About

Wilko Wilkes is an alternative rapper, writer, lyricist, singer, MC & storyteller from West Yorkshire, UK.

During a course of counselling for lifelong depression in 2019, struggling under the weight of his unfulfilled urge for a creative outlet, he decided to follow his dream of becoming a recording artist and live performer. Having now achieved those goals, he’s working on his debut album “Life is not a Rehearsal” with support from Help Musicians.

Wilko is rapidly gaining a cult following in the Yorkshire music scene due to his engaging live set which is delivered at blistering pace with pinpoint precision.

2021 saw him play a number of successful live sets including his first headline gig in Bingley, supporting Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer in Leeds, impressing crowds at Bradford Buskival and rapping atop the Cow and Calf rocks on Ilkley Moor.

He writes and raps from the heart, blending his troubled and uneasy outlook on life with messages of hope, unity & respect, peppered with humorous wordplay, mundane real-life references and unexpected twists.

A lover of music, he takes inspiration from a wide variety of genres, resulting in an alternative style of rap which is truly his own.

Always progressing, he is now producing his own beats and mixing his own tracks following private mentoring sessions with legendary hip hop producer HashFinger funded by Bradford Producing Hub.

Passionate about his local community, he holds several volunteer roles and has raised thousands of pounds for charities close to his heart such as Andy’s Man Club, Alzheimers Society, Motor Neurone Disease Association, St George’s Crypt, Shelter and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

He has also started facilitating fun confidence-building creative rap workshops for children in schools in Bradford, Leeds and Ilkley with Art Camp UK and on a freelance basis, including going back to his old primary school in Menston to deliver a full day of workshops with their year 5 and 6 students.

His tracks can be found on radio stations and playlists worldwide, gaining over 300,000 streams as well as featuring on media channels such as Authority Magazine, BCB Radio, Bradford Music Network, British Hip Hop, Chapel FM, Click Roll Boom, Happy Hour TV, Light on Leeds, Music:Leeds, New Artist Spotlight, New Music Yorkshire, RecordWeekly, Reyt Good Magazine and South Leeds Life.

Articles and press about Wilko Wilkes can be found on the More page.

Wilko Wilkes on a darkened stage

The Man

“I live in Bingley with my wife Lucy and our cat Desmond, who occasionally makes appearances on my social media. I work full time and I am a facilitator at Andy’s Man Club Leeds, as well as holding volunteer positions at Leeds & District Football Association and Age Friendly Leeds.

From a musical background, I played piano as a child and studied music theory to Grade 3.  I was obsessed with lyrics and could regularly be found studying album sleeves and learning or transcribing the words. 

My dad is an accomplished prog-rock keyboard player and Grade 8 organist who has played in several bands. Music was everywhere in our family and is a key cornerstone of my life.

I have always loved the power that music has to convey intense emotions and get the adrenaline pumping. I listen to lots of different genres, favouring high-tempo music with raw feeling and power behind it.

Despite my usually cheerful nature, I’ve always had struggles and internal battles with various aspects of my mental health. One dream I always had was writing and performing my own music but I was held back for many years by the shackles of my own mind, too scared to put myself out there. I couldn’t even finish a song for most of my life, I’d often start writing but I would quickly lose faith and tear it up after a few lines.

During a course of counselling in mid-2019 I realised that this was something I had to do, and I started working hard towards my dream of playing live and spreading some joy through my love of music.

Now that I’m playing live regularly I won’t forget the steps that got me here; I relish every opportunity and rap my heart out like it’s the last chance I’ll have.

I’m fuelled by a burning passion for music, a hunger to push myself and improve, and a desire to help others.

I hope by doing this that I can inspire a few people to shake off their own mental barriers and start doing whatever it is they’ve been putting off that they really desire.

I’m a big advocate of people having a fun creative pursuit to express themselves through and put some vigour and excitement into everyday life.

I’m scratching the itch that I’ve always had, and you know what itches are like…the more you scratch them, the itchier they get!”

What the people are saying

“Wilko Wilkes is a gifted individual, he has a great voice that commands the listener to hear his words. I have every bit of faith in his awesome musical abilities” – James Smith, Supporte Di Artiste

“Wilko is quickly becoming one of the smoothest, quick-rhyming rappers in the UK and drops some seriously killer rhymes. Listening to Wilko is always so invitingly intense. You know there is a deep message in the words, but you’d better do your best to keep up. He raps like Busta Rhymes or Eminem, but tells stories like Billy Bragg. He is unique and progressive in his approach, a talent to look out for” – Brad Bauman, Mercury Teardrop

“An articulate and thoughtful artist, he is making a splash in the music industry with his authentic style of pacy, heartfelt verses.” – Authority Magazine

“With cleverly thought out lyrical compositions and immersive vocal structures it’s too easy to be captivated and inspired by Wilkes’ fast tracks. If you’re a fan of rap/fast rap I would highly recommend Wilko Wilkes, it’s just a matter of time before his talent is recognised.” – Ashleigh Vaughan, Reyt Good Magazine

“Specialising in speedy verses, solid beats and honest lyrics, Wilko Wilkes is an alternative West Yorkshire rapper on the rise.” – Record Weekly

“He raps at an incredible speed, with such charm. It is real! He is not copying. He is not pretending. Wilko Wilkes is being Wilko Wilkes.” – Charles Connolly, Producer & Artist

“Just a brilliant artist, rap that’s outside cliches, witty, funny and a worth a listen twice, thrice…hell, a hundredfold!” – Emerson B. Ocampo, Producer & Artist

“If there’s one Leeds-based artist who pushes the envelope at every stage, to their output’s great benefit, it’s Wilko Wilkes.” – Record Weekly

“Music that feeds the soul” – Kingman, Reggae Artist

“A kaleidoscope of colourful imagery punctuated by darkness” – Sandy B

“Lyrical genius” – Andy M

“Absolute master of the fast rap!” – Sam F

“Flow and enunciation is incredible!” – Hari M

“Can’t believe how fast he can spit but still take in every impactful word!” – Adam H

“Intelligent and articulate, this is complex stuff and only getting better” – Luke N

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