TKA was a Latin Freestyle trio that was prominent in the 1980s and early 1990s, mainly in New York City and Miami, Florida. Its members were Tony Ortiz, Louis "Kayel" Sharpe, and Ralph "Aby" Cruz, later replaced by Angel "Love" Vasquez. The acronym TKA represents their collective initials. Early on, the group's members would state in interviews that the acronym stood for "Total Knowledge in Action," as well. All of TKA's members are of Puerto Rican descent. Many Freestyle fans consider them the kings of that genre, although Kayel downplays this label, having stated, "There are no kings in Freestyle."
Hailing from New York City, TKA were discovered when they 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, were signed to Tommy Boy Records. The group originally consisted of Tony, Kayel, and Ralph "Aby" Cruz, but Aby was replaced by Alejandro "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 "Come Get My Love," which was followed by "One Way Love," a major hit in the Latin club communities of New York and Miami. An album was then recorded, entitled Scars of Love, which included the first two singles. The title track was then released as a single, followed by "Tears May Fall," "Don't Be Afraid," and "X-Ray Vision."
In 1989, the soundtrack of the film "Lean on Me" featured the single "You Are the One."
The album Louder Than Love was released in 1990, accompanied by its first single, "I Won't Give Up on You," a slick R&B/Hip-Hop 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 rap vocal by Michelle Visage of the group Seduction, "Give Your Love to Me," and "Louder Than Love."
That same year the trio also performed the song "Are You for Real" on the popular syndicated television program It's Showtime at the Apollo.
Due to Freestyle's declining popularity as a new age of music dawned, TKA were dropped from the Tommy Boy roster soon after the single "Louder Than Love" was released, and the trio disbanded. 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 "Come, Baby, Come" and the Cab Calloway-influenced "Hi De Ho." Tony established a production company in New York, and Angel joined the contemporary R&B group Goodfellas.
2000 to Present
TKA reunited in 2001 and recorded the album Forever, which was released on November 6, 2001. Of the 12 songs contained on that album, only one was released as a single, the smooth house-influenced track "Feel the Music." The album's promotional failure was largely due to Tommy Boy’s faltering relationship with Warner Bros. Records, the result of which was poor sales figures. Angel left the group and was replaced by popular freestyle singer George Lamond. After recording an album entitled TKA Featuring George Lamond, the members of the group disbanded and went their separate ways. The album was never released commercially, and today exists only in the form of a handful of demos that were shopped to a few record companies. The name TKA, however, lives on through its former frontman Kayel, now billed as K7, who performs the well-known TKA hits in clubs throughout New York City. He is also a DJ at New York's popular dance-music station 103.5 KTU. Although the group parted ways, it is still popular in New York City, Chicago, and Miami, and has had a resurgence of interest, thanks to recent regional Freestyle revivals.
TKA was notable in Freestyle circles for their cutting-edge sound and recognition as leaders in the genre, inspiring an entire generation of urban Latino artists. Their main producer and manager Joey Gardner deserves much of the credit for crafting TKA's sound and successfully guiding them as artists throughout their careers. TKA are revered in the Freestyle community for presenting opportunities for many other Latino performers to create dance music. Out of all Freestyle performers, TKA remains one of the most popular, and their music is a mainstay on Freestyle playlists worldwide.Source: answers.com
1 I Won't Give Up On You
2 Are You For Real
3 Something In My Heart
4 Anyone In Love
5 Crash (Have Some Fun)
6 You Are The One
7 The Way It Used To Be
8 Give Your Love To Me
9 I Can't Help It
10 Louder Than Love
11 I Won't Give Up On You (Alternative Bass Mix)
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