From: TX, United States
Genre: Pop, Pop- reggae, Hip-Hop/Rap
John V. Tarawalie is an African American originally from Sierra Leone West Cost of Africa. He is otherwise popularly called KOI-J . He was born to a family of seven. He grew up in the western area of Freetown and the Brookfield's community at kingharman Road. He went to the St. Anthoney's Boys high school Syke Street, later went to The Bo Government School, and graduated from the Prince Of Wales Kingtown Freetown, Sierra Leone.
He started music at a very early age probably inherited it from his biological father, who was also a local musician. His father was born of Daru Jawi chiefdom, and mother born of Kailahum Kailahun District in the eastern province of Sierra Leone. His dad, Lansana Babar Tarawally shaped his music life in many ways.
KOI-J and his music came about during the brutal war of his native, Sierra Leone that has turns his whole life around by attitude, concept, belief, tradition and all in the world as a whole. We can relate this to the turning point of his up bring of his childhood as he always cries for Sierra Leone to be a great nation again.
Though the economic situation is what causes KOI-J’s lacks of parental lively hood like many Sierra Leoneans, as he grew up with his two parents, he spent most of his normal days as a kid around different families that impacted his life forever. KOI-J was a special kids from his early school days with a personal characters and behaviors that brought most attention to him with a successful career as an artist today. In his up bring, he was able to reason with many people as an intelligent young boy. Also in his neighborhood they knew him as a creative and adorable child.
As a musician a producer, singer, writer, engineer of his own sound and an entertainer for the new generation of today's, his music is from music Icons like the roots rock reggae stars Bob Marley, Joseph Hills, Alpha Blondy, Burning Spear, Peter Torsh, Lucky Dube , and in the country classic of Don Williams, Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder, Elton John to the sole reggae of Eric Donaldson, Barry White, and Eve Edna. Also to the top hits of the pop culture and rock music of Michel Jackson, Paul Mccartney , Paul Simon, The West Life, Akon and the Hip-hop hard core rap music of Makavelie, Dr, Dre, M&M, Jay-Zee, Kenye West, back to the origin of African reggae that is taken over the new age of the music industry. This assortment of musical taste is the foundation for KOI-J’s melody.
KOI-J came from humble beginnings manifested in poverty and all sorts of hardship. It was hard to make a living when there was no job. It was hard to concentrate in class when the stomach was empty. But nonetheless he persevered to become the matured person that he is today. Corruption and Political violence did not ruin his will to prosper. Neither did peer pressure, broken homes, neighborhood conspiracies, hypocrisy, back-biting, and unnecessary hate from his fellow men.
The future of music for KOI-J is yet to be told. He is just beginning and is loaded with ideas that will be released slowly as his work-load permits. He is an incredible writer, vocalist and a very profound bass guitar player.
He was privileged to meet with some good and creative artists, instrumentalist, vocalist and composers, artist like Stedy Bongo, Willo Wise, Tome Lepsky, late Patrick Demo of the S.S.D and many more, who passed on special skills that he is benefiting from today.
Another influence in his life was Gospel music. After some personal transformation in his life he was delighted to become a member of The Gospel Youth Messengers (GYM), which subsequently revolutionized Gospel music in Sierra Leone. This group was instrumental in the call for peace and reconciliation following the unfortunate war that caused so much destruction and cost lives in the country. Our famous album, “Mak we fogive” was launched at the Maitta conference hall for a project sponsored by World Vision for peace and reconciliation.
KOI-J was a member of the Council of churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) and also an executive member of the world peace prayer society. As a songwriter vocalist/ instrumentalist, he supported many advocacy programs worldwide. He subsequently immigrated to the United States under the US Diversity Program, a privilege that he is absolutely grateful for.
He acquired additional skills ranging from sound production, to music composition.
KOI-J has paid his dues and waited long for the opportunity to burst into the scene with tunes of love and other life’s experiences. . He certainly hopes that he is able to touch hearts and minds and make a difference in the process. After-all, music is love. The best medium to spread the message of peace and love! Make love not war! He cries in his music that someday war will not be seen as a way to solve problems but an option that does not help anyone even those who have all the weapons.
In all process of such progress to mention a record label means a lot, it’s an idea of movement that signifies the motive or purpose of what the artist stands for or believes in real life. The creative aspect of logo goes an extra to really understand what the artist and the music will live to represent. In a reference of taken KOI-J’s music and his label (Tears Records) could be an exciting story to the fans and friends of music all around the world.
Tears Record was originally founded in 1996 at a street corner in Sierra Leone, West Africa. This has since elevated into a record label managed by KOI-J himself. KOI-J, the spiritual one would often thank God for this great achievement. It is hoped that the KOI-J’s story is one that would inspire other young artists who are going through growing pains currently. “Tears” is simply defined as the act of weeping or grieving which is just a natural human reaction to pain. It may also be considered as a symbol of emotions that an individual that has endured. Tears represent symbolism of the hardship KOI-J experienced from the civil war in Sierra Leone to the time he immigrated to the US. To God be the Glory! Great things he has done!