Kwame Kwaten

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Kwame Kwaten
Kwame D Influence.jpg
Background information
Birth name Kwame Amankwa Kwaten
Born (1967-05-13) 13 May 1967 (age 50)
Origin London UK
Genres Soul, acid jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, producer
Instruments Keyboards
Years active Since 1984
Labels Acid Jazz Records
East West America
Dome Records
Associated acts D Influence

Kwame Amankwa Kwaten (born 1967, London, England) is a musician, record producer, manager and music industry consultant.


Early years[edit]

Kwame Kwaten started his artistic career in the middle of the eighties at the Warminster Athenaeum[1] as part of the school band Outcry. He spent the next few years learning his trade in many different bands. One of these bands called Rebekkah was formed with his old school friend Andrew Ross from Outcry in 1984. Rebekkah led Kwame and Andrew to a production deal at Courtyard Studios in Oxford where they settled for a year learning the ins and outs of the studio.

D – Influence : 1989–99[edit]

Steve Marston was a session saxophone player. Rebekkah used Steve for a session and it was then that Kwaten's friendship with Steve Marston started. Kwame had started working at the Borderline Club in London as a compère employed by Neil Conti of Prefab Sprout and Raye Cosbert when he and Steve formed the band D - Influence with Ed Baden Powell, Sarah Anne Webb and Ned Bigham (who was to leave the band after the release of the first album). D – Influence had taken their demos to record labels without any luck and so they decided to release their own music independently. The first of these recordings was I'm the One which they sold straight to record stores themselves out of the back of a van. Kwame gave one of these records to London DJ Tim Westwood and it was he who played D – Influence first on Capital Radio. A record deal with Acid Jazz Records followed.

D – Influence then signed to Atlantic Records and began recording their album Good 4 We. Their early support had mostly been through new London pirate station Kiss FM. There was no national radio airplay for music from the Acid Jazz scene at the time. This meant that the only way D – Influence could reach a fan base was through live music. So D – Influence toured for some time getting their break being offered the support slot on the Michael Jackson Dangerous Tour. This change in fortune led to many American acts requesting them as a support act. Michael Jackson, En Vogue, Prince, Naughty By Nature, James Brown all had D – Influence as an opening act. The band also played for Björk on her Debut album performance on Later ... With Jools Holland.[2][3]

Production : 1992–2001[edit]

With no huge hit but a large live following D – Influence own productions started to gain notoriety amongst other musicians and labels. After the release of their self-produced album Good 4 We, they started productions and remixes for artists such as Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones, Seal, Jay-Z, Tom Jones, Beverley Knight, Lighthouse Family, Changing Faces or Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates.

Shola Ama : 1995–2002[edit]

Shola Ama was the discovery that broke D – Influence as mainstream producers. The story of her discovery has also become folklore. Kwame Kwaten was refused a cab at Hammersmith Station so he turned and walked in to catch a train. There he heard Shola Ama humming as she walked. He auditioned her on the platform and gave her his business card. She soon became a regular at D – Influence Studios where her first album Much Love was recorded. Shola was signed to D – Influence Productions own label Freakstreet and licensed to Warner Bros in 1995 – 1996. Her first album Much Love went on to sell over a million copies worldwide. Although not as popular in the UK, her second album In Return, also produced by D – Influence, went on to break airplay records in France.[4][5]

Urban music seminar : 1997–2004[edit]

Kwame was the founder of the biggest European Urban Music Seminar. The seminar was set up to pass on much of what he and many others had learnt about the music business as they saw it. It was, as Kwame describes it, a "harsh no frills edutainment spectacle" whose numbers swelled from 500 people in 1998 to 15 000 over two days at the Royal Festival Hall in 2004. Many stars from the music world spoke and gave free advice at these events such as Kanye West, Jazzie B, Tim Westwood, Kanya King, Trevor Nelson, Damon Dash, Mathew Knowles, Norman Jay.[6]

Mentoring and lecturing: since 2002[edit]

Kwame Kwaten was a carer for The Adolescent and Children's Trust and also does charity workshops for YESS, a London charity that dispenses educational advice for inner city children. He also uses his music industry experience to teach music students as a lecturer at various institutions around London including the University of Westminster.

Artist management : since 2006[edit]

Kwame started working as a manager at ATC Management in 2006. He currently looks after Laura Mvula, The Night VI, Steve Brown, Shannon Saunders and Kerry Leatham. As well as partnering with ATC Management, Kwame also started his own management company called Ferocious Talent where he works with new acts Sarah Walk and Hollie McNish. He also acts as an international consultant and manages and advises international acts, brands, actors and actresses on the music business in Europe. Kwame has helped steer the careers of Rob Chiarelli and Preeya Kalidas ( Bend It Like Beckham ; Bombay Dreams ; EastEnders ). Kwame also co founded The Ultimate Seminar, an annual Music Seminar that enables young people to network with like minded people and a hear from influential industry professionals about the music business and what it takes to succeed. Kwame is also co founder of Cre8ing Vision.






  1. ^ [1] Warminster Athenaeum Website
  2. ^ [2] Official Björk Website
  3. ^ [3] Björk and D – Influence on Jools Holland in July 1993
  4. ^ [4] Shola Ama Biography on Last FM
  5. ^ [5] Shola Ama Biography on My Space
  6. ^ [6] Urban Music Seminar Details
  7. ^ [7] Good 4 We on Discogs
  8. ^ [8] Prayer 4 Unity on Discogs
  9. ^ [9] London on Discogs
  10. ^ [10] D – Vas on Discogs
  11. ^ [11] Much Love on Discogs
  12. ^ [12] In Return on Discogs
  13. ^ [13] Supersonic on Discogs
  14. ^ [14] Still Waters on Discogs
  15. ^ [15] Out of Focus on Discogs
  16. ^ [16] Official Björk Website
  17. ^ [17] Björk and D – Influence on Jools Holland in July 1993
  18. ^ [18] Bring It On on Discogs
  19. ^ [19] Prayer for the Dying on Discogs
  20. ^ [20] Let's Get Down on Discogs
  21. ^ [21] Horny on Discogs
  22. ^ [22] Return of the Mack on Discogs
  23. ^ [23] I Got Somebody Else on Discogs
  24. ^ [24] Crazy on Discogs
  25. ^ [25] Rain Cloud on Discogs
  26. ^ [26] Tell Me on Discogs
  27. ^ [27] Wishing on a Star on Discogs
  28. ^ [28] Testify on Discogs
  29. ^ [29] Situation : Critical on Discogs
  30. ^ [30] Not Over You Yet on Discogs
  31. ^ [31] Why You Follow Me on Discogs
  32. ^ [32] Looking Out My Window on Discogs
  33. ^ [33] Stranger Than Fiction on Discogs
  34. ^ [34] Shape of You on Discogs

External links[edit]