Kossisko Konan (ASCAP)

Abe Olman Scholarship, 2024

What does it mean to be your true self? Not your best self or even your worst self, just your unadulterated, unadorned self. Kossisko’s creative and personal life is a reminder that no one does justice to themselves without living their deepest truth–and this is the road to real empowerment.
Born of African and Jewish blood, Kossisko was raised in the eclectic air of Berkeley, California. Conversely, when Kossisko was a teen his father sent him to live in the Ivory Coast where he spent two hard years bouncing around between boarding schools and family members. The diversity of these experiences contributed greatly to the singer, songwriter and actor’s unique gifts. 
Kossisko portrayed a DJ in HBO’s wildly successful Euphoria, and portrayed himself in two seasons of Netflix’s Sex/Life. His music has been licensed in a variety of television shows and used in video games including Grand Theft Auto V. Marvel comics even paid homage to one of Kossisko’s early album covers. His exceptional musical output has been lauded in publications like NYLON, Fader, SPIN, Vulture, VICE and Pitchfork to name a few. As an artist who has lived at the intersection of film, music and fashion, he’s been featured in an iPhone campaign and additionally shined as a sought after model, working for Billionaire Boys Club, Mr. Saturday and Midnight Studios. All this visibility put the Grammy nominated songwriter in a circle with some of the biggest artist in the world, as his charisma and artistry could not be denied.
Still with all that career actualization, Kossisko struggled with feeling like an outsider–quietly carrying that emotion from a young age. But after surviving a traumatic brain injury, a crossroad moment was at hand. Now, as a proud gender-fluid person of color, Kossisko embraces the power to live authentically. Fearlessly carving out a new path that merges artistic expression with living his deep personal truth. This free spirit now fully embraces the philosophy of P-funk mastermind George Clinton who shouted, “Free your mind and your ass will follow!”
It’s no doubt that Kossisko has always had an edge. But with a new album and vibe dubbed WTFUNK, the artist takes that edge to another level. Beyond a sound that is less reliant on technology and more reliant on a raw, natural feel, this music also pays homage to vanguards like Lady Gaga, Rick James, Prince, Donna Summer and others. Because like them, Kossisko wants an inherent freedom, even a self-indulgence to express whatever the funk he wants.
Kossisko’s expression through this new music encourages everyone to not give a damn about what others think about you. Nor be marginalized because of your challenges. So whether it’s mental health issues, anxiety, depression or anything that would hold one back from having agency, his music affirms that we all deserve joy and the space to be who we are without being defined by people who don’t get you. Kossisko believes this attitude is the highest form of self-care, a self-care that lets you take your rightful place in the world.
“I want to maintain a clarity about myself and my music so that I’m not projecting anyone else’s limited thinking.” – Kossisko
Starting this latest musical journey in Los Angeles, Kossisko started to feel less and less connected to the world around him and soon felt contrived energies leaking into the studio. Instinctively sensing a change was needed, Kossisko traveled far away–very far away, ending up in Auckland, New Zealand. With sweeping views of the Tasman Sea and reflective strolls through the lush rainforest, inspiration emerged.
With these newfound energies, a vision was starting to manifest itself. Kossisko says, “New Zealand brought on a sense of groundedness and a feeling of being more human.” The artist, who now identifies as they or them, really got into the roots of funk while recording in the beautiful South Pacific. Galvanizing a group of live musicians, Kossisko was more empowered to be organic, more empowered to spread love and even more empowered to just have fun. Kossisko knows for sure that this audacious music is what is needed now–and personally, this is exactly where this innovative artist wants to be.