This week’s featured artist is rising Hip Hop artist, Kevo Maro. If you are an avid Hip hop head You might know Kevo from his impeccable mix tapes even more so from his recent tape ‘Grow with me‘ which came out late last year.
Kevin Kimaro better known by his stage name Kevo Maro, likes to think of himself as ‘the voice of New Skool Rap’. Big on authenticity Kevo says he tries by all means to cultivate a style of his own from production, lyricism down to the last bit at the same time keeping his approach versatile. Kevo describes his music as ‘a mellow sound with a touch of soul,rhythm and blues with a slap to it’.
“I’m as humble as they come but ruthless on stage, I’m not exactly in it to bring change but rather to play a vital role in the growth of Namibian music. I strive to bring my own vibe to the table”.
We asked Kevo to share a few insights on his process and cadence to making music, here is what he said:
What type of environment do you prefer to record in?
It usually depends on the song I’m doing at that moment. every song is made in a different setup, it just depends on what vibe I’m trying to bring to a song. If i was doing a banger, a more up tempo song I’d want to record in a more hyped environment. If it leans more on the mellow conscious side, a chilled relaxed vibe would do the trick. There are times where I’d prefer having a couple of homies in the studio with me just to get the energy flowing and other times I’d prefer it being just the producer and I, but that’s usually when I’m doing a really deep personal song.
What’s your songwriting philosophy?
When it comes to writing I really can’t say I choose when to and when not to write because ideas are forever flowing.,Some even come at the worst possible time but when it’s that time, I like to put myself in a very productive space. My surroundings should be able to amplify the vibe I’m finna bring to a song. When a beat is being produced on the spot, I’d usually prefer to start with my hooks because I feel they set the mood so that when I get to the verses it’s much more easier to build on the concept.
What particular experience inspired you to record your first track?
It was inspired by a couple of events actually, but there’s one particular experience that played quite a big role in the direction it was paved in. It was how people thought I’d be surprised by their scepticism in my dream as soon as I started taking this whole music scene seriously. How “somebody” thought I’d be so surprised by their actions hence the title of the song “surprised” (if you listen to the song you’ll spot the “Actions” I’m referring to). Moral of the story is, I wasn’t surprised.
What is the first album you ever owned? How did you acquire it?
Drake’s Take care album, It was a gift from a friend.
Where do you find your artistic inspiration?
Certain events in my life. The different phases I go through. The hype circulating around me,the energy in my current climate, the past, the future I predict for myself in, People and basically anything and everything that I feel would be worth sharing. At times I’m just venting. And to my surprise I get a lot of people telling me they deeply relate and that the music makes them feel like somebody actually understands their current circumstances. So my music is inspired by so much.
Which Namibian rapper would you want to work with?
Let’s talk about your recent project “Grow with me”, at first listen it feels like an album, the songs there could be radio hits and has a lot of replay value, why did you decide to release that as a mix tape as opposed to a commercial album?
“Grow With Me” was originally supposed to be released as my debut album but because of a very slim budget and because I was still an independent artist and the fact that I was busy with final exams, the team and I couldn’t handle the marketing costs and the time to go out there and make sure the album was reaching the people was just not there. So we figured it was best to release it as a mixtape. That way promotion is easier and we’d give the fans a full body of work to bump for the festivities while they await The Album. If we’re going to make a major move like that we want to make sure everything is well prepared from marketing to the launch, budgets, dates and planning. We strive to give 150% to everything we do man. On the other hand for a mixtape ‘Grow With Me’ got quite a good response.
Do you feel like dope music gets slept on a lot of the times in Nam? why do you think that is?
Yeah, I do actually. You find young up and coming artists putting in so much, making music that is so original, content wise. Some even try to bring new styles to the game but because the market can be so ignorant and closed minded on new developments, pure good music gets slept. On the other hand you find those that do music inconsiderate of the quality and delivery. They also play a role in why music is slept on because we’re all put in one category “Hip Hop” and that can sometimes sell the whole genre short. Considering the fact that we have very few rappers making it out of the come up. We also have very few local platforms to put music out which makes it even more difficult to serve the local market. Notice how following a simple link to Soundcloud has become so hard for people to do cause they expect to find is the same old music?. We need of more platforms to expose local talent and artists need to take their work way more serious. What is a hobby to you could be somebody else’s dream dawg. Don’t play with it.
What’s next for Kevo?
I recently just joined DBS Music so expect a lot compared to last year. 2018 is starting to look promising. I slacked a bit on the visuals the past few years so I plan on making up for that with a few top notch videos this year. More networking most definitely, I plan on putting myself out there a little more in terms of performances and collaborations. A few singles before the album will do and just focus on growth and the brand.
Follow Kevo Maro on Instagram : @kevoxmaro18