GOSPEL artist, Kenny Saint Brown, popularly addressed as KSB is blessed with two wonderful children, a girl and a boy, Edwina Ashiedu Brown, 8 and Rolade Brown, 5. She had a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, September 2, 2010, in her home at Ikeja, Lagos. The Ogun State born artist poured out her heart on how she is coping without a husband, career and sundry issues.
How will you describe your career at the moment?
My career is blooming like a flower that is opening up. It is blossoming into a colourful, attraction and endearing image.
Why is your new album, Turn Around, not popular?
By your rating or by the people’s rating? Which one? Is it the album or the song? It is highly popular out there, the Turn Around album and track has a new video right now with another track featuring another artist. It is popular but also building up. It came out just this year and don’t forget that I rebranded from extreme churchy songs to feel good everyday inspirational kingdom songs. Not just singing praise and worship, so it is gathering momentum, it is popular to an extent.
How successful has it been since you released it?
It’s been amazingly successful at this point, not in album sales. It has put me on the cadre of A-list artists, I have been doing some A-list shows and concerts which never used to be, people believe that if they call me for shows, it is only praise and worship that I will sing while they usually have a mixed crowd but right now the songs are DJs delight, they are radio friendly. So, they enjoy massive airtime on the radio which makes it easy for event organizers to put me on the list of artists that will perform at events. It’s been from one job to another, I just came back from a world class event in Abuja, it was a fantastic, beautiful mind
blowing event and we were all A-list artists at the show. But before, I never had this kind of rating, the popularity of this new album has given me the opportunity and I believe it is going to get bigger. The same album you think is not popular has two nominations, Channel O Awards nominated me as one of the Most Gifted Female Video in Africa, Kenny Saint Brown featuring Dagrin, Turn Around and the same thing on Nigerian Entertainment Awards in New York. I am on the gospel category with other gospel artists. So, that tells you that this album is already recording some success within a short period.
People don’t know if you are a gospel artist or a secular musician, which are you?
I am neither. I am simply a kingdom artist, the only person that sings music from the kingdom of God. Gospel music in Nigeria is limited to praise and worship, where people bring out their handkerchiefs and they start singing, You are worthy, worthy, the things I used to do but I have been upgraded by God. He has found me very faithful, people go through issues that merely singing praises cannot address, singing praises is unto God but kingdom songs is unto men, songs that will elevate, inspire, motivate, build up the body, soul and mind of people for productivity, you keep them abreast, above their challenges. For instance, the song, Turn Around, is a prayer, is it not gospel, is it not good news? It says, Baba loke, I need you to turn me around. We live in a material world, I have need for material things and these are things that I mentioned, the same thing with Dagrin, he mentioned the material things he wanted and he said it is God Almighty, who is above all things, that can make all things happen. It is 110 per cent gospel but it is in the delivery, the style and the structure, it is coming from the church to the world. The Bible says be ye light to the world, arise and shine, let your light shine to all men that they may give glory to your Father in heaven, because of the impact my music is having on people now, it has been able to bridge the gap between the church and the people. It is not whether it is a secular song but is it having a Godly impact on people? Gospel is not only meant for you, when you go to church, you bring the pulpit to the people through music. Another reason people think I am doing secular music is because there are a lot of secular musicians in the album, they are there because most of them are from the church, they have to bring out the God in them. Timaya will always mention God in his songs, does that make him a gospel artist? But we are all preaching kingdom messages.
You’ve been in the industry for quite sometime now, but your career is not booming, what do you think is responsible for this?
What is your criteria for measuring a career that is not booming? Some people want to just be there but I am a messenger, I receive messages, I go through an experience to get my message before I enter the studio and get the message delivered in a way that it can meet people’s needs. So, on that note, I just cannot go to the studio and record every year, I only had a break, you could say I got more popular than my music. Maybe because I had a break, I went through some changes in my life that required a break even if I was going continue in music or open a boutique somewhere. But by His grace, He still finds me worthy to make me a tool to deliver His message to His people. The break was for a better uptown and that is why nominations are coming my way now, people didn’t know who Dagrin was until he died but he has been working, he has been there five years before even when we did Turn Around, people didn’t know him, now everybody is talking about him. So, give this album next year, it will be everywhere.
What are you working on currently?
I just shot a video which was released two weeks ago and I am preparing for all the nominations, to attend the awards, one in Jo’burg and another one in New York, I am also working on a national song for Nigeria at 50 which is a coalition of all the female artists in Nigeria, it is a song that we want to use to let people be inspired about this nation, we are bringing our voices together to honour this country, it cuts across three generations, Onyeka Onwenu the oldest amongst us, Mocheeda, a teenager, its from the 80s, 90s and 2000 and the 2010, all female artists are represented and we are going to do a video to put the music out and we would be working with maybe the Office of the First Lady because she has something right now, Women for Change Initiative and the Ministry of Information too.
What is the title of the song?
It is entitled Nigeria, Good People, Great Nation.
You are always seen at parties, are you a party freak?
I am a musician, I make parties bubble but I am not really a party freak as you think. You see me at events not parties and because I am a showbiz person that’s why you see me there. I have to represent, I have to honour invitations when they come, I am at most events just to represent my brand.
You are blessed with two lovely children, what are your dreams and wishes for them?
