I am still a gospel artiste - Kefee
Kefee Obareki Don Momoh’s major hit till date is Branama. Not that she has not released many other good songs, but Branama, was too big of a hit. It did not just sell millions, it also propelled the career of a young church girl trying to find her feet. It did not take long for Kefee to be the favourites of many young girls around the country. She released a double album recently and spoke with me about it.
You just released a double album, tell us about it
The CDs would still be individually themed. One is a gospel themed and entitled Chorus Leader. This reflects more on the gospel side of my music and the title, Chorus Leader. It is a reminiscence of my days in the church as a member of the choir and a chorus leader.
It has a track entitled Chorus Leader which is a medley of various gospel songs that plays for over 20 minutes stretch. Then there is Congratulations featuring Duncan Mighty. Another track is ‘Who get ear’ that features a group called DC Envoys which has comedian, Gordons, as member. It also contains both versions of the already released ‘Sapele Water’, produced by Teeymix and K-Solo, respectively.
The second part of the album has more secular songs. It is entitled, Beautiful, and would also contain a track of the same name. The track is inspired by my husband, Don Momoh. Then there’s ‘Dan Maliyo’ which is currently rotating on the airwaves and features the Ghanaian singer, Becca. ‘Eguono’ features the EME rapper, Skales. ‘Peace Song’ is a song that preaches peace in the country against the backdrop of the different spates of violence in the country. On it, I enlisted the help of a host of artists including Omotola, Splash, Emem, Skales, Jahborn, Zeal, Lami, Eben and Eedris.
Why a double album?
It’s been a while I released an album and I have a lot of songs, so I decided to separate them because I have some beautiful choruses I would like to share. I made this first one the spiritual part of me, and the other, the physical part. Both albums is ‘Best of Both Worlds’.
You said one of the Cd is secular in nature. It looks like you are stylishly jumping on the secular band wagon because it is more lucrative
I will not say so. I am a human being and I don’t have a manual on how to live my life. The manual we have is the bible, and even the bible teaches us to make good use of every opportunity we have. I cannot get inspired to write a song, a love song for instance, and refuse because people in church won’t like it. We fall in love in the church and that is not spiritual, but physical. We have pastors who have businesses all over, it doesn’t affect their spiritual life. I do what I think is good, as long as it is right and inspiring. This is not the first time I am doing a song that is not ‘churchy’. I have written songs about Nigeria, the African woman and others. It is still the same Kefee.
You said you one of the albums is called choir leader, were you one?
Music was just part of me but my mom was in the choir and my dad still sells musical CDs. So it was easy for me to take to the church choir as a child. I just grew up into it. The very first performance I can remember was at the age of eight and I was in primary four. There was this programme in church and children were expected to make presentations at the adult church and I did my part so well, my father was very proud of me. I then joined the adult choir and became the director at about the age of 18. A friend of mine, ST released an album with me in 2001 and that was how I started Branama.
From choir to mainstream music were there any worries for you?
There wasn’t a serious fear, it was just that before, I was always in a group. I was used to standing with a partner on stage. That was the only thing. The recording was also stressful. I recorded most of my songs in Port Harcourt, even though I was in Lagos. I think I passed out during one of the sessions. At the end of the day, it was beautiful, Branama came out. Even till today people still ask for the song.
Did you think you would go this far?
I just live in the present and I hope for the best. All my life, I have always wanted to sing. People loved to hear me sing and I had a lot of fans in our compound. I just realised people would love to hear me sing, not just Sapele or Nigeria, but the world too. I think I have something the world needs.
What inspired Branama?
I had reasons to be happy at that time, that is all I can say. Branama means show off. I asked God for something and He did it for me, and I thought it was the best to do the song. That was actually the last song on the album, it wasn’t expected. I just sat in front of our house in Sapele when it came to my mind. I was sceptical at first, then I sang to my producer and we went to Port Harcourt. At first, he didn’t get it, but we recorded it and it was a success.
Some say you are too flamboyant to be a gospel artiste
Well, I am first of all, a human being. I decided to do the kind of music I do and everybody cannot love me. There are many people who love what I do, so I cannot bother myself about the few who do not. I personally cannot like what everybody likes. There is no manual to do what I am doing. Nobody said ‘Kefee, this is the way it should be done‘. This is my life and this is the way I am. If you see me dress like that, that’s the way I feel. If you see me put hair on my head, that’s the way I feel; I cannot put myself in the box. I like freedom of expression because that is what makes life interesting.
There was a big controversy when you went online saying you are 21 years old, that definitely was a lie right?
I was not the one that said that. I think it was on my birthday and a friend, Evaezi put on twitter that I was celebrating my 21st birthday and people started retweeting. I actually thought it was a joke. Even if I decided to say anything, it is my life, that period, I just released a single with Becca and in that single, I introduced myself and even gave an idea of my age. I’m an early 80’s child, and I am proud of it. That to me is not an issue, it was just a distraction and I shouldn’t even think it as a controversy.
You also posted online about sex and the best time to have it
Forget about that one.
You own a restaurant, that must be bringing a lot of extra income
It is not about the money. I decided to open it because I have a passion for food. And that is like a dream come true because I’ve had it in mind for a very long time
There are a lot of female artiste out there today, do you think a gospel artiste like yourself can still compete?
I am not tied to being a gospel artiste, and of course, while singing inspirational songs, even Christians want to party. They know these songs and want to dance away all the problems we have. Nigerians are happy people, regardless of all. Right now, everybody wants to dance and we are dancing. So I don’t see it as a competition.