Posted by By Ijeoma Ogwuegbu( firstname.lastname@example.org) on
Gospel artiste, Kenny St. Brown has had a tough couple of years, what with the very public and very acrimonious collapse of her marriage to fellow musician, Eddy Remedy and the weekly updates run by several soft-sell magazines.
Gospel artiste, Kenny St. Brown has had a tough couple of years, what with the very public and very acrimonious collapse of her marriage to fellow musician, Eddy Remedy and the weekly updates run by several soft-sell magazines. For a time, the music was forgotten, as her person became front and centre in the tabloids. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new woman seems to be rising from the fire, forged in the wisdom and knowledge that comes from hitting rock bottom and knowing the only way left to go is up.
Speaking with Saturday Sun recently, she seemed content and happy, bright eyes flashing as she spoke about her ‘resurrection’ from the chaos that was her life for a time.
“I died, I actually died, I was physically and spiritually dead, and the only thing was that I didn’t decompose. I was just destroyed by the whole situation. I had to relearn so many things. I had to face people, face the things that were being said about me, I had to face doing things I took for granted before. I couldn’t face people, I couldn’t go out, and I couldn’t even go to the market. If I went out, it was as if I would see people pointing at me and whispering. People stopped speaking to me, especially those people who were mentioned in the tabloid stories as being involved in the situation.
Many of them stopped speaking to me in an effort to reassure their families that there was nothing between us. Even when it looked like I was coming out of it, when I felt like I had prayed it away, when I had fasted and I thought I had overcome everything, the shame would just come back in a flood and overwhelm me and I would be back where I started.”
A necessary death
With knowledge gained from hindsight, she comes across as very philosophical; adding that now she knows it was a necessary death.
“I thank God because the bible says for your shame, He will give you fame. I know it was expedient that what happened to me should have happened. I needed to die to be resurrected. Now I’m a resurrected being, I’ve being reborn. I’m a completely new person, from the one I was before. I’ve lost all the inhibitions I had previously. Before this happened, I still had a wall of religion and I think God needed that wall to crash. There were things I couldn’t say before, things I know need to be said, that I couldn’t say because of the kind of situation I was in, now I can say them and not be afraid.”
“I think God just wanted to use me for other people, so he can say, look at this person, there’s a strength she has gotten that other people can tap into, to move on from whatever they are going through. I don’t have fears anymore. You know before, I had this fear that something like that could happen, I wouldn’t even want to call it fear, you know when what you revered the most, your marriage, when what you considered the most important thing in the world, when it crashes, then you learn that it is only God who allows what lives to live.”
The spirit in the music
She believes now that it was the spirit in her music that saved her life and brought her back from the brink.
“It was the music that brought me back, because I still have something to say. There’s a song on my new album called Iye aye raye and it talks about the resurrection and eternal life. It was praise that brought me back. I realized that when everything is taken away from me, I still had this thing, this eternal life that no living person could take. When the thing you fear the most happens, if all your children are killed in a car accident, what else is left? When you have nothing and everything is taken away, what is left? Only eternal life. I didn’t come to this understanding until I died and resurrected. I wrote that song 3 years ago and yet it was preparing me for what was coming in my life. That is the resurrection that I was talking about. The song brought the resurrection to me.”
So much Joy
In her resurrection, KSB, as she prefers to be called now, confesses to a newness of spirit that she never believed possible.
“I’m so happy now, I can’t contain my joy; the level of joy I feel now, sometime I have to try and tame it. I try and stay around people I can share it with, people who will understand the joy I feel. I’m full of wisdom, understanding, and sheer joy of life. Bare in mind, this was a woman who thought she was dead. Remember that this is the same thing that has been killing other female artistes. This is what has brought about my resurrection.”
She readily admits to having a new love and passion in her life now; herself. With as much self-effacement as one can muster to say something like this so as not to seem egotistical, she says, “One thing I’ve learnt now is passion for myself and I don’t know if that is the right way to go but there it is. I have so much passion for myself and the KSB brand and because of that, everything has gotten better, my image, my style, my person. I’m more accommodating, more intuitive, and more aware, I’m a nicer person, and I’m more enthusiastic.
I don’t know where all this passion comes from, this energy and enthusiasm, maybe it is because I feel reborn, so everything else is new as well. Not everybody understands it, so because of that I spend a lot of time with my kids now. But somehow I’m passing this enthusiasm to them, the power of all things being possible. But it keeps me grounded. I now understand better when they said Jesus walked on water literarily, you can walk on water figuratively. You walk on the waters of life. You pass through tough stuff, things you think are impossible and then you look back and wonder if you really did that on your own.”
Wisdom in hindsight
To say she has gleaned some wisdom from her experiences would be stating the obvious. But there are some things she knows now she wishes she had known all those years ago, ten of them to be precise, when she started music professionally.
“If there was one advice I could have given to myself ten years ago, from what I’ve learnt now, it would be that music and all the things around it are so powerful, it is only God who keeps you on track. It can derail you, it can steer you in the wrong direction. It is so powerful, like someone who is drunk and it is only God that will help to keep you on track. It can take you under and also keep you afloat. When you are flying too high, it can bring you down. When you are too proud, it can humble you and if you won’t be humbled, it will totally destroy you.”
KSB has gotten to the age where one starts thinking of a legacy, what one would be remembered by. For now, it is all about the music.
“Now, with the music, for me, the most important thing is the message, because that is the legacy you leave behind, after all the sound and fury is gone. That is what is most important. For every generation, there is a handing over of the legacy, even in music. There’s a handing over of content and that is what the next generation works with. That is what they remix, re-release. We have to hand over good content.”
Boys behaving badly
This is probably where you will find some of her new passion, when she talks about her new pet peeve; young men who sing dirty lyrics.
“Would we want the future generation reproducing what we are giving them now? There’s all these music out there, using profane language, talking about Shayo and Indian Hemp, describing men and women, their private parts, sex, without any respect for the next generation. Is NBC could ban Femi Kuti and Konga and Zulezu, why are they not banning this? Are there double standards? There’s a song that says Nigerian girls like Koboko, what is D-banj really talking about? Is it sex? If it is not sex, is he then saying Nigerian girls like violence?
Maybe because he had a friendly disposition, he got away with the first one he sang, but this is now getting out of hand. They don’t even bother to code anything anymore. My little daughter asked what is Koboko after she heard the song on the radio. I didn’t know how to explain to her. Then 9ice has one song on his album, where he is talking about, some girl opening her thighs, he sings that if something is not strong, it will not enter. What kind of music is that? They really need to be cautioned. They should take a cue from the people who have started this before them. You can hardly find vulgar lyrics in Tu-Face’s songs, or Asha’s music.
Does that make them not sell? And then you have all these radio stations playing all these vulgar music with impunity. There should be tighter regulation. They can play it, but they should restrict it to the clubs. The NBC should stop sleeping. And for these upcoming artistes, clean up your lyrics. Are we raising a generation of wine bibbers? Naked girls dancing on your videos, hanging bottles of wine everywhere, what is that promoting? Please change your lyrics and clean up your videos.”
Even in her vehemence lie the signs of a new lease of life. She has got big plans and is so obviously looking forward to the future. For someone who has gone through the things she has, one would be inclined to say she more than deserves this second chance at life.
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