Island Goodness to Airways Greatness (An Interview with Rapper, Kayo - 2019)

To be raised (or to live) on a tropical, volcanic, Caribbean island like Saint Lucia, to most outsiders may sound like one of the most idyllic, refreshing upbringings/lifestyles some could imagine. Ever-present sunshine and warmth that doesn’t have to be wished for between autumn and spring; fresh tropical breezes with palm/coconut trees swaying in it; bright and naturally vibrant coloured flowers; closing your eyes and seeing the dominating colour shades of blue, green, yellow, red, orange; shorts and flip-flops!; warm rain droplets; the availability of tropical fruits and vegetables almost at your fingertips, the beaches (ooohhhh the beaches!); fantastic, tropical culinary dishes with amazing aromas. Sorry (#notsorry), I could’ve stopped with the examples earlier but the tease was necessary as these are some of the things that spring to mind when thinking about such isles of enchantment and the familiar facets of life our next featured artiste is accustomed to.

Tropical living is definitely awe-inspiring and whilst again, I’m not sorry for the tease above, it was deliberately included to create the setting and literally the stage for one of Saint Lucia’s brightest and talented individuals the country has to offer. 

Meet Filbert Salton; stage name Kayo Guevarra. Keep it simple though, he probably prefers you just call him, Kayo!

A rapper, currently residing in Toronto, Canada but also constantly touring worldwide, who from relative obscurity is making a very quick name for himself with his veteran-like sound, flowing gracefully in and out of lyrics with the ease of a body resting on a hammock that is being nudged towards a gentle sway by the tropical breeze. He’s that smooth, he’s that good and he’s that ready…for the big-time.

Saint Lucia’s an island that is spoilt with mineral richness that produces some of the most beautiful flora and fauna. You’d be excused if you wondered as well if the people are equally infused with the richness and purity around them. Possessing a level of geological, cultural and historical diversity that is bound to sprout supreme talent, Kayo was ripened in a way that has served to justify such a mature sound.

Some of the world’s most dynamic and memorable musical talent hail from “the islands” like reggae’s Bob Marley (Jamaica, of  course), soca’s Machel Montano (Trinidad), dancehall’s Beenie Man (Jamaica), R&B’s Rihanna (Barbados), calypso’s Lord Kitchener (Trinidad), soul’s Billy Ocean (Trinidad). Meanwhile, hip-hop has got island-descendants like the Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes (both from Brooklyn, New-York via Jamaica) and Nicki Minaj (Queens, New-York via Trinidad), Kayo can absolutely fill that void of an island-born and raised (i.e. grew up and did most, if not all of their schooling on island) artiste who can become a household name.

Like the natural beauty of his country of birth, Kayo’s sound benefits greatly from the diversity he was blessed to grow up around. Listening to him closely, a trained ear can easily trace the hints of soca, dancehall and R&B which are entangled with his professional sounding hip-hop cadence and flow.

Poised to become the best he can be at his craft and fuelled by his admirable determination and work-ethic of someone who is continuously hungry for improvement, Kayo sat down with our student colleagues Isabelle Barnes and Harvey Leggett and gave them the low-down on his upbringing and how that impacted his musicality, his direction for his career, lyrical exercises he seeks out from friends randomly to continuously sharpen is skills, advice he’d give to aspiring musicians and entertainers who would want it and much, much more!

Recently, Kayo also reflected on his upbringing by doing a retrospective piece where he hypothetically imparted some wisdom to his 14  year old self, telling the younger “Filo” about the things he’d need to learn and navigate to become the man he is today. Well written and executed, he gave readers a view of his life back-stage and offered the best segue to this interview where he explores other themes in his life that many may not know about.

Kayo is next up in our series of 12 interviews with entertainment industry professionals, with an extended version of his interview coming soon! We will not guarantee however that you will not become hooked to his music if you’ve never heard it before and have an appreciation for hip-hop. For that we’d like to say “You’re Welcome” in advance! :-)

(Stay tuned and follow our social media pages, full interview to be published soon.)