At first glance, Iakopo doesn’t look like what you’d expect for a typical reggae music artist: He’s tall and white with dreadlocks.
But, with the launch of his first U.S. single “Touchdown,” featuring Shaggy, he could be reggae music’s next breakout star in America.
Born into a Mormon family in Southern California but raised in Samoa, the boy originally known as Jacob Scott Jones knew that music would be a special part of his life from an early age: “I remember when I was really young, like maybe 3 or 4 [years old], and listening to ‘Red Red Wine’ [by UB40] ... I just loved that music.”
During his chat with NBC News, Iakopo — the Samoan version of his birth name — discussed his life and the multitude of adopted family members that took him in when he was ripped from his childhood home Orange County and sent to the South Pacific. “I lived with the whole family, it was all in one small piece of land in the village ... there must have been at least sixty or seventy of us,” he chuckles.
Finding humor in his circumstances is evidence that music has been both a method of expression and a remedy to heal emotional trauma from his childhood prior to being adopted by his Samoan family.