Kirk Ford, better known as “KoolFace”, started his music production career working with Reggae royalist, Sizzla Kalonji on a track entitled “All is well” in 2003/2004.
The body of work which KoolFace has managed to amass in the life span of his ever-evolving career lays testimony to the time and dedication he put into his craft.
Armed with an unpretentious and obliging disposition, KoolFace is never one to massage his ego, although, his musical portfolio could easily allow him such privileges.
His pioneering musical contributions came to full flourish, on Bajan Megastar, Rihanna’s album,”Girl like me”, which was released by Def Jam Recordings in April, 2006. His exceptional production work and writing skills not only promoted him to new heights, but it immortalized his abilities as an industry professional as one who could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the business.
KoolFace would go on to work with chart-topping recording artists like Kymani Marley (New Heights -Released 2011), Machel Montano (Block to Block – Released 2009), Elephant Man (Pon de river & Signal the plane – Released 2003), Bounty Killer (Sadder than), J Boog (Waiting on the rain to fall – Released 2011), Beenie Man (We come again – Released 2006), Ninja Man (We come to claim it) and Voicemail (Just Dance & Wacky Dip – Released 2008) and Vybz Kartel – Clark 3 on the Wallabee Riddim (Released 2010) .
Although these names just skim the surface of a growing artist repertoire, KoolFace, oddly enough, did not begin his career from the enclosure of a studio’s sound booth. Employed as a garment factory free zone worker, Ford made plastic molds for collars and cuffs of shirts. Factory life held little appeal since music always took center stage for him.
He muses,”Regardless of what I did, music was somehow incorporated”. Nostalgically, Ford recalls how he could transform any object into a drum to tap out beats. “I would gather information as a child and use what others considered useless to form rhymes and jingles. I would memorize songs and deejay them at Primary school while beating the desk to get a beat”. By the time he entered Secondary school, Ford’s heart had been captured by the booming vibrations of sound systems and he would try his hand at mimicking popular selectors and artistes. What was done in guess, turned into a subtle obsession and soon Ford began penning his own compositions.
His early musical influences, were Bob Marley, Super Cat, Dennis Brown, Tiger, Yellow man as well as contemporaries like Biggie Small, Bounty Killer, Baby Face, Buju Banton and Michael Jackson. These influences are sprinkled throughout his productions and songwriting. His taste in music is vast and broad and this comes from the diverse genres of music that he consumes. An avid fan of Reggae, Dancehall, Disco, Soca and Hip-Hop, Koolface’s style reflects a tempered interweaving of all of these.
His early days as a DJ is when he really sunk his teeth into the succulent richness of Jamaican music. Almost overnight, he had moved from listening to DJs to perfecting his own style. “I started out as a selecta on popular sound systems like Exodus Nuclear and Vendetta sound”. Deejaying came naturally to Ford and soon he found himself Deejaying with MacKa Diamond, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Munga Honorable, Wayne Marshall, Aliane, Elephant Man and Kartel, both locally and internationally. Apart from being a producer, who’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, Koolface also finds the time, somehow, to offer his services as a talent critique. “I also judge talent competitions like Magnum Kings and Queens and sound Clash competitions Like Guinness Sounds of Greatness and Boom All Star Thursday’s Sound Clash”.
Ford’s approach to music production and songwriting is painstakingly methodical and he speaks of “listening to a rhythm for days, weeks, even months in order to come up with the right melodies, flows, and lyrics to complement the rhythm”. All this mindfulness has paved the way for Ford to now become established as a Billboard Songwriter and recognized producer. Often Koolface carves out time for sustained mentorship. He’s keenly interested in being a part of a collaborative effort between himself and emerging producers, songwriters and performers in creating the sound of the future.
Ford routinely hosts free Production workshops open to anyone with the desire to succeed in the musical industry. He says,”It is important to share what I know with anyone who’s interested because music is a team effort and everyone involved, brings something unique to the table.