singer/songwriter, emcee, producer, educator

Kokayi (Carl Walker) is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, emcee, producer and educator. Pronounced ‘Ko-Kah-Yee’ (or KOKE for short), this Washington D.C. native takes his name from the Swahili word meaning ‘to summon the people’. Musically self-sufficient and versatile in ways that are reserved for upper-echelon talents, he produces his own music, writes his own rhymes, sings from the gut, and is self-taught on several instruments.

On his own, Kokayi has already independently released his debut album Mass Instructions (2007), toured the world and snagged the aforementioned 2009 Grammy-nod for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for his work as a vocalist and co-producer on ‘Lovin’ You (Music)’ by Ethiopian singer Wayna. He also produced Wayna’s ‘Moonlight Rendezvous’ which spent 7 consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Top 10 R&B/Hip Hop Singles; 100 Hot Singles Sales charts, peaking at #3 and #12 respectively.

What’s equally impressive, is his prolific output. Kokayi keeps busy on multiple fronts with several side-projects as one half of the electro-hop duo, Dastardly (with DJ/Producer Sharkey), and his long-time Afropunk outfit, TheCaesarz, each of which has self-released albums to much critical acclaim. He’s produced the MTV Jams staple, ‘JetSetter’ for fellow D.C. artist Tabi Bonney and created the theme to BET’s ‘How I’m Living’, as well as music for various commercials on MTV/Nickelodeon. He’s also collaborated with Miss D.C. pageant-winner and Goodwill of Greater Washington to write and produce ‘Dream Without Boundaries’; the proceeds of which go directly to Goodwill.

Currently his album, Robots & Dinosaurs has garnered critical acclaim, been labeled as genre bending, given a 93/100 from the tastemakers at Okayplayer, and his video for lead single ‘RoxTar’ won ‘The Freshmen’ contest for MTVU and is currently in rotation on the network. ‘Believe It’, a song featured on the album, was licensed for the short film, A l’arrach© directed by Paul Manate, screened at the Cannes Film Festival and broadcast throughout France on Canal+. With this album, Kokayi has managed to create a work that highlights the spaces between the extremes of modern pop, rock & hip hop and subsequently delete them.

With his high level of productivity, quality music, electric live performances Kokayi goes a long way to prove his self-proclaimed mantra of ‘Less Talk, More Walk’.

Kokayi has been a clinician in: United States (Cal Arts, NYU, Eastman, the New School, George Mason, Howard University, SF State, Berkeley) South America (Brazil, Argentina), Europe (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria) the Middle East (Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Alexandria, Bahrain) and Asia (China-Wuhan, Beijing, Xiamen, Guazhou) Mongolia (Ulan Bator, Darkhan) and Vladivostok Russia.

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