Blazing with KO 

Toronto-based urban folk artist sings of struggles of addiction on debut album, Let’s Blaze

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Who: KO

When: Saturday, May 15, __ p.m.

Where: GLC

People usually write and sing about what they know and what they've lived, exploring themes of love and loss. But musician Ko Kapaches - or just KO - likes to get a little more "real" with his material.

"My personal opinion is that love and loss has been done to fucking death," KO said. "I love you, you love me, who cares, man? There's more in the world out there than love. Soft music makes me want to blow my brains out; you've got to give people the realness."

He pauses.

"That's probably why I love rap so much, because it's a guy who's got nothing, giving his all."

KO doesn't make rap, but he knows how to keep it real. Raised in a middle-class Greek family in Toronto, KO fell into the trap of selling and using a rainbow of drugs at a young age, a lifestyle that ultimately landed him in a series of rehabilitation centres throughout the U.S.

"It wasn't fun," he sighed. "When I was 14, I had just started getting into drugs and then I got shipped to rehab shortly after that."

But rehab didn't seem to stick; he attended three separate programs, graduating from just one. Instead, he's discovered a personal rehab in his own music, signing to Atlantic Records in the U.S. and releasing his debut album, Let's Blaze , last year. The project is an honest, introspective account of KO's struggle to overcome drug addiction.

"My record, I call it a therapy session," KO said. "It's like my craziness all put down on disc.

"I've been to many AA meetings and all that stuff - and it's not my thing. I don't like attend and go - but the most important thing they say is that if you don't realize you've made those mistakes you're going to keep making them, and talking about them is the best way to realize you screwed up, so..."

His lyrics are greatly influenced by the personal struggles he's endured with drugs and living in the streets.

"I like to think of myself as a folk musician. But I'm not singing about country folk things, I'm singing about city folk things. I didn't come from an impoverished background, but I still see things on the street every day," his bio reads.

The process of assembling such a personal project wasn't easy.

"Putting (the album) together was as hard as it was to write everything, you know? My next one is probably going to be a little happier because I have more happy stuff to talk about."

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