I don’t have dreams for them, its God that gives dreams. They have to dream for themselves while I am to support them in their dreams. Right now, I am just laying the best foundation for them, putting them in one of the best schools in Nigeria, ensuring and working myself out to give them the best because the foundation is the most important, they will have their own dreams while I support them emotionally, physically, financially and in all ways.
How do you cope without a husband?
I am fine, I just work more, I do two people’s job. I tend to do more work as a single parent but the grace of God is sufficient for me.
Being single and married, which do you prefer?
They are two different positions, two different places, two different platforms to function and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, you can’t say this is the one you prefer. What I was doing in marriage is what I am still doing, marriage didn’t stop me from doing what I want to do, it didn’t in anyway slow me down and I now I work more, I work harder, I like working. I was raised to be a hard worker.
What is the advantage of being single?
It depends on the personality. I just focus more on the kids, not too many things demand your attention.
What is the disadvantage?
In my own case, I have been blessed, some women would say it has disadvantage but I am yet to see, God did not allow me to see any disadvantage, I am well surrounded by good people. My brothers, my mother, sisters, my in-laws, my spiritual parents, Apostle and Mrs. Anselm Madubuko are all fantastic people. They did not allow me feel the gap that would have been there and thank God I was already used to this kind of life to be out there working, I have always been very hard working.
How easy has it been as a single parent with two kids?
The grace of God has been sufficient for me. I have a nanny, I have a driver, the driver takes them to places I possibly could not take them to. It is extra cost but the grace of God is sufficient for me. It has not been easy but I thank God.
Since you re not legally divorced, is there any possibility of reconciliation?
I don’t want to talk about that.
What if he comes begging, would you forgive him as a Christian?
I don’t want to talk about that.
What has changed about you as a single parent?
I have to play the role of a father and a mother. Normally, mums are soft and always home with the kids. The role of a father is to reprove the children so, I combine both. Sometimes, mummy is very strict and the next moment, mummy is very soft, but I thank God for His mercies, the grace of God is sufficient for me.
If you are not thinking of reconciliation, are you thinking of remarrying?
I am not talking about that. Truly, time will tell. It is too early for me to start talking about remarrying. I am too engrossed with my career and the kids. So, if I start talking of remarrying now, I will lose focus. The kids are young and my career is young too, I need to nurture the two. It is a good thing because everybody needs someone to nurture him or her as the case maybe. But right now, I just know that the whole of my body and soul need the career, Nigerians need to know what I carry inside for them to learn from me, there is a message for people that is going through or that would go through what I went through because what happened to me can kill anybody’s career. But I stayed put and I weathered all the storm, I can only share my experience through my songs, so the energy is to share my experience through my songs for Nigerians to feel. I am not in a hurry, Pastor Bimbo Odukoya had gone, the husband has remarried but there is Pastor Bimbo Odukoya Foundation and all the things she wrote are still speaking, the messages she gave, the counsellling she did, she has gone but her spirit is still speaking. That’s what I want to do, it is not about marriage, it is not about remarrying, I have a message that must be delivered to people.
What has been strengthening you as a single parent?
It’s been the word of God. It is easy for people to say God, this is the stage where you have to search for the word for you and stay on that word until you see that word manifest into flesh and it dwells amongst men. I research and digest the word of God and I allow it germinate and bear fruit in my life. The word of God sustains me and the grace of God is being released into my life, He gives me the strength to stand, the power to resist whatever confronts me, I get strengthened through the word of God I encounter and that has been my willpower.
How do you juggle motherhood with your career as a single parent?
(Laughs) Should I tell you that they are both careers? The two are wonderful, awesome careers that are sweet. Am I the only person that will have children and a job? It is like any other person with children and a career. It is not an extraordinary thing, some people would give up one for the other but why can’t I cope? Its about planning your time, I cook, my apartment is compact enough for me to oversee what is going on, I don’t live in a big house that you don’t know what is happening in a particular room. Everything is under my nose and I delegate, I have a nanny, I have a driver, I have a dry cleaner and I have a management that handles my career. So, I have a lot of hands on deck.
Despite the fact that you are no longer with your husband, there are still some things you would like about him, what are they?
I don’t want to talk about it.
What are those things you don’t like about him?
I don’t want to talk about it.
What kind of man appeals to you?
A God man, not a Godly man, a man that carries God inside of him appeals to me. Successful men appeal to me, I am success driven, I see myself as a success. For you to appeal to me, you must be successful not a billionaire but you must be successful and you must know how to dress successfully too. I will look at you twice then when you open your mouth and the aroma of God is oozing out of your mouth, you will definitely appeal to me but most importantly, successful people turn me on.
You and Essence used to be very close like twin sisters, but you no longer go out together, is it because you were both accused of lesbianism?
Essence is not a lesbian and she can never be. I am not a lesbian and I can never be. We still move together, she visits us most, my house is her house. She was my backup singer but she has become a successful artist on her own and has become my younger sister. If somebody hangs around you for over 10 years, you were there when she was 21 years and 10 years after she is still following you. You have become a mentor, she is my protégée that has grown to be a point of reference for me. People will say I succeeded in nurturing her, I am so proud of her. Her Facebook Love song is one of the most played songs in Nigeria and abroad right now, I couldn’t have let her go if she didn’t have a hit song, I wouldn’t have released her without a hit song. If you don’t see her when you see me, it’s because she has to represent Essence fully. I am giving her a chance, let her also look for someone to nurture and develop the way I have done for her. We are still very close and always together.
- THIS INTERVIEW WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 07, 2010