Akouo has mastered one of the most entertaining and nuanced styles of R&B/soul entertainment we've come across in recent years, and his new single ‘I'm Into You’ shows why you'll be hearing a lot more of him.

With undeniable vocal talent and fine-tuned production served straight up, Akouo is an artist that any R&B/soul music enthusiast will thoroughly enjoy. The success of his latest awarding-winning work has not gone unnoticed by the critics, with one recently writing: ‘Akouo has his musical finger on several pulses - jazz, R&B, funk - 'Graceful Journey' encapsulates the spirit of this album, while 'Everything Is Gonna Get Better' is part of the current music scene!’ Yet there’s something special about Akouo that sets him apart from other R&B/soul acts. In a musical generation characterized by manufactured pop acts, Akouo's originality and sincerity do more than stand out. They reveal qualities that cannot be engineered in the studio. There’s also an unpretentious realness to this artist out of Minneapolis and judging by his growing fan base, he may be precisely what the new generation didn't know it was missing. Independent reporter Blake Wright recently caught up with Akouo to get an inside look at this exciting new artist and to learn what he has in store for fans this year.

BLAKE: When did your recording career begin? What inspired you to first make music?
AKOUO: My recording career began about thirty years ago, while working with other artists. What inspired me to first make music was through observation and self-reflection; going back to when I was very young, patterns of seeing my experiences through a musical lens emerged. That led to song writing and, eventually, recording.

BLAKE: Your new single is currently getting a great response on radio. How would you describe your new single? ’I'm Into You’
AKOUO: My new single, 'I'm Into You', is a love song. It was inspired by thinking about my personal history of romantic relationships as well as seeing other couples express their affection.

BLAKE: How do you feel your music has changed this past year?
AKOUO: This past year, my music has changed largely by including other artists I had not worked with previously; including them, many from different backgrounds, cultures and musical tastes, has had a major influence on the overall creative process of my writing, producing and performances.

BLAKE: What is your creative process when it comes to songwriting?
AKOUO: When it comes to songwriting, the creative process varies from song to song. Since inspiration is not limited to environment, experiences or relational interactions, each song I write – from conception to completion – has a unique creation story.

BLAKE: During this creative process, do you feel you work better alone or in a team?
AKOUO: During the creative process of songwriting, I almost always work alone. However, I have collaborated with others, and will continue to do so.


BLAKE: How do you feel about the Internet in the music business?
AKOUO: I believe the Internet in the music business is a great tool. Global reach or exposure is certainly more attainable, which is a primary goal of using the Internet.

BLAKE: What is the best compliment you've ever received?
AKOUO: The best compliment I've ever received was: 'Your music inspires me.'

BLAKE: If you had an extra two hours every day, how would you spend it?
AKOUO: If I had an extra two hours every day, I would spend it reading literature and improving my musical skills.

BLAKE: If you could sit down with one of your favorite artists, who would it be and what would you ask them?
AKOUO: Even though he has passed, Maurice White of the R&B group, ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’, would be the artist of my choice. I would ask him one of the same questions you asked me: ‘What is your creative process when it comes to songwriting?’

BLAKE: In your opinion, which decade do you think produced some of the best music to date?
AKOUO: In my opinion, the 1970's produced some of the best music to date. That particular decade created music with a social conscience, a soul. Also, that music’s diversity of expression and full-sound quality, make it generationally relevant.

BLAKE: When you are working on a new song, who is the first person you share it with?
AKOUO: Because my concentric connections are many, it is hard to predict who the first person is that I share a new song I'm working on with. Most likely, however, it will be a family member.

BLAKE: Is there new material in the works and when will fans get to hear it?
AKOUO: Yes, there is new material, which should be released within the next six to nine months. It's a fifteen song album, with broad audience appeal; something for everyone!

BLAKE: I look forward to hearing your new work! Thank you for letting us get to know you better as a musician and I wish you the best of luck and continued success.