Wednesday 7th June, 2017 will be one of my greatest interviewing moments yet! Not that I’ve had so many interviews but this particular one was all sorts of fun! It’s pretty lengthy, so let’s jump right in!
The date had been set! Second Cup, Accra Mall was to host my team (Darren Sackey and Maviel Benni) and myself, and urban gospel artiste, Kingzkid! And boy what a day is was!
At exactly 1pm, the a-little-over-6-foot tall guy walked in ever so confidently clad in an all black T-shirt with black matching jeans and black sneakers with a little diary and his iPhone in hand. He wore this broad smile and had his shades fixed in the neck of his shirt. I was particularly glad the gentleman respected our time agreement! We seldom have that in our part of the world.
After a warm welcome and introductions, my team prayed with the artiste and we zoomed right into business! Kingzkid had a Chai Latté and we each had a cup of chocolate drink.
For the purpose of this interview, ‘Q’ refers to questions from us and ‘A’ are his answers.
Q: To begin with, let’s play a little game. It’s called one-for-one. I’ll say a word and you’ll say the first thing that comes to mind. Cool? Loyalty
A: Bishop Dag Heward-Mills
A: An army man
A: Secular music *laughs*
A: A prince
A: First Love church
A: *laughs* It’s too deep. Can we skip?
Q: I’m sure you get these questions all the time but we will still want to know. If someone asks who Kingzkid is, what will you say? I’m sure you’ve had a lot of practice so it should be easy.
A: Kingzkid is a vision of God for the end times. Kingzkid is faith personified. Kingzkid is a lover of God; a history maker.
Q: How old are you?
A: 27 years young.
Q: What is your ‘birth certificate name’? Everyone wants to know.
A: *laughs* Emmanuel Yoofi Essuman-Mensah. You can add ‘King’ to it.
Q: Do you have other siblings?
A: I have 4 siblings. If I don’t tell you, you’d never know. I have 2 on each side. My parents separated quite early; like when I was a year old and they both married with children on both sides. I’m the only child of both parents.
Q: Did the separation affect you?
A: Yea. I’ll be lying if I said it didn’t. You know broken homes have an effect on children: some will either end up being womanisers or alcoholics. I mean those who don’t meet God. It’s either you’ll be arrogant or always angry; or you’ll be a womanizer or you’ll smoke or join bad company. I had a lot of bitterness growing up. It took me coming to God to let go. And even when I did, it didn’t go immediately because I still had it in me. Even after I started doing ministry, I got bitter in the sense that the people I expected to support and understand me were rather against what I was doing and calling me names. It made me more bitter. That was compounded bitterness. It took an understanding of the fact that God has amazing plans for my life. He is doing with my life what He pleases and day in, day out I just fall in love with Him more and more. I realized everything I was doing was not even for me or for the people around me. It was for Him and that’s how all the bitterness went. So as I sit here, I’m not bitter! I’m sweeter than *bursts into laughter*
Q: For a moment there, I thought you’d say you got extra money from both parents or something like that.
A: No, no, no *laughs*. I mean when they separated, I grew up with family. I lived with my grandmother and uncle and cousins and a whole lot of people. That’s how I grew up. Most times, I hear people talk about broken homes and they talk about just the negatives. I think the advantage of growing up in such a mix is the ability to learn from different people. You know, if I grew up with just my parents, I might have had just 2 people to learn from but with this, you have like 10 or 15 people. You can see different attitudes. You get to learn all that for free so it was a good thing.
Q: Talk about school life
A: School life? Let me just go straight to Central University. I read Banking & Finance. So I actually started music in my 3rd year in Central. I was writing music in all my school books; no joke. I mean, I knew from a very young age where I was going because God had already spoken a lot through ministers, prophets and dreams. School life was quite exciting but honestly when I was in school, I was just waiting to finish so I could do what I really wanted to do.
Q: You mentioned that you attend the First Love church. Have you always been in First Love?
A: No, I haven’t always been in First Love but secretly First Love is my first love. *bursts into laughter*. I’m in my uncle’s church, International Victory Praise Chapel. I’m the keyboardist there. After school, I felt led by God to go back there because there was a loop. There was no one playing there so I had to go back. I still play there almost every Sunday but Bishop Dag is, you know him. I mean … *smiles*
Q: Why did you choose Kingzkid? Was it some weird name from high school?
