TKA circa 1990 (Tony, Kayel, and Angel)
|Origin||New York, New York, USA|
|Years active||1984–1991; 2001–present|
|Labels||Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records|
|Associated acts||George Lamond|
|Members||K7 (Louis Sharpe), LOS (Carlos Reyes) TRE (Wilson Vasquez|
|Past members||India George LaMond|
TKA is a Latin freestyle trio that was prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s, mainly in New York City and Miami, Florida. Its members originally were Tony Ortiz, Louis "Kayel" Sharpe, and Alejandro "Aby" Escoto—the original lead singer. Due to personal health issues Aby was later replaced by Angel "Love" Vasquez. The acronym TKA initially represented their collective initials. Early on, the group's members would state in interviews that the acronym stood for "Total Knowledge in Action" as well. Many Freestyle fans (to this day) consider them the kings of that genre.
Hailing from New York City, TKA was discovered when it sang at a sweet sixteen party in an East Harlem church in 1984. Record producer and manager Joey Gardner, who attended the party, was impressed with the trio, and, with his help, signed with Tommy Boy Records. The group originally consisted of Tony, Kayel, and Ralph " Aby" Cruz—who was replaced by Angel Vasquez after the release of the single "Tears May Fall". Although not widely known, India was a member of the group in its earliest days, as well. The group's first single was "One Way Love", a major hit in the Latin club communities of New York and Miami, which was followed by "Come Get My Love". An album was then recorded, titled Scars of Love, which included the first two singles. The title track was then released as a single, followed by "Tears May Fall", "X-Ray Vision", and "Don't Be Afraid".
The album Louder Than Love was released in 1990, accompanied by its first single, "I Won't Give Up on You", a slick contemporary R&B groove that was quite a departure from their earlier material, stylistically. 1991 saw even more diversity of sound with the release of the singles "Crash (Have Some Fun)", a house music hit that featured a hip hop vocal by Michelle Visage of the group Seduction; "Give Your Love to Me" produced by Platinum producer Frankie Cutlass and "Louder Than Love".
As a result of Freestyle's waning popularity as a new age of music dawned, the trio stopped recording soon after the single "Louder Than Love" was released. A greatest hits package was released in 1992, with a new track, "Maria", which was released as a single.
Following the split, the members of TKA went on to pursue independent interests. Kayel recorded under the name K7 and had a hit hip-hop album called Swing, Batta, Swing, which contained the hit singles "Zunga Zeng" produced by Platinum Producer Frankie Cutlass (which interpolated and was loosely based on Reggae legend Yellowman's 1983 early Dancehall hit "Zungguzungguguzungguzeng"); "Come, Baby, Come"; and the Cab Calloway-influenced "Hi De Ho". Tony established a production company in New York, and Angel formed the contemporary R&B group Goodfellaz.
The trio reunited in 2001 and recorded the album Forever, which was released by Tommy Boy shortly before the company ended its joint venture with Warner Bros. Records. As with many entertainment groups group members change from time to time due to a series of reasons. (Ex. creative differences, business differences, personal reasons, etc). In 2004 after the separation of the trio for the second time Kayel (K7) decided to reinvent the group by collaborating both the TKA and K7 genres into one explosive entity and bringing in two of his group members from The Swing Kids Tre and LOS to accomplish this goal. The concept was a tremendous success. It created an insurgence of excitement from promoters, clubs and the fans more then it had ever seen before and continues to maintain this elevation by the continued explosiveness of this new trio's performance of song, dance and style. From Arenas, to clubs and private events it bares testimony to a saying that came within the group........ "The music gets you there but the performance keeps you there". The group has been under management with Victor Popovic since 2006 who has help cultivate this movement and who continues to be focal point to their continued success.