Jamaica’s finest has been on her grind since we’ve first featured her in our magazine nine months ago. She’s been doing shows, shooting videos and preparing the masses for her latest single “Over and Done”. We got a chance to catch up with the talented songstress and here’s what she had to say…
You have a very impressive resume, but lets start from the top. Where did it all start?
KK: I am a Reggae/Pop artiste from Kingston, Jamaica. I`ve always wanted to become a professional singer as early as the age of two years old. I was discovered singing a Nelly Furtado song “Turn off the lights” at karaoke by my previous manager, Chris Smith, who coincidentally is also Nelly Furtado`s manager. I was 17 at the time and had just graduated from high school and was seriously considering a career in the music industry. It was only 2 weeks after meeting Chris Smith, I was in the studio writing and recording my very first single called “Hide Away”. Only a few months later, we shot a medley music video for that song as well as other artistes who recorded on that track. That was my very first music video and it was released in April 2003, and the rest was history.
Was Reggae music the direction you wanted to go in, or did it just happen to manifest in that direction?
KK: I grew up listening to and being influenced by various different genres of music.
Artistes such as Mariah Carey, The Stylistics, The Spinners, the late Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, Anita baker, Marcia Griffiths, Diana King just to name a few. To sing Reggae music was a natural direction for me to go because I was born and raised in Jamaica, so it’s naturally in my blood to have a passion for it. However, being influenced by many genres, I always incorporate different sounds and ideas in my music which makes it very unique.
In this music business, sacrifices have to be made to achieve a certain level of success. Are you willing to make those sacrifices to achieve that success?
KK: Yes I am a very determined, focused and driven individual who always keeps my eyes on the prize, and is willing to work as hard as I possibly can to reach my goals and achieve all my dreams in life.
Something special happened September 20th 2006. Share with us what took place that day.
KK: Yes, that was the release date of my debut album titled “My World”. It was released in the territory of Japan, which is a HUGE market for Reggae music by major label, Pony Canyon.
You also worked with some well-known Reggae artists. What was it like working with Beenie Man and Vybz Kartel?
KK: Working with major artistes such as Beenie Man, and Vybz Kartel just to name a few was an honor. They are both extremely talented artistes and lyricists, so it was definitely a pleasure seeing them in action in the studios.
Not a lot of people get to venture out of their homes to see the world, but you had a chance to see Japan. What was the experience like, and did that experience change your out look of the world?
KK: Well yes, I’ve been very fortunate to travel to many places in the World because of my music and experience the different cultures, food, and music and to network with different people. I`ve done many shows and tours in the U.S, Canada, Japan, Europe, and the Caribbean. It has definitely opened my eyes to new things and has also made me aware of the influence that Reggae Music has on the rest of the World.
What was one of the biggest misconceptions you had about the music business?
KK: I always knew this industry was a challenging one, but one has no idea about it unless they experience it for themselves. It’s definitely not easy and has many ups and downs, but you have to keep focused and surround yourself with a very supportive and also driven team of people, who encourages you to reach to where you need to go.
This is a male driven industry, and many female artists get caught in the rapture of the business. How do you keep your self away from it?
KK: Well, as mentioned before, I am very driven and focused, and I consider myself to be a “Go-getter”. I’ve always stuck to my plan in achieving my goals and have not allowed myself to get caught up in the unnecessary “hype”. I focus on doing great music of high quality and standards and that is the most important thing to me.
The music business isn’t as financially fruitful as many portray. What are you doing to keep your self in a good financial space, while still being able to live your dream?
KK: The industry definitely has its ups and downs, so you have to be very smart with your money, just in case you go through a “lull” period where it’s not as financially rewarding. I’m a business woman, who with the guidance of my close family members, make good decisions and investments.
The song “Never Give In” speaks on some of your ups and downs, and rising up to fill your dreams. What or who inspired you to write this beautiful song?
KK: My journey in this business is what inspired me to write that song. I wanted to let my fans gain a good understanding of my experience in this business, and to inspire anyone who is willing to work hard to achieve their dreams and to “Never Give In” no matter the odds.
Your voice is versatile, and I can hear you also crossing over into the R&B, Neo Soul, and Alternative music genres. Do you see your self crossing over into those genres in the near future?
KK: Yes most definitely. I am a very versatile artiste, so anything is possible and I do not limit myself to only Reggae or Pop music, I love Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and Alternative and when those genres are mixed together in the right way, the sound is very unique.
The music business can be all work with little play. When you do get a day off what do you do?
KK: I appreciate the quiet times, so when I get a chance I relax by myself and reflect and meditate about life, love, family and friends. I also love to read and watch movies with my close friends.
In 2009 we lost some major celebrities. One of those celebrities was the King of Pop Michael Jackson. What were you doing when you found out he past away, and what were your feelings on how the media treated the situation?
KK: At the time of hearing about MJ`s death, I was sleeping and got a call from my cousin telling me that MJ had just died. I was totally shocked, devastated and in disbelief. I turned on my television to see that certain stations were saying that he was still alive, later finding out that unfortunately he had passed. It seemed that he had died hours before they admitted so. I have always been a huge fan of MJ`s music and was hurt to know that we will never again hear anymore new releases from the King of Pop. He will be FOREVER missed as one of the greatest entertainers ever lived.
For those interested in listening to and purchasing your music, where can they go?
You can visit
http://www.kriskelli.com to purchase music.
http://www.twitter.com/kriskelli to keep up-to-date with my daily schedule and activities.
Coming to a close, is there anything you want to share that wasn’t stated in this interview?
KK: I would love to Big up all my fans and supporters throughout the years because without them, it would be nearly impossible to do and achieve what I’ve done.
Big up to my Double K team who stands behind me 200%. Nuff respect to Amped Sounds for the love and support. Also look out for many more HOT singles coming for 2010 and beyond!