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My not having a style is my style, says Kenny King

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Kenny King on stage

Nigeria’s music industry will continue to witness a boom with new talents coming on board and old artistes not resting on their oars.

Getting to the top in the industry is not an easy task, as it means carving a niche for oneself just like Kehinde Olaniyi (Kenny King) has done.

Armed with a degree in music education from Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos, King begins to put what he studied into practice, playing at clubs and parties.

With a single titled, Ire (something good) set for release, King disclosed that he fell in love with music from his childhood, when he was five years old.

“I am a multi-talented person and by this, I mean I can sing all genre of music, juju, highlife, hip-hop and fuji, which I am best known for. I play different musical instruments and I am also a professional house painter.

“I own a band known as Kenny Keregbe Music Band, which was put together eight years ago. I sing at birthday parties, weddings, funerals among others,” he said.

On how he came about the name of his band, the Ire crooner said: “The name came as a result of my first song titled, Keregbe, which I did when I just gained admission into LASU.

The song was all over the department, making students to address me as Keregbe. I, then, adopted it as a name for my band with a little alteration, which came to be Kenny Keregbe Music Band, but my stage name remains Kenny King.”

Coming into music King faced some hurdles, but he had to overcome them to be what he is today. He disclosed that his mother never wanted him to sing, but he persisted.

“When I started, my mother would tell me to keep quiet with that my goatish voice. That was because while singing, I like doing what we call background tone, but I never stopped singing. I discovered I could perfectly mimic any musician.

I grew up in Bariga and I listened to all sorts of music from different artistes. I listened to Orlando Owoh, Pasuma, King Sunny Ade, and Obesere and others.

Also, while in secondary school I joined our church choir, Celestial Church choir. Cele churches have their own brand of music, which I sang and danced to, which equally added to my style.

“There was a day I was performing and I began to sound like Lagbaja. I didn’t even know this. When we got home that day, my mother told me that I was sounding like Lagbaja.

This was the person who initially said I used to sound like a goat. That day I was doing a genre that had to do with Lagbaja. My mother said she never knew I could sing very well. Some people say I do not have a style but then I tell them my not having a style is my style,” he said.

King, who now attends Day Star Church, disclosed that there was a day they were at a rehearsal in his church and their choir director wanted someone that could do opera baritone and he said he could do it, but choir director did not believe him because he knows King does fuji so well.

According to him, the director after trying about 10 others now decided to give him a trial.

He said: “The whole place went berserk when other members, including the director heard me do opera baritone. And that endeared me to the hearts of those that were distancing themselves from me.”

Which instruments do you play? “When I started, I used to play agogo. Later, I learnt how to play the samba drums and then bass and now akuba. I can play other instruments as well.

I, then, began to play drums professionally and began to earn money from it right from my secondary school days. Today, I perform at concerts and in different churches. People invite me for different reasons; some people like my fuji side, while others prefer I play other genre of music for them.”

KING threw more light on his single that is already enjoying airplay on radio. According to him, “the inspiration behind the song is that at some point in my life, I had nothing; some people even said I would not be rich.

In fact, a lady whom I wanted to marry told me that her father was not rich and, so, she could not marry a poor man. That was what inspired this song because my story has changed. My time has come and good things have come to me and I am better off now.”

Working hard for the full album that would be released later in the year, King disclosed that the album contains different genre of music because he does not want anybody to be left out.

Counting his blessings, he said his sojourn into music has been all gains. “Right now, I can write lyrics, arrange and produce songs. I am a music director for some choirs and I also conduct.

I do other businesses, too. It was my pastor who advised me to focus more on music since it was my passion. Otherwise, I am also a painter.

I have people who work for me and I intend to learn the other aspects of interior designs to compliment my passion for painting. But right now, I am focusing on taking my music to another level. So, everything will have to come one after the other.”


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Kenny King
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