A: No. First of all, the Bible says we are kings and priests and it’s only right that if our father is the King of Kings then we all are children of the King, which is Kingzkid but the second reason why I took that name is this; when God opened my eyes to the fact that though my biological father wasn’t present when I was born and when I needed him, He, God, was there and He saw me with different eyes – as a royal, as a prince and as a king. It didn’t matter what the circumstances were. He saw me as His son. And that is the second reason.
Q: Why do you say “Yea boy!”?
A: Actually, I started saying “Yea boy” before I got a meaning. The Yea in “yea boy” stands for possibility and the “boy” stands for the person saying it. So when you say “yea boy”, you’re saying ‘Everything is possible to me’
Q: You’ve already indicated that at a young age you knew what you wanted to do. Can you walk us through that prophecy?
A: Well, before then I used to sing. I was told that I used to like Reggae music a lot. I used to run around the house singing, “One Love” and around 10 years old, I got led to Christ by a pastor. I was fortunate to have an uncle who was a pastor and his church was 10 minutes away from my house back then in Dome. So I got born again in church and at the age of 12, a prophet came to church. He didn’t know me from anywhere and he asked me if I sang. I said “yes”. He asked me to take music seriously because it was going to take me around the world and it was one of the reasons God brought me on earth. But before then, you know, I used to sing to girls in class and stuff like that. So getting a prophecy like that was very exciting. The most beautiful thing is having your desires and passion in line with God’s plan. It’s really cool. So that’s how it started. When I got the prophecy, I was waiting. I thought someone will discover me and say, “this guy has got talent; let me go and record him and make him a star.” But it didn’t happen like that till I took a decision in faith in level 300, said a prayer at an all-night and I asked God to help me.
Q: Do you still like Reggae?
A: I’m drawn more towards ‘Reggae tone & Dance Hall’ but Reggae itself, not really.
Q: How do you get your lyrics? *starts singing ‘Through the fire’ (from Kingzkid’s ‘I just want to be with you’)
A: *laughs* If you carefully listen to my songs, you’ll realize most of the songs I write are real stuff. I write from my heart; from real stuff that happens around me. They carry a lot of emotion. A song like, “He go do for you”. At that point in time when I wrote that song, I was done with University and everyone was on me, saying “you’re going to put your degree down and be rapping and singing and wasting your time on music”. With the whole thing happening around me, the song came to me, “make you no worry my brother”. That was a song to encourage everyone. You realise that the songs from my heart impact people. They go far because they’re real.
Q: A song like “I got my Jesus on”. How did you come by that?
A: *laughs* That song was actually supposed to be, “I got my David on”. I was trying to use David as a synonym for faith; you know standing before Goliath and all and trusting God like that. And I realized Jesus is actually a better synonym. That’s how the song came up.
Q: Do you do music full time now?
A: I do ministry full time. It’s not just music for me anymore. I’m looking forward to attending Bible School as well because it’s a full calling for me. It’s not just talent.
Q: How did your family handle it?
A: Not easy, like I said. It hasn’t been easy, especially after I graduated university. I told you I grew up with my mum and stepfather. He took care of me for half of my life so completing school and saying I was going to do music and I wasn’t going to use my degree,chale, it’s powerful. Too powerful! *laughs*. I had lots of confrontations with him. Even now, he doesn’t fully accept what I do. You see, I don’t think he hates me. He loves me. Most of the time when you’re pursuing your dreams, the people who resist you are the people whom you love and the people who actually love you. They’re doing it out of love. They don’t see a way out with music because nobody has actually made it that far with music, especially, gospel music, from this country or even this continent so they don’t have an example. And they would wonder if this thing is going to work. Then again, that’s why you need to persevere until it works so that they’ll have an example that it actually works.
Q: You live with your parents?
