Like so many other highly talented performers, the heartbeat of Brooklyn NY has been a hotbed for so many fabulous musical artists and Kao Wonder is no exception…now with the 2021 release of his new album “EVOLUTION”. A Brooklyn NY native, Raphael “Kao Wonder” Faison had an early exposure to music as a tiny tike. His mom used to sing around the house and his dad was a tuba player and DJ/MC for a local Hip Hop group. As a result, the quest to be an entertainer ran through his veins. When he was of middle school age, Kao was educated in Performing Arts within the school system. He used and nurtured those skills, applying them to his personal quest outside of the school walls…being an entertainer with a positive message. He honed his dance skills and took vocal lessons. Training himself in the dance art forms of Street Jazz, Modern and Hip Hop, he soon became the “go to” guy for local dance competitions. Post-high school, Kao moved to Atlanta to pursue the passion and journey that soon became quite clear to him…the Art of Dance. It was there that he encountered a life changing metamorphosis. Right after his move south, he immersed himself in the Atlanta dance scene, quickly garnering the attention of some of the city’s best choreographers and dance agencies. Before long, he was signed with DDO, a top agency, and was earning an income through dance. But he knew he had more in him! Kao also kept a written record of original song lyrics and melody ideas! Lo and behold, the concept of fusing dance and song was born! He and three other young men with the same mindset formed a boy band and moved to Los Angeles where the Pop music genre was much more popular. Not long after their arrival, the group disbanded. Unwavering in his quest, Kao stayed on his career path and continued as a solo artist. Currently, Kao has kept his faith alive, singing songs of self-awareness, love and self-empowerment. His inspirations still come from Dance and Electronic music, using those genres to get his highly spirited and positive message across to the masses. Kao refers to his fans as his “Highs & Lows”, representing a broad spectrum of those with high energy to those who are “down”. His end-goal vision? To use his music in a way that will enable people to develop a strong sense of pride and self-esteem.
“Famous” is an upbeat and highly danceable track, with a crisp, clean production. It has strong influences from the EDM genre and lyrics that tell a defined story, delivering a very specific message about valuing self-worth. Kao’s roots from the tough streets of his old Brooklyn neighborhood give the tune its forthright rhythms and no nonsense lyrics.
The song’s backstory? Kao recounts the spark! His best friend created a beat and sent it to him for listening. He loved its retro 80’s vibe that knocked his socks off! In the same time frame, Kao had read a story about the perception of how people in the entertainment industry “sleep their way to the top”. First thinking of it as a joke and then a serious idea, he thought, “What if I write a song about literally sleeping your way to the top?” He recalled seeing an interview with Cher, where her Mom asked her why she wasn’t settled down and married to a rich white man. Cher’s reply? “Mom! I AM the rich white man!” Moving forward, Kao wrote “Famous” as both an homage to Cher and to just people in general about valuing their self worth.
And the name?? While in Atlanta, Raphael took on his alias name from the word “Chaotic”, which he spelled “Kayohtiq”, then morphing it into “Kao”. He felt the original reference to “Chaotic” described his dynamic energy and quiet demand for attention on the stage whenever he was performing in a dance scenario. As they used to say on the iconic television dance show American Bandstand: “I give this song a rating of 100. It has a great beat and you can dance to it!” But let’s not forget that the lyrics also get Kao’s very important message across of having self-esteem and self-value.
Listen to “Fabulous” on Kao’s newly released album “EVOLUTION” and Dance Awaaay!
You can also find Kao on YouTube as Kao the Brand and keep up to date with his news at his official website: https://kaothebrand.com