Vanguard (Lagos)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: Unveiling the Real Kefee

interview

Watching her perform on TV and chatting with her life are two most wonderful experiences you wouldn't forget in a hurry. She is a superstar who knows her onion, yet so down to earth that you would think you are having an everyday chat with a teenager.

She has got no air about her, but that doesn't mean she isn't at the top of her game and more. She is no other than the ever young, ever glowing, the amazing worshipper, who got advertised by people who saw her performed in church as a young girl. Kefee is her name; in this interview, she talks about her cooking skills that she has bottled up in a restaurant, Kefee Peace Foundation, her husband who inspired her beautiful song titled Beautiful and more...

We haven't heard from you in recent times?

I just released a new album titled "Chorus Leader", it is going to be a double CD album. But at the moment only one CD is in the market. We need people to really get used to the songs and also learn from it. The first CD which has been released into the market contains 12 tracks including, the in-tro and out- tro.

The album is going to be a Body and Soul thing; the CD out is the Soul of the album, the spiritual part of the album. You would understand better when you listen to it. They are songs you can actually lift your soul. I am a spiritual person, and I want to be known as one. The hit track is titled "Beautiful." It is inspired by my husband, the video titled "Beautiful" dropped today (Wednesday)and I am so excited because it is indeed beautiful.

The video is not my usual kind of video because you know I love dancing. You would also say that it is not like Kefee, but variety is the spice of life. Also in that CD, I did a song titled, "Dan Maliyo" which is already enjoying airplay and I featured Becca from Ghana. The album with two CDs would be called:

"Best of both Worlds. I love cooking and I can cook very well. Recently, I ventured into commercialized cooking of a sort like other manufacturers do. So I have added cooking to my career; I have a restaurant called the Branama Kitchen in Ikeja, Lagos state.

You referred to one of your new released CDs in your new album as the SOUL of your album; you called it the spiritual part, what kind of songs are we expecting in them, the regular dance hall Christian songs?

The CD is all encompassing because there are praise songs and worship songs in them. There are songs you can worship God with, there are also inspirational songs you can lie down and relax with. I did a song with Duncan Mighty, so you can imagine Duncan Mighty kind of beats; I also did another with a popular group in Delta state known as DC Envoy.

One of them is the popular Gordons, the comedian, Obus Zalee, the actor cum Take The Stand initiator and the last, but not the least is Festus. In that same song, the comedian, Apkororo was also involved; it was comical, but wonderful. The title of the track we did together is: 'who get ear make he hear'. It was really comical and you would want to listen what stuff Gordons is made of as well as Apkororo. It is an exciting album.

How have you been able to manage your fame, the spotlights and still look ageless?

I don't know how I have been able to do it but I know that I don't allow anything to bother me. I cannot lose sleep over anything. More over, I have small stature, yet I appear very big on Television. I try to distinguish between Kefee on TV and Kefee in real life. I don't take stress to my heart and I dance a lot.

I don't bother myself about how people see me because I am comfortable the way I am. I also eat healthy foods; as you can see I enjoy cooking delicious foods. I am not living my life to please anybody; I hate living a routine life. I am a happy and easy-going person.

Would you pay anything to get back your youthful looks?

We learned from people around us, my Dad for instance, is someone who knows how to take care of himself. He had gray hair while we were growing up but he does a lot of exercise and eats right. I think somehow this must have rubbed off on me because at his age he didn't grow a tummy. When I noticed I was putting on weight, I decided to work on myself.

Do you mean you would have been bigger than the way you are today?

I don't know but my parents are not fat. Except now that my mum is advancing in age. My dad is still watching his weight. Secondly, I have been a busy person, right from childhood, I would go to school, come back home, go for extra moral classes, and then, go to church. In a nutshell, I am used to being active; I guess that's the reason I'm not really fat.

What was life like while growing up?

While I was growing up, I wanted to make a career in music. Particularly, in 1994, I was still very young and I told my dad I wanted to go into music. He wouldn't hear of it; he wanted me to pursue a professional course like Law, Medicine or others. But obviously, I was destined to be an artiste.

At a point, my dad advised me to restrict my passion for singing only in the church. But something happened that made all the difference in my life. I could remember those days when I was doing the chores at home. Each time I stopped singing, people around me would have cause to complain and insist that I should continue.

How do your siblings see you as a sister and a superstar?

First and foremost,I used to sing with my siblings while we were growing up. In fact, I am from a family where singing run in our blood. You need to hear my dad sing. My mum on her own was a chorister in the Anglican Church. I could recall when she featured in music competitions and returned home with smiles of victory. Like I said earlier, my siblings used to sing together with me. It wouldn't be a bad idea to bring them to the studio and do songs with me. They will tell you that Kefee on stage is the same as Kefee at home.

You look like the girl next door?

I am still me. I don't see any reason to get carried away with fame. Usually, I go out of my way in search of my old friends. Even though I grew up as a star, it didn't change me much. Meanwhile it is a wrong way of approaching stardom. In Europe, stars are seen as humans and they do things that other people do. They go to the Chinese restaurants like you do and all that. So, it is no big deal becoming a star if you cannot live a life of freedom.

What are those things you did, and later regretted doing them?

I cannot tell you all that now. But I promise you, you will read such things in my upcoming book. I am writing a book about my life and I'm sure, you will find out what I have regretted doing in life.

How did you get your major break

I grew up in Sapele, in Delta State. Sapele being a very small town has its advantage and disadvantage. I sang in Churches then. One fateful Sunday, I was invited on stage to sing for the congregation , I sang myself into fame. We had some missionaries from America who attended the church programme and later commended my performance. That was where I got my break.

How do you describe your type of music?

My music is basically about love; love for God. I can sing about love for my loved ones; love for my parents and all that. Music is a medium through which messages are conveyed to the audience. If you cannot get the message l am sending perhaps you would get it somewhere else.

How do you manage your home after all the noise with your music?

It is not easy to run all these and make the best out of them all. So, there is need for delegation and team work. I have wonderful cooks at the restaurant; they are professional cooks. I have also an understanding husband who loves me for who I am. He inspired one of my new songs, Beautiful.

You talked about your husband with pride. If you have to do it again, will you marry him?

If I'm asked to do it again, I will choose him. He is amazing, he is indeed awesome. And I have no regret marrying him whatsoever. My husband indeed makes my life beautiful, hence the title of my new song Beautiful . Everything I sang in that track was about him. My husband is beautiful to me and makes me beautiful! So, if you are in a marriage and you are not feeling beautiful by your husband; then you are sitting on a wrong thing!

The children, are we expecting them soon?

My children would come with God's grace.

Do you have any pet project?

I have a foundation and it is not a celebrity thing. I have set up this foundation since 2007. It is called 'Kefee Peace Foundation', we distribute relief materials to flood victims and people in need.

We were in Bayelsa with our relief materials and hosted a musical concert, we were also at Jos, but we didn't do any musical concert because of the state of restiveness. This foundation started when we had ethnic crisis in Delta state between the Itsekiri, the Urhobos and the Ijaws. We had to set up these foundations because the Government alone cannot reach out to all these victims.

Sometimes, some of the tings allocated to the victims may not get to them one way or the other. During our first concert, we had Sunny Nneji and Faze perform at the concert. At that time, Faze' song Kolomental just came on air and it went a long way to relieve the victims' pains.

I am a member of Red Cross Society and we distribute relief materials as well. We also visit old people's home, motherless babies' home. Yes other people visit there and give materials but they are not enough. We should give more to them.

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