Creating Connections: Kairo McLean

September 20, 2023

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Born in Toronto on July 15, 2008, Kairo McLean is known for having been the youngest- ever reggae nominee and winner at the Juno Awards. At 13, his first-ever release, “Easy Now,” won a Juno.

Kairo grew up in a Jamaican household where reggae was a staple and Bob Marley, Super Cat and the old ’80-s DJs greatly influenced his musical journey. His father is Jamaican, and his mother is Canadian of Jamaican descent. The message of reggae for Kairo, is about the struggle of oppressed people and their liberation.

Mainly a self-taught musician, Kairo took his first drum lesson at age three and began playing guitar three years later. He grew up listening to reggae, which has not only helped determine his choice of music, but also who he is.

Juggling school and his musical career, Kairo is a committed scholar of reggae. His vast knowledge of the artists, past records, producers, musicians and sound systems reflects his passion for reggae. When composing his own music, he draws on this knowledge, while developing his own unique style. He is grateful to his parents for their encouragement over the years and for their help in pursuing his musical career.

The young performer has gained considerable recognition and praise in the reggae world: “To call this child a natural would be an understatement” (Reggaeville, online reggae magazine). FSWC was honoured to have him perform at our 2023 Freedom Day celebrations.