The DC area will celebrate this weekend as two superstars of the area– Wayna and Kokayi– appear on television as nominees for a Grammy award.
Wayna, an Ethiopian-born DC native, is one of my favorite vocalists– local or otherwise–and her CD “Higher Ground” is always in regular rotation in my car. Her song “Lovin’ You” which was produced by Kokayi and features him on the track in up for the Grammy nomination. She is in the Urban Alternative category against the likes of Janelle Monae (another top fave of mine), the wonderful Chrisette Michelle (a top act) and singers Kenna (who reminds a bit of Van Hunt, but Van Hunt is way better) and Maiyasha, who I would guess is the underdog among this high quality list–she is the spitting image of vocalist Joi Gilliam (in my humble opinion).
I’ve covered Kokayi’s career for East of the River newspaper for the past two years. As an MC, Kokayi is pure fire, able to build an overseas base (like many of our better MCs who are local) that has him touring regularly abroad as a solo act and as part of the group Opus Akoben. Kokayi is also a first-rate producer, typically producing his own music and work for other artists like Wayna. Check out some of their work:
Tune in to the Grammys this Sunday, Feb. 8 @ 8pm on CBS.