5 Lbs. of ROCK
Interview by Sheila Dianne Jackson
As a new tradition on niceandrough.com, each week we will feature one of our member artists. It’s down and dirty, simply 5 questions, with 5 answers that will take you a little deeper into the lives of some of the most fascinating women I have come to know. Here’s our 1st installment…
SHEILA: When asked, Joyce Kennedy defined herself as a “Rock-Soul-Funk Diva.” How do you characterize yourself as a music artist?
KKAI: I could see why she would say that, coming from her rock era. With
that in mind, if I had to define myself, it would be an “Alternative
Metal or Alternative Rock Artist”. I like the word alternative. It
infers “something other than what you think” is the norm. An option.
SHEILA: What is it about metal rock that calls to you?
KKAI: To me, rock means freedom and metal is a cry or a scream, an emotional
release. For me, it’s the only place where I am free to honestly
express feelings and be irreverent about it, be angry, be ecstatic. A
cry of freedom.
SHEILA: Tell us about where you are now in your musical journey? You can
relate it to your upcoming CD and the themes and messages you want to
convey with the work.
KKAI: I’m in a good place. I am finally taking care of myself and putting
my needs first. I feel nothing but gratitude for my time spent in
Cambridge, MA, teaching. I learned a lot about myself, things I would
have never learned otherwise. My music reflects my ups and downs, bad
relationships, and bad choices; still I came out of it ok. I hope
people can hear and relate to being in a negative space, acknowledging
the present, then being able to move forward to the next episode.
This CD reveals my journey both painful and pleasurable and how I’ve transcended through my life experiences. The first song reflects deep pain and loss of self. Hopefully, by the end of the record, the audience would have seen an evolution in spirit. Transcendence through perseverance.
SHEILA: How many black women in rock do you believe there are, globally?
KKAI: Give us your best estimate? Interesting question. I think there are a whole lot more than people realize. We, as women have always had to be seen in a somewhat “modest” kind of light. I think that since it is not so taboo for a woman to be sexual, bold, and powerful, thanks in part, to rock and to hip/hop making these women more mainstream, I would say there maybe 300-500 women of color out there rocking out?
SHEILA: Will you give us a sneak peak into your new CD? Pick a song whose
link you’d like to share and tell us about it.
KKAI: That’s difficult. There are two songs that I would choose from, but
both sit lyrically, at opposite ends of the spectrum. “Portrait” was
written at my most painful state, and “Cry”, at my most blissful. Do
you want to feel “light” or “heavy”? Cry is light, Portrait is heavy.
Sheila Dianne Jackson is an award-winning author, biographer and CEO of Eve’s Lime Productions. She is Director-Producer of the upcoming documentary, “Nice & Rough: Black Women IN Rock.”