A: Oh no! I moved out 3 years ago. While I was in school, I had been planning to move out because I knew that if I told them chale….. Before I actually told them, I had rented an apartment. I already had a plan of moving out so I called them for a meeting one day and told them. I actually lied; I told them I wanted to take one year off after school to serve God and even with that, the things they told me were serious. The whole thing made me bitter. They were hurtful. I can’t say because you’re recording. It was quite harsh. At a point, I had to ‘close my eyes’ and soak it in and remind myself, I didn’t call myself, it’s God who called me. So if I fail God and ‘honour’ my parents, I’ve failed in life. I’m sure someone will quote, “Obey your parents in the Lord”. They forget that it’s in the Lord. That means God’s plan for your life has to come to play even in obeying your parents. I found solace in the fact that what I am doing is not just me trying to be lazy or doing my own thing. God was in it and He called me. Even though one would say I was disobeying my parents physically. Spiritually, I was honouring God and that’s what you must essentially look forward to.
Q: As a young gentleman in the music industry, what has been your greatest challenge.
A: I think I know where this is heading *bursts into laughter* You even found some challenges with the question. *bursts into laugh laughter and sips some more chai latté.*
– The first challenge was ACCEPTANCE. When I started doing music, for the sake of categorization, urban gospel, there was not a market for it here. It wasn’t that grown. So you’d have people even in the church speaking against you. One of the people who really embraces what I do is Bishop Dag. I just love that man. Sometimes, when someone is impacting your life, it doesn’t mean he’s given you 1 million dollars *laughs*. It’s more than that. I know people ask whether he’s given me money but you have no idea what this man has done for me. Sometimes, just looking at him alone, do you know what it does? *laughs*
I’ve been at programs where I was sacked off stage because of lack of acceptance. The first time it happened was in Takoradi. I was invited for a program and the pastor told me not to make the church dance “azonto” or “alkaida” when I went on stage because it was from the devil. You know back then it was from the devil. I don’t know how it changed *laughs* but now people are dancing them left, right and center. And I told him okay but when my music comes on people just start dancing. That’s a grace I have. So the same dances he asked me not to let them do, were the very dances they did. And the man walked up to me on stage and asked me to leave. That was in Takoradi so you can imagine me on my way back to Accra. I kept thinking and I felt the journey was useless. *laughs* But that was the challenge. Most people didn’t accept it and even now, some people are a little cynical. But it took me persevering and other people too to get it accepted. The first challenge is acceptance.
Q: Misconception about you.
A: People think I’m arrogant. I’m “too-knowing”. But look at me, am I arrogant? *laughs*. I think it comes with the kind of music I do. People naturally think people who do my kind of music have an attitude. But when you come close, you realise that I’m actually not like that. Sometimes, you just have to play the role. So, when I’m on stage, I don’t laugh. *bursts into laughter* so you might be seated and looking at me and thinking this guy never smiles.
Q: Misconception about your music
A: I’ve had people say I’m leading people to hell. Someone even tagged me on a post on Facebook but with people like that you approach them with love. I’ve had people apologize to me after. A lot of people thought in the beginning that what I was doing was from the devil but people like that you teach them from the word. With every new thing, it takes time to get into the market,even with products, you can’t force it on people. All around the world, people have not fully accepted rap as a form of gospel.
Q: Happiest music moment.
A: It might sound cliché. The first one was when I met Bishop Dag. I was just there and I heard he wanted to meet me. This was at Commonwealth. I was wearing a Superman T-shirt. I met the “obroni” pastor. *laughs*. I had released a few songs and he told me my music is real. The reason why it moves people was because there was a lot of realness attached to it. He said he actually thought I was some guy from the UK or something. *laughs*. I still go to him from time to time so he prays with me and advises me.
The second one was when I went on tour in Nairobi last year. It was amazing; and I was really surprised a lot of people knew me and my music.
The third one would be…..I have a lot of moments. Last year we won 800 souls on the Amplified tour and that keeps ringing in my head. It makes me happy. It’s not so much but it’s a good thing. I have a target of taking a million souls to Heaven and so far I’m around a thousand. I haven’t reached anywhere but it still excites me.
Q: Saddest moments
A: When I was sacked off stage *puts his Chai latté down and laughs*.
