Based out of Maui, Hawaii, Koa Lopes, publicly known as Inna Vision, pursued his dream at the young age of 10, performing at his school. He launched his career as a reggae/dancehall artist in 2005. Since then, he has shared stages with Tribal Seeds, Fortunate Youth, SOJA, Collie Buddz, and J Boog among many more internationally known reggae stars. Since 2008, Inna Vision has released four full-length albums, 5 EP’s and numerous singles. In March of 2017 he released his latest EP, “Highest Grade” which smoothly blends, reggae, dancehall and hip hop. Very soon he’ll be launching his promotional tour. On October 7th, 2017 he had a guest appearance at Orlando, Florida’s annual Reggae on the Block music fest, and took some time to chat with us on Altwire.
[AltWire/Omayra Lopez]: I first wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and any other fun facts you’d like us to know?
[Inna Vision]: My name is Koa, Koa Lopes, I go by the movement name of Inna Vision and I’m 32, I’m from Maui, Hawai’i, Hawai’i Nei, I’m in love with music and I’ve been on the steady movement of pushing the sound to the world.
AW: Music was naturally a part of your life during your upbringing in Maui, but what ultimately inspired your drive to becoming a musician? What was your “Inna Vision”?
[IV]: My first inspiration of my music came with my grandma, we call her Mama, she passed away when I was maybe 10 years old, she gave me an ukulele and a grand piano, and from that moment that she left me with that, I fell in love with music and started to play it. That was the first time I heard music, I had the ukulele and I heard music you know? Sentimentally that is what started my musical journey, with those instruments. I’ve always had a big love for reggae music since I was a young kid. The first big song I was in love with was “Broader than Broadway”, by Barrington Levy, and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
The first concert I went to was Steel Pulse when I was 12 years old. My mom took me to that show and realized that’s what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do with my life. I was well exposed to reggae music. Just keep living the message of reggae music, life driven, positive. That started me off. From age 10 music has been non stop. My first actual performance was in the 5th grade. I sang a song for the whole class at my banquet, I sang Bob Marley’s “Macka B”. Everyone loved Bob Marley! That was the first song I ever played in public. I went to like a bigger school in 6th grade and I met other musicians. That’s where I started getting groups together and I was playing. It’s been my whole life.
AW: With the reggae scene always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it?
[IV]:There’s nothing I don’t like about it. Maybe one thing, not enough tour money, show money paid to artists. I’m speaking for America because I haven’t toured anywhere else in the world. I feel like pay for the bands and music starts very low, at a low minimum wage. Sometimes even to play with a bigger artist you have to perform for free or even pay to play it. That’s my only complaint, industry stuff, but musically, there’s no bad thing about reggae that is, should be a problem. I respect every style and every message there is. I think it’s different people’s version of reggae and the bottom line is that reggae is love, reggae music is love. As far as the scene and industry, I love everything, the only thing I wish, hope for is a little more knowledge from certain areas, maybe research the bands more, and like really see how much the band has been living this lifestyle and not just look at me like “he’s a new guy!” or look at anybody like they’re a new dude, first time playing this club here’s $100!” Nah man look at the history they’ve been playing for 10 years and who they’ve played with. I’m not saying that’s where I’m at right now but I’ve had to work through that time. That’s a time in everyone’s career and we have to deal with it but I just wish it wasn’t that hard you know?
AW: What do you miss from home the most during your tour?
[IV]: My family, my mom, my sister, my nephew, my nieces, the dogs, sentimental things but every great thing comes with sacrifice. I’m thankful that my family supports what I do. You feel stronger when your family supports you. My family is all involved. They all encourage me to do it, that’s what I miss the most. I love my home and all but it’s good to live in the world in general and have a balance of home and traveling abroad, everywhere has it’s beauty. I know I live in Hawaii, the most beautiful place in the world, but it’s good for me to get out because it helps me appreciate where I come from.
AW: Do you have any hobbies outside of music?
[IV]: Yes, my next love would probably be bodyboarding and surfing. I do what the waves call for. It’s my lifestyle back home. We’re ocean people, we live how the ocean is. I like to go exercising, go to the gym and exercising, keep my heart rate nice and steady.
AW: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
[IV]: I would be searching the most perfect waves all over the world. I would be a surf rat. Traveling, living life in different places!
AW: Before we close, is there a message you would like to send to your fans and future listeners?
[IV]: Be a survivor, be yourself. Identify yourself with yourself, don’t be afraid to be an individual and express yourself. Don’t follow trends. Be yourself, love yourself, love who you are. Take care of yourself don’t be so hard on yourself. When the bad times come rolling through look on the bright side. Keep rolling, find a way to make things work. Find a way to live your life. Love yourself and love yourself more!
AW: Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us. We look forward to seeing more of you in the future!
“Real Type of Cop” Official Promo Video
Connect with Inna Vision