Skip to content
>> Home > People > Industry Champions > Kobi Onyame

Kobi Onyame

Kobi Onyame - Creative PEC

Recording artist, Producer and Songwriter

Kobi Onyame (b. Kwame Barfour-Osei, July 3rd, 1982) is a Ghanaian/British recording artist, producer and songwriter. Described by OkayAfrica magazine as “the UK hip-hop game’s unintentional preacher of sunny vibes…”, his music is a vibrant spectacle that draws heavily on African culture — both sonically and visually. “Kobi”, an acronym for his real name whilst “Onyame”, the Akan word meaning God, says the pseudonym acts as a constant reminder of his faith and to remind him to take God with him everywhere he goes.

Kobi was born in Accra, Ghana and grew up living his early years between Ghana, England & Scotland. He prides his style of music as being multicultural and diverse with early musical influences including the likes of Bone Thugs n Harmony, Talking Drums, Notorious BIG, Jay Z and Michael Jackson. He attended the University of Ghana in 1999 and is a founding member of one of Ghana’s pioneering Hip-Hop groups, Haatsville. After his bachelors degree, he returned to the UK to study for a Masters Degree in Business Economics at Strathclyde University.

His earliest musical success was with a mixtape in 2006 called “One/Ansa”. It was released with fellow UK based artist Myth and under his then pseudonym “Jae P”. The mixtape produced the single “Travelling Man” and was his first UK national radio play, premiered by DJ Ras Kwame on the Homegrown Show on BBC Radio 1Xtra in July, 2005. A few years later, tipped by Ras Kwame, Kobi went on to perform on the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury Festival on Sunday 28th June 2009. In 2007, after delivering a copy of “One/Ansa” to the promoters of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Kobi was asked to open for hip-hop superstar Kanye West on the Edinburgh date of his Glow In The Dark tour. He has since gone on to share the bill and tour with several artists including Nas, De La Soul, Wu Tang Clan, Sway, Akon and many others. In May 2008, he released his debut album “Unsigned & Hungry” to credible reviews. Later that year, after the death of his mother, he went on to change his stage name to Kobi Onyame.

In 2009, Kobi released the first single under his new pseudonym called “He Said She Said”. The song featured award winning UK rap artist and friend Sway. It was supported by BBC Radio 1Xtra and Radio 1. The second single “Inner City Lights” featured Canadian hip-hop pioneer Saukrates and Glasgow based singer songwriter Alistair Merrick. His second album “Green Green Grasses” was released on April 11th 2011. The album reached number 29 on the UK iTunes Rap/Hip-Hop charts and featured guest appearances from artists including Sway, Saukrates, M3nsa and a then unsigned Emeli Sande. The album went on to further establish Kobi as one of Scotland’s best and promising. Kobi Onyame was named one of the Class of 2011 Artists to Watch by The Sun. He was also listed as one of the Artists to Watch by BBC Radio Scotland DJ Vic Galloway. MTV named Kobi Onyame as one of it’s Brand New Unsigned Artists to Watch and he went on to be named winner of the regional Unsung Award by MOBO subsequently joining the 2012 MOBO Awards tour. UK youth broadcaster SB.TV also featured Kobi as a Ones to Watch artist for 2012. Kobi’s third album GLORY was released digitally on November 4th 2013. Reaching number 40 on the iTunes Rap/Hip-Hop albums chart. The album featured a majority of Kobi’s own production with guests including tour DJ to J Cole and Common, DJ Dummy. The album went on to produce radio success singles “Went Too Far” and “Call Out My Name” featuring Liverpool based soul artist KOF.

Kobi’s defining moment came with the release of his current album “GOLD”, released on September 1st 2017. The album received critical acclaim from music magazines including The Skinny, The List, Complex, Nation of Billions and Okayplayer and was recently nominated for the prestigious 2018 Scottish Album of the Year Award, picking up one of the coveted shortlist prizes. The album mashes his Ghanian heritage with contemporary hip-hop and creates an almost wistful echo of a yearning for home that somehow has its roots in the past and present simultaneously. Boasting singles “Imminence (Only Matter of Time o), “Chosen Ones” featuring M.anifest, “Still We Rise” featuring Wanlov the Kubolor and “Wedadi” featuring Heir of the Cursed, the album features a coming of age Kobi Onyame. The album has inspired a vibrant live show full of character, heart, soul as well as an art exhibition in which creative artists from different disciplines across the UK and Africa produced creative work in response to tracks from the album.


