Iakopo Jones (born December 30, 1980) commonly known as IAKOPO Hawaiian pronunciation: [yah-Koh-poh] is an international recording artist. He was formerly performing under the stage name 'Keys of Creation'. 2011 he started his career as a solo artist and officially changed his name to Iakopo.
Live and Career
1980–1999: Early Life
Iakopo was born in Fountain Valley, California where he grew up until his early teens. By the age of 13 he moved to Upolu, Samoa to live with his adopted family. While at Pesega Church College of Western Samoa, Iakopo started to sing with a local reggae band, covering Top 40 music. Iakopo himself said about this time: 'Growing up in Samoan culture taught me a lot about life and respect. It also helped nuture my vibe.' in a recent interview.
2000–2005: Growing as an artist
After graduating high school in 2000, Iakopo started a few bands and making demos, as well as selling mixtapes on the streets of cities all over America, where he had moved to. This led to him gaining some credibility in the underground grassroots community under the name Rein Free. 2004 he also released an unofficial album called 'Realization' under that name. The underground success of this album led to his first record deal offer from a label in 2005. Iakopo refused that deal and instead recorded his new album on his own as Keys of Creation, which was called 'Let Your Light Shine'.
2006–2010: Keys of Creation - 'Let Your Light Shine' and 'Born To Win'
'Let Your Light Shine' was influenced by artists such as Peter Tosh, Anthony B, Sizzla, and Bob Marley and released by Iakopo independently on December 12, 2006. The Singles "Let Your Light Shine" and "Love Jah" made it to the top of reggae charts in the US, Hawaii, Polynesia, Asia and Europe. This success led to a record deal with 1980Entertainment, as well as Iakopo sharing the stage with many influential reggae artists. After an independent tour throughout Hawaii and West Coast America in 2007, he was the Co-Headliner for the 'Summer Massive Tour' in 2008, alongside Tribal Seeds. He was also the opening act for Half Pint's 2008 concert in World Beat Center, SanDiego, CA. All throughout 2009 he kept touring as a support for Israel Vibrations, Junior Reid, Midnite, Collie Buddz and Messenga Selah.
While touring, he also wrote his second album 'Born To Win'. On this, Iakopo focused on his island roots, as can be heard on the single 'Heart of Polynesia'. This single was another #1 hit on Hawaiian radio stations, as well as winning the International Music Video Award for World Music 2009. A dispute led to Iakopo splitting with his label and deciding to start writing music under his name.
2011 - 2012: Iakopo – 808 Maui and Singles
Iakopo moved to Japan in 2010, after meeting his new manager in Maui, Hawaii. His manager put him in contact with Universal Music Japan, who signed him for the Compilation CD '808 Maui'. It contains 4 of Iakopo's songs, including the Single 'By My Side' who's 'Fallen' riddim was produced by Citizen K and made it to the top of reggae charts in the UK. Iakopo also released another song with Citizen K called 'Be with me' on the 'Blindfold' riddim on November 20, 2011. The riddim is still a top featured one on fiweh.com as of April 2, 2012. Universal also arranged a collaboration between Iakopo and Infinity 16, which resulted in the single 'Bounce', released September 28, 2011. The single sold 7.000 units on the release day, was the #1 sold single in Japan for 2 weeks and #1 on the Japanese mobile download charts.
Iakopo used the royalties from this to start his own label called LionzShare. On December 12, 2011 Iakopo released his first single on LionzShare called 'FLY'. It was the #1 featured single on reggaezion.jp for the whole first month after its release. This was followed on February 2, 2012 by 'VIP'.
His latest release was the single 'Remedy' on March 26, 2012. It was produced by Citizen K and has backing vocals by Fiona. The single has been featured on a number of blogs and is Iakopo's first single with an official video, released on YouTube. Recently, 'Remedy' has reached #2 on Betelnutradio.com. Iakopo has also been featured and interviewed on LionsFace Radio from Amsterdam.
His follow up single 'Hot Summer' was released June 18, 2012. Written by Iakopo and Produced by Soren 'Cash' Petersen at the LionzShare Studio. As of August 30, 2012, it has been featured on the Pacific Top 20 for 4 weeks in a row and is currently at #5.
Currently, Iakopo is working with Jamaican producers Don Corleone and Citizen K, as well as with Jamaican star Lukie D on releasing his EP, due to be released in Late Summer 2012.