Jahkoy Goes From Couch Surfing To Making Waves

Musician Jahkoy Talks Working With Jaden Smith and Joining Kehlani’s Tour

From couch surfing to making waves.

At age 20, Jahkoy was surfing from couch to couch in Los Angeles. Three years later and now the R&B artist is making waves in the music industry. He’s on tour opening for Kehlani, who was a fan of his even before the two met at Chicago's Lollapalooza. It seems like Drake was an early fan too: he played Jahkoy’s breakout track "Still In Love" on OVOSound Radio back in 2015. Those early successes led Jahkoy to sign with Def Jam and releasing a stellar EP called Foreign Water in 2016. Those accolades aren’t bad for a Toronto native who moved to California with nothing but a dream just a few years ago. So how’d he get here?

He’d started out rapping back in Toronto, where he started singing to expand his sound and landed on R&B as a natural combination of both. Eventually, the tracks he posted on Soundcloud caught the attention of a certain young visionary.

“Within like five days of being in LA, Jaden Smith reached out to me. He got ahold of my SoundCloud,” Jahkoy told Teen Vogue over the phone. “Jaden was like, ‘Yo, dude, we've been playing your SoundCloud all day. If you're in LA come to this address.’” Like most of us, Jahkoy felt that Jaden Smith’s guidance was a pretty next-level gift of divine intervention. He went to the random address in the Hidden Hills and befriended with the Smiths and their gang of budding artists, going on to record a track with Willow and establish a collective called 1234 Creations.

Now that Jahkoy’s gotten a record deal and been on the road with Kehlani, he’s gearing up to release new music and drop a series of visuals for Foreign Water. Before we get hit with all his new work, we talked to Jahkoy about where his sound comes from, getting to know Kehlani, what Foreign Water means, and why he looks up to Rihanna’s fearless attitude.

Teen Vogue: How did you work up the courage to move to LA so young, and how did your success happen?

Jahkoy: I was in Toronto and I wasn't in school or working at the time, I was staying at my grandma's house. My grandma got like fed up seeing me around the house, she was like, "What are you going to do with yourself? You need to do something, if you want to do music, you really like, need to pursue it instead of hoping for something to happen right here at the house.” I had one homie that I'd been like in contact with through Twitter like for a few years now who was based in LA, so I went. I was just trying to figure it out through like most of the people that I had been in contact with through Twitter or SoundCloud at the time, and that’s how the Jaden Smith connection happened. That was incredible. I have a song with Willow that's actually out, it's called, "Nature V12" on SoundCloud.

Read more @TeenVogue 



  • Images with a data-picture-mapping attribute will be responsive, with a file size appropriate for the browser width.