Industry Champions

Amir Hussain
Amir Hussain

Chief Executive at Yeme Architects

Ben Evans
Ben Evans

Director at London Design Festival

Inua Ellams
Inua Ellams

Poet, Playwright, Performer, Graphic Artist and Designer

Loyd Grossman
Loyd Grossman

Chairman of The Royal Parks

Michaela Greene
Michaela Greene

Development and Communications Director at Roundhouse

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis

Director of Digital Development at Royal Shakespeare Company

Syima Aslam
Syima Aslam

Director at Bradford Literature Festival

Tom Chalmers
Tom Chalmers

Founder and Managing Director at Legend Times Group

Tony Heaton
Tony Heaton

Freelance Sculptor and Performance Artist

Charlotte Beevor
Charlotte Beevor

Entrepreneurial Designer and Stylist

Kevin Beimers
Kevin Beimers

Director of Italic Pig

Stephen Bennett
Stephen Bennett

Joint Head of Policy Lab and Visual artist

Sarah Bird
Sarah Bird

Director of Wild Rumpus

Wolfgang Buttress - Creative PEC
Wolfgang Buttress

Artist

Ben Carlin
Ben Carlin

Co-Founder of Megaverse and Immerse Sheffield

Phil Critchlow
Phil Critchlow

Founder and CEO of TBI Media

Stephanie Edwards
Stephanie Edwards

Co-Founder of Urban Symbiotics

Tom Adeyoola
Tom Adeyoola

Entrepreneur

Alia Alzougbi
Alia Alzougbi

Artist, Educator and Cultural Producer

Sade Banks
Sade Banks

Founder and CEO of Sour Lemons

Natalie Griffith
Natalie Griffith

Brand & Marketing Director of Unit 2 Games

Mandy Barker
Mandy Barker

Founder of Sail Creative

Lucy Bayliss
Lucy Bayliss

Head of Creative Programmes at DanceEast

Jennifer Johnston - Creative PEC
Jennifer Johnston

Head of Learning at Into Film

Reiko Kaneko - Creative PEC
Reiko Kaneko

Ceramicist, Designer and Educator

Kurban Kassam - Creative PEC
Kurban Kassam

Freelance Film Producer

Noel Kelly - Creative PEC
Noel Kelly

Chief Executive Officer and Director at Visual Artists Ireland

Anra Kennedy - Creative PEC
Anra Kennedy

Content and Partnerships Director at Culture24

Nick Keynes - Creative PEC
Nick Keynes

Director at Tileyard Studios

Vikas Kumar - Creative PEC
Vikas Kumar

Founder and Director of GemArts

Hope Dickson Leach - Creative PEC
Hope Dickson Leach

Writer and Director

Anna Lowe - Creative PEC
Anna Lowe

Co-founder and Director of Partnerships at Smartify

Amanda Maxwell - Creative PEC
Amanda Maxwell

Community Manager and board member of shesaid.so

Vaughn McKenzie - Creative PEC
Vaughn McKenzie

CEO of JAAK

Fiona McLaughlin - Creative PEC
Fiona McLaughlin

Co-founding Director at Taunt Studios

Conor Mitchell - Creative PEC
Conor Mitchell

Founder and Artistic Director of The Belfast Ensemble

Jo Morrison - Creative PEC
Jo Morrison

Director of Digital Innovation at Calvium

Helen Mort - Creative PEC
Helen Mort

Author

Liz Mosley - Creative PEC
Liz Mosley

Self-employed Graphic Designer

Dave Moutrey - Creative PEC
Dave Moutrey

Director and CEO at HOME

Kobi Onyame - Creative PEC
Kobi Onyame

Recording artist, Producer and Songwriter

Rachel O'Riordan - Creative PEC
Rachel O’Riordan

Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Laura Pye - Creative PEC
Laura Pye

Director at National Museums Liverpool

Lara Ratnaraja - Creative PEC
Lara Ratnaraja

Cultural Consultant

Indhu Rubasingham - Creative PEC
Indhu Rubasingham

Artistic Director at Kiln Theatre

Will Saunders - Creative PEC
Will Saunders

Consultant and Executive Producer

Michelle Adia Scarlett - Creative PEC
Michelle Adia Scarlett

Community Immersive Producer

Nasima Siddiqui - Creative PEC
Nasima Siddiqui

Co-Founder at WyndyMilla

Jaswinder Singh - Creative PEC
Jaswinder Singh

Director of Asian Arts Agency

Amy Smith - Creative PEC
Amy Smith

Head of Talent at Framestore

Nick Starr - Creative PEC
Nick Starr

Co-Founder at Bridge Theatre

Tolu Stedford - Creative PEC
Tolu Stedford

Development Producer at the Independent Film Trust and CEO of Creative Lions Productions

Phil Stuart - Creative PEC
Phil Stuart

Founder and Creative Director of PRELOADED

Maria Tanjala - Creative PEC
Maria Tanjala

Co-founder of Big Couch and FilmChain

Nia Thomas - Creative PEC
Nia Thomas

Managing Director at Boom Cymru

Yehrin Tong - Creative PEC
Yehrin Tong

Illustrator

Polly Tootal - Creative PEC
Polly Tootal

Freelance Photographer

Zing Tseng - Creative PEC
Zing Tsjeng

Freelance Journalist

Sandeep Virdee - Creative PEC
Sandeep Virdee

Artistic Director and Founder Trustee at Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust

Annie Warburton - Creative PEC
Annie Warburton

Chief Executive at Cockpit Arts

Sharon Watson - Creative PEC
Sharon Watson

CEO and Principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Claire Whitaker - Creative PEC
Claire Whitaker

Bid Director, Southampton City of Culture 2025

Nia Williams - Creative PEC
Nia Williams

Director of Learning and Engagement at National Museum Wales

Annie Lydford - Creative PEC
Annie Lydford

Annie is Managing Director at Nevill Holt Opera

Author

Tags:
Sign up to our newsletter