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@ the Indigo 02
27 October 2012

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Kofi, whose African name means ‘Fridays Child’, was born in Lambeth, South London the third youngest of six children. With her church of God upbringing, and with the sound of everything from Ska, Reggae, Jazz and Soul emanating from the family home, Kofi’s natural love of music was enhanced, and after a brief flirtation with acting during which she attended drama school, her urge to make music began to dominate. Determined, the fourteen-year-old Simms wrote to the local paper, the South London Press, and an article about her wanting to become a singer was featured. The musical journey had begun.

Kofi first found success as a member of the lovers rock trio Brown Sugar (which also featured Caron Wheeler and Pauline Catlin). The trio enjoyed unprecedented success topping the UK reggae charts on three occasions. Brown Sugar’s first chart topper in 1977, “I'm In Love With A Dreadlocks,” was also the first release on the new Lovers Rock record label formed by Dennis Harris, John Kpiaye and Dennis Bovell. The record label title became the adopted definition for the genre of music. Kofi and Caron Wheeler were re-united briefly in October 2005 at the Metropolitan Black Police Association’s annual gala at The Barbican in London.

Following the demise of Brown Sugar in the mid-1980’s, Kofi embarked on a solo career, initially with Mad Professor, releasing three albums on his Ariwa Sound label. She had hits on the British Reggae Charts with reworking of Brown Sugar songs “I Am So Proud,” “I'm In Love With A Dreadlocks” and “Black Pride,” with new songs such as “Didn’t I” (on which Kofi also played bass guitar), “Looking Over Love” and with a version of Alton Ellis’ “I'm Still in Love with You,” a duet with John McLean. “Proud of Mandela,” a version of The Impressions “I’m So Proud”, a collaboration with Macka B, topped the British Reggae Charts in 1990.

Kofi had been asked on many occasions to crossover into the Soul/RnB market and she began to pen some of her own work directly aimed at that genre of music. The opportunity arose through association with Jazzie B of the Soul II Soul phenomena. Motown Records engaged Jazzie B to establish a subsidiary label ‘Funki Dred’ to which he was to find and sign artistes of the highest calibre in the UK - Kofi was signed to the new ‘Motown/Funki Dred’ label and featured on the 1992 “Soul II Soul Volume 3 - Just Right” album with the tracks “Move Me No Mountain” and “Future.” The only single release by Kofi during this period was in 1992 with the song “Step By Step.”

During her time with ‘Motown’ Kofi was commissioned to work for a mammoth musical project put together by Disney/Buena Vista. ‘The ‘Mad About The Mouse’ project was a musical tribute to the company’s many successful movies over the years and as such they marked the occasion by featuring many top rated artistes to each take a very famous song from one of their beloved movies and perform it in their own unique style. This included LL Cool J, Gypsy Kings, Michael Bolton and Billy Joel, but to name a few. Kofi’s contribution to the project was her rendition of “Kiss The Girl” from the film Little Mermaid.

In 2008 Kofi began working with producers Mafia & Fluxy, and this saw the release of the album “Rocking Eternally” as well as inclusion of songs on a number of compilation albums. The 2011 album “Kofi & Friends” showcased Kofi in a more roots reggae mood and sharing the album with established reggae artistes: Freddie McGregor, Luciano, Michael Rose, George Nooks, Morgan Heritage and Earl Sixteen. During 2011 the film ‘The Story of Lovers Rock,’ directed by Menelik Shabazz, was publicly released and the film featured Kofi in conversation and music from Brown Sugar.

Kofi’s work has continued, and 2012 saw her not only working with new producers, but also with the release of a new EP 'Sweetness & Thanks’ and a number of singles in various genres. Midway through the year Kofi became joint owner/partner in her management and record label company Koffe an Kreem - Music, and the first release under the partnership was the 6-track EP ‘The G Mixes’ which features tracks from both Kofi and label artiste IJ Chris. This EP introduces Kofi to the UK Garage genre through two remixes and a completely new rhythm track.

Kofi completed two seasons of live performing during the winter of 2011/12 and autumn of 2012 in the UK. Notable performances were: performing as the closing act at The Giants of Lovers Rock event and entertaining at her own special one woman show ‘Intimate.’ A new album is in preparation for 2013, which will reflect her various musical styles.







Black With Sugar

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