Another one was in Legon about 4 years ago. It was a secular event and they brought me on stage as a gospel singer and the people booed me. But you know that gives me motivation and strength. When people laugh at me and mock me, it pushes me to work harder. In the moment, it did hurt but I understood they did not know better when they did that.
Q: So when they booed, did you leave stage?
A: Me? *laughs* You don’t know me! I finished what I had to do
Q: Have you ever had an experience where you had to compromise or tone down your message?
A: I’ve had people approach me to say “make your music more ‘inspirational’ not straight gospel”. But that’s the thing, I don’t really sit down and plan what I’m writing. It comes from the Holy Spirit. Like I have a song I’m releasing on the 25th of June called “Shoe Shine”. It doesn’t make sense but when you listen to it you’ll understand it. And as part of that, we are having a charity thing at Tema Station where we’d feed over 200 “Kayaye” and “Shoe Shine boys”. That’s one of the songs that really touches my heart.The music just flows; I don’t really listen to people. It’s actually now that I’m sort of……
Q: Which Ghanaian artistes do you love listening to?Who do you look up to?
A: Joe Mettle, Cwesi Oteng, Nacee (he’s really creative), a lot of others. I look up to these 3 people but I pick from everybody.
Q: If you could do a collaboration with any 2 artistes in Ghana who would they be?
A: In Ghana, I think I’ve worked with everyone I want to work with. Cwesi Oteng featured me on “Love me So”; Joe Mettle featured me on “Testify”. I also featured both of them on “None like so”. NaCee featured me on “E be you” which we did at VGMAs. So maybe Ohemaa Mercy.
Q: If you could do a collaboration with any 2 artistes in the world
who would they be?
A: It’s a long list. Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Tasha Cobbs, Travis Greene, Mali Music, Lecrae……
Q: Joe Mettle recently won VGMA Artiste of the Year, did you think he will win?
A: I wanted him to win. I did think he will win. That night was dubbed the Night of Gospel. I performed with NaCee and the gospel all stars and we got the best performance and we had Joe Mettle win. Joe Mettle is someone I respect in the areas of patience and waiting on God. He’s been around for more than 15 years. It’s only until last year that he a got a nomination and this year, he won the ultimate. He didn’t force for it. It came to him. That’s a Godly story. I don’t think it should necessarily be because of your talent that you should win an award like that. I like to see God at play in everything and I see Him at play in him winning. So I’m super excited. It had to be God! It is God.
Q: Joe Mettle recently won VGMA Artiste of the Year, what do you think it means to the Ghanaian Gospel Music Industry?
A: Like he said, “The door is open”. It’s a great door that’s opened. I’m looking forward to a time when Gospel music will rule. That’s one of my secret plans. By the time I’m done, gospel music should rule so when there’s any kind of event and we ask which songs or which artiste should be called on, the first name that should be mentioned should be a gospel artiste.
Q: Do you listen to other genres?
A: Some time ago, I would have said no! But now I listen to intellectual music like the Mozarts.
I think the times where Christianity and mediocrity were paired are over. It’s time for us to put in work. I don’t like when the Bible says the children of the world are wiser. We have to show we have our God. The secular people learn from the church. And we have the Holy Spirit. We should do more and not more from a place of competition; more from a place of worship. So I want to do better so people will see and worship God. Excellence is worship in a way because my God is excellent.
Q: Why Jesus Christ?
A: *laughs* Is there anything else? Jesus Christ is life. Fortunately for me, I’ve had an experience with Him and it’s not something I was told by anybody. That’s the thing about Jesus Christ. When you know Him and have a personal relationship with Him it’s different and beautiful. It’s not about what the pastor or someone said. You know Him. You know without Him we wouldn’t be having this interview? What would we be talking about? *laughs*. What would I sing about? Jesus is life. The whole world won’t make sense without Him. I know where I was before I became born-again. I’ve never felt so much peace and fulfilment. When you ask questions like these, it’s like you’re asking me to talk about, I’m not married but, my wife or someone like that, it’s just some exciting feeling.
Q:How would you describe this generation of Christians?
