JOINT OWNER/PARTNER IN HER MANAGEMENT AND RECORD LABEL COMPANY.
KOFI CONTINUES TO BE A DYNAMIC AND AUDIENCE ENGAGING LIVE ENTERTAINER. NOTABLE PERFORMANCES INCLUDE PERFORMING AS THE CLOSING ACT AT THE GIANTS OF LOVERS ROCK EVENT IN 2012 AND ENTERTAINING AT HER OWN SPECIAL SHOWS “INTIMATE” AND “KOFI & FRIENDS” IN THE UK.

DURING 2013 KOFI APPEARED ALONGSIDE SANCHEZ, JOHN HOLT AND FRANKIE PAUL AT THE BARBADOS REGGAE FESTIVAL AND ALSO APPEARED AT THE ST LUCIA JAZZ FESTIVAL IN THE SAME YEAR.
DURING 2016 KOFI RETURNED TO THE UK FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD TO COMPLETE WORK ON A NEW ALBUM AND A NUMBER OF SINGLES WHICH WILL REFLECT HER VARIOUS MUSICAL STYLES WITH SONGS IN THE SOUL/R&B, REGGAE AND JAZZ GENRES.