A rapper in a strange land — that is the tale of Kielley Koyote, who was the only North American musician featured at the Live at Heart musical festival in Orebo, Sweden, Sept. 4-8.
St. John’s-born Josh Kielley participated in the four-day showcase festival that hosted everyone from Taiwanese hip-hop to hillbilly rock/metal.
In just two short years, Kielley has forged a path for himself in hip hop, released an EP titled “Weak Days” and has even drawn praise from rapper Gucci Mane.
Rolling Stone India captured the essence of the showcase in an article after the festival and chose Kielley Koyote as one of the 10 buzz-worthy acts to appear out of the 150 artists who appeared at the festival.
Since the release of his “Weak Days” EP, Kielley Koyote has opened for Juno-nominated acts such as Ghettosocks, Evil Ebeneezer and Jyay.
For someone who’s been in the industry for just two years, the 23-year-old Kielley’s successes and the exposure from this conference have helped elevate him to the point where he is now collaborating for his next EP with an international crew.
Initially, Kielley attended the Live at Heart conference in Orebro seeking to play for an international audience.
What he accomplished was so much more. The conference resulted in him being tested and evaluated by some of Europe’s best music producers.
The sacrifice of scrimping and saving, applying for grants from Music NL and having kick-ass sound technicians mashing music together for him helped Kielley forge lasting relationships and connect with other musicians globally.
“It was worth it,” Kielley stated in a news release Tuesday morning.
Jan Sparby, who teaches music at the University of Orebro, organized “The Blackbelt Songwriters Camp” during the conference. Running in conjunction with the festival, artists were handpicked and separated into groups.
Kielley was one of three selected and he was paired with Elin Kran, a songwriter from Sweden, and Bruno Miguel, a producer from Portugal.
Their task was to write, record and produce a live performance in three days. If that wasn’t enough work, he also wrote features for two other projects.
But it’s Kielley’s trio, with Elin and Bruno, at the concert that he gets excited about.
The plan is to produce a musical collaboration across borders using technology to communicate, a daunting task for people who have just met.
With a new international group project on the way and a pile of unreleased tracks waiting to be mastered, Kielley has his fingers in a number of pies.
He has a music video on the way and is rallying resources to host a benefit show for a yet-to-be named charity.
A Live at Heart global music conference is planned for Oct. 10 in Burin, where Kielley will perform with other international artists. Information is available online at https://www.facebook.com/liveatheartnewfoundland.
In addition, The Telegram was informed that two other acts performed at the festival — Skidderpup and Waterfront Fire.
No additional information about them was available as of The Telegram’s press deadline.