A: We are wild oh! 100 years ago, you wouldn’t see a Christian with shades and iPhones *laughs* We are more blessed in that we have knowledge and exposure. The Bible says that in the end time, knowledge will abound and the kind of knowledge we have now is amazing. I mean we are sitting here having an interview for your blog. Christianity and blogs 100 years ago *bursts into laughter* Christianity back then was always isolated and in the background and associated with mediocrity and timidity. But I tell people this era is an era where we preach more of the Christ that walked on water. We grew up knowing the person that will turn the other cheek. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that it’s bad. He is still the same Christ but in these times he walked on water so we are supposed to go higher in everything that we do with that understanding.
Q: What negative attitude of modern day Christians do you wish we do away with?
A: I think there should be more awareness of who a Christian is. I think we lost that. We have the power. I want to see power attached to Christianity. Any ordinary 12-year-old should be able to demonstrate power. Not just pastors. That’s how we can win the world. Kenneth Hagin said that, the only way we can bring that power down is unity and one accord. There’s division and I don’t like that everybody thinks they’re better than somebody. If we don’t come together as Christians, I’m afraid of what will happen. We must look beyond our differences. There should be more of oneness and more awareness of who we are as Christians. It shouldn’t be just in word but in action as well. We should be able to show. I’ve ministered and people have fallen under the power. That’s what I want. I want to see power attached. I want to see blind eyes open from ministering a rap song; no one has done that before. You walk to a place and there’s a certain presence. People will be drawn to God.
Q: If you could preach only one sermon, what would it be on?
A: 2 Corinthians 5:17; one of my favourite verses.
‘ Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’
I also like Psalm 82:6 and that’s linked to what I’m saying about POWER. It says, “I have said ye are gods and children of the Most High; that’s God himself speaking but you will die like mere men. Why? Because of ignorance. You don’t know who you are so people bully you. They push you around. The world dictates to you but if you get to know who you are in God or in Christ, untouchable!”
Q: If you had a chance to meet your 18-year-old self, what would you say?
A: I’ll tell him that the future is so bright. *laughs* You have no idea what is about to happen *laughs* But I’d have started earlier because I started when I was 22 but I had the desire when I was 12. That’s when I started writing songs. I should have started when I was 16. I feel I would have had more leverage but then again, our God is some different kind of person. A 1000 years is like 1 day. He could cause the things I wish I had done to happen in just a second.
Q: If you had the opportunity to have lunch with anyone from all time from Adam to the baby being born now, who’d they be?
A: Abraham. He is the father of faith. Romans 4 says, he held on to hope against hope. How did he hold on to the promise for that long? That makes me go crazy. How are you 100 years and you still hold on? So much that it is credited as righteousness.
And Solomon too
Q: For the wisdom or wives?
A: For the wisdom but I’ll ask about wives. With all this wisdom, why? *laughs* I’ll pick the wisdom and leave the rest. But if he wants to give me some concubines…*laughs*
From our generation, err…..like a 1000 and 1 people in my mind, Bill Gates. I want to know how he sleeps at night knowing he is the richest man in the world. Does he even sleep? Apparently, when he goes to bed at 10pm and wakes up at 4am, he makes $4 million. Some people work their whole lives and don’t make a quarter. I’m sure he goes to bed thinking Warren Buffet will take him out. *laughs* He looks cool but I’m sure deep down he is scared. *laughs*
Q: I hear on new year’s day, you had an accident.
A: I was on my way back from a Watchnight Service around 1am. I had to drop an elderly man off at his house. I actually didn’t want to. Interestingly, before we left church, my pastor asked us to pray about accidents. So I’m in my lane, on my way back, and the oncoming cars are in the other lane. Then all of a sudden, I hear a car rushing at top speed, a 4×4. It had left its lane and was rushing into my lane. And it was an elderly woman. She had entered into my lane. There was a car in front of me; she drove straight into that car, hit it off the road and was coming at me directly and I was just looking at her. I had a young lady in the car too and there was gutter near by. And by some divine wisdom, I turned my car a little and she drove straight into my side. In the end when you analyse it, I might have saved her from death because there was a big bridge a few seconds from me and if she hadn’t hit me, she’d have run into it. So when we were repairing the car, she’s a little disrespectful, she sounded like she saved me and I was lucky she hit me. But she was elderly so I respected her but in my head I was like ‘you don’t know what God has done’. When it happened, I knew this year was going to be amazing. I just knew it. People would say otherwise. I’m sitting here and the things that have happened this year; I went to South Africa on tour, the VGMA’s, I’m getting calls from all around the world, sponsorships, I’m meeting some amazing people and I’m releasing a new album: a 5-track album called “Revamp”. It’s like my rebirth.I’ve gone to draw fresh water *laughs* and I love the songs. I find it weird listening to my own songs at times but I can’t stop listening to these ones. This year is my year. I know they just wanted to scare me a little and derail me from what was actually going to happen.
