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Kwesi K: The Former Football Player Turned Busker (And New Philadelphian).

October 9, 2013

Text by Kyle Bagenstose.

When Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Kwesi K releases his EP, PRONOUNS, next month, he might have the chance to finally put down the guitar and catch his breath. Until then though, the grind continues.

The smooth-singing Kwesi K, whose music will please fans of Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, is giving listeners a taste of the new album with release of the EP’s first single, “Fold.” The song, like the rest of the album, was produced by Fishtown-based producer and drummer Charlie Patierno. It was Kwesi K’s first time being professionally recorded.

kwesi2“We started recording in January, but it was a slow process because we both played out of town a lot,” Kwesi K says.

Kwesi, who was born in Alaska but raised in Ohio, only began to play music seriously in 2010 after he quit the Lehigh University football team. On an eye-opening trip to Barcelona, he was busking in a park when passersby stopped and paid compliments.

He then relocated to Philadelphia in 2012 and released his first EP, Ran Away From Me, in his first night in the city, using 30th Street Station’s free Wi-Fi.

“I promised all these people that I was going to release the thing, and the train station was the only place I knew that had Internet. It was the slowest upload speed, but I made it by midnight,” he says, laughing.

Since then, he’s played shows in venues around the city, gone on a series of tours and successfully raised $6,000 through a Kickstarter fund, which he then used to pay session musicians during his recordings with Patierno.

“Fold” features the backing vocals of Philly’s Birdie Busch, while other songs on the EP will feature city talent Leon Jordan, Jr. on trumpet and horn, as well as the voice of singer-songwriter Ginger Coyle, winner of the 2011 Philadelphia Songwriter Project.

Kwesi K is hoping his hard work will pay off with the release of PRONOUNS and that the EP will introduce his music to new listeners in the city and beyond, while showcasing a “soulful Philly sound.”

Then, maybe a short break.

“It’s been a really busy year,” he says, “but there’s that love of being busy too. It’s a healthy stress.”

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