For the last few weeks Curaҫao has been blazing due to a series of energetic performances by the Dutch R&B crooner Gio, who was brought to our island by Lekker Lekker Productions. We were in for a seductive treat, as he belting out tunes like ‘ Van mij’ and ‘Bonny & Clyde’, which was covered by the band Cache, who famously added the passionate question, ‘Dushi, wat doe je met mij?’. Gio hinted since his arrival that he would bring a special guest to Curaҫao, which turned out to be the enigmatic dreadlocked rapper Keizer, who joined him for a special performance in the StrikeZone.
The Velvet Rope had the unique opportunity to sit down with the longtime friends, who are on our island for the first time and decided to combine work with a little fun under the Curaҫao sun. “Dude you’re darker then me”, Keizer exclaimed in amazement when he notices Gio’s caramel tan. “Yeah, we’ve been like fish, constantly in the water”, Gio replied, “We explored several beautiful beaches like Knip and Cas Abou, and the island is absolutely gorgeous”, he said. ‘It reminds us a bit of Surinam, the atmosphere and multicultural blend”, Keizer added.
Born Giovanni Jap-Ngie on February 7th, 1986 in Utrecht, Gio’s childhood was surrounded by music and he knew from a young age that he wanted to be an entertainer. He created a dance group with his cousins and started to do playback show in various clubs. It was during the same period that he met Keizer, who also performed at the same venues during open mic nights. As his career progressed Gio became the go-to opening act for every international R&B artist that visited the Netherlands, like Mary J. Blige, K-Ci & Jojo, Destiny’s Child, Ne-Yo, Jagged Edge, 112, B2K and Kanye West.
Born in Paramaribo on June 6th, 1987 as Rozelsky Lie A Jen, Keizer moved to the Netherlands at the age of two. Growing up, he initially didn’t listen to allot of rap music, and instead was a fan of singers like Mariah Carey. “Yet when I first heard 2Pac’s ‘Hit Em Up’, I was hooked and studied the lyrics intensely so I could perform them for my friends”, Keizer revealed. In 2004, Keizer started out with the rap group Blackside, and later as a solo artist, released the mix tape ‘Straategisch’ in 2008, which produced hits like ’Mama Sorry’, ‘Keizer Koning Admiraal’ and ‘Hoe ze Loopt’. Keizer is currently working on the much anticipated album ‘Karma’, which has been in the making for the past three years. The album was delayed due to some behind the scenes issues with management nevertheless Keizer is itching to finally release the album. “I can’t wait to release it! I’m currently revamping the tunes, because I feel that some of the songs have become dated”, Keizer explained. “When you are a perfectionist like we are, you want to produce the best”, Gio added.
Besides their numerous collaborations, Gio and Keizer are true kindred spirits since they’ve experienced many similar transitions during their careers. Now both are working with the enigmatic rapper and founder of SPEC Entertainment, Ali B, who has evolved into a multifaceted entertainer and well respected Dutch TV personality in his own right. Keizer is currently signed to NINDO, a partner of SPEC, and Gio is being managed by SPEC Entertainment. Working with Ali B on his popular show ‘Ali B op volle toeren’ significantly increased their mainstream exposure and has motivated both artists to do more TV work, like their infamous appearances on the Dino show. ‘From him we’ve learned to diversify, because if you only stick to music, you risk becoming one-dimensional”, Gio added.
In the near future, both artists are planning to do several entertainment ventures individually and with Ali B to increase their visibility, yet both vow to keep their music as their main priority.
Like Keizer, Gio is also working on his Dutch-language album that should be released later this year and has just finished an English language house track with famed producer Giorgio Tuinfort. As both artists continue to hone their careers and dream of taking their music world wide, they advise any up and coming artists to utilize the social media to the maximum. “That’s how we got to Curaҫao, through the fans”, they modestly admit. The energy between the guys is infectious, and you can tell that they work hard but play even harder. Curaҫao proved to be quite an exciting playing ground for the gentlemen, who let their presence be felt as they popped up at every hotspot and promised to return to Curaҫao soon. Just as Gio and Keizer have embraced our island, we’ve showed them that same love in return, proving that now they are family and have captured our hearts forever.