Q: So what you’re saying is if I want to have a good year, I should have an accident?
A: *laughs* No! No! We are different. *laughs*
Q: What is your temperament?
A: I think I have a bit of all but sanguine is the lowest (like 3 times a month). Melancholy is like 40%. I can’t point one
*but we deciphered, he is primarily choleric, which he later admitted. *
Q: Please are you going out?
A: If you asked me this two weeks ago, I’d have said yes. But now, I’m not. It was a friendship that turned into best friendship and into a relationship. I try not to esteem anything above God and purpose. It’s not too easy but yea… Most people will come and say they’ll want to be supportive but later it gets someway. But we are friends. We didn’t part in a grudge.
*’When I see you again’ started to play in the background and we all burst into laughter! He revealed apparently this same song was being played when he parted ways with his girlfriend. Was Second Cup eavesdropping on our conversation?*
Q: What are the things you’d want in a woman? Just 5!
A: Intelligence. Firmness. Presentable (know how to talk; because your role is more of a pastor’s wife. You should be pretty too but I don’t like “too much girls”, not too glamorous…). Very God-fearing. (I mean there are days when I break down so if you can’t pray with me, I mean …). Funny, a little.
Q: What advice do you have for people who are dating?
A: You need to be convinced before you enter. I don’t like relationships where you enter and come out. It means you entered for pleasure. Do all the checks before. I know these things I’m saying, no one will listen because we are in a rush. I know it’s better to marry than to burn but chale, be convinced because marriage is till the end. You need to choose wisely. The times we choose with our eyes are over. I think we should choose women who are strong enough or stronger. If we are carrying a table, and I’m on one side, I’ll need someone equally strong to carry it too. And the table may be our ministry. ’Cos I’ll need help; not a trophy girl or someone to show off. I’ll need someone to carry the table not for 100 metres but till the end with me.
Q: When you’re in a relationship, how far is too far?
A: Ei… you people… *laughs* let’s keep it at hugs for now.
Q: So what have you done?
A: I’ve won souls! *laughs*
I believe hugs should be! Sometimes, it gets over the bar. But even then that’s why it’s important to be certain of who you want. So together you can work at these things.
Q: Alright, last one, any upcoming programs, albums and projects you’d like us to know about?
A: I’ll be releasing the ‘Shoe shine’ single on 25th June at 3pm at Tema Station and as part of that we’ll feed 200 plus ‘shoe shine boys’ and ‘kayaye’ and we’ll spend time with them in prayer and word ministry.
I’ll have the Amplified Concert at K.I.C.C. with Preachers, E-rock and Regardless. It’s totally free. The motive is to encourage people to pursue their dreams. This year our theme is “You’re not too young to be ignored, 1 Timothy 4:12”. Josiah was 8 when he was king. Last year was Phil 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That thing doesn’t have an age limit. It has so much quality but it’s free. It’s a God given vision. Amplified as in amplify your dreams and potential.
Q: Any last words? Shouts? *laughs*
A: Special shouts to … wait I’ve forgotten your names. *laughs*
To Dela, Darren and Maviel. It’s been an exciting time. Not a regular interview. Keep doing what you’re doing and think big, outside a blog, to a TV station or something bigger! I had fun *smiles* and you sorted me out with this Chai Latté!
After two hours of exhilarating interviewing, we ended a little unprofessionally; phones came out, selfies were abused and then we prayed. But who cares? We had a good time!
Follow Kingzkid on Instagram and Twitter @ iamkingzkid