Kémi López was born in Maiduguri, Nigeria but currently lives in New Jersey. She identifies herself as an Afro-RnB artist. Her journey to becoming a music artist started at a young age when she would be listening to CDs by Mariah Carey and Whitney Huston. These two legendary artists would go on to inspire Kémi López to start a career of her own.
Her journey into the music industry would not be without its challenges. Label disputes over how she portrays herself would soon surface after she signed a record deal. Before she knew it, Kemi would later find herself in the church leading a worship team without a deal.
It seemed as those her heart was set on not wanting to make music ever again. However, her passion for music was soon rediscovered as she began to find her feet once again. This time, however, Kemi believed that whatever she would do going forward God had to be in it. Through prayer, Kemi rediscovered her love for music and plans to reintroduce herself as an artist.
For more on Kémi López read our interview below:
The following interview has been lightly edited for context and clarity
Daniel Young: So tell me why music?
Kémi López: I guess because it’s therapeutic, it’s healing. It connects a lot of people with their emotions.
Daniel Young: What is your earliest experiences with music?
Kémi López I started singing at a young age. I was a teenager to be exact. I remember auditioning for American Idol. I made it to go to Hollywood, I chose not to do it. After that I had a record deal with this independent record label which went “well”. Things started to go well at the beginning then just went things started to pick up the label and myself didn’t see eye to eye. They wanted me to be someone that I’m not. After that I took a break and stopped doing music and now I’m back to making music again.
Daniel Young: what was your thought process when you were going through those situations?
Kémi López: I always asked myself am I making the correct decision. Honestly, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the direction the things were going. I felt like I wasn’t properly represented and that’s why I quit the label in the end.
Daniel Young: After this situation, what was then the next step for you?
Kémi López: I actually just quit. I got married. I was singing at church. I was a worship leader for a few years. I just recently decided to give music another try.
Daniel Young: Was there any challenges when you started making music?
Kémi López: I think the main challenge was trying to find the correct blend between Afro Beats and RnB. I started making RnB music at first inspired by Whitney Houston. I always asked myself if I was going to be accepted by the community. The music I was making wasn’t exactly Afro Beats it had a different dimension to it.
Daniel Young: Did you receive any backlash?
Kémi López: No thank God I didn’t, I don’t know what I would have done if that had to happen.
Daniel Young: How do you deal with self-doubt?
Kémi López: I remember someone gave me this advice once, just fake it. Just know that when you are experiencing self-doubt then you’re lacking self confidence in whatever you are doing. In times like that I pray. I am deeply spiritual. A lot of times we don’t feel that we are up to par with that what we need to do. But the important thing is to not give up, you have to keep going at all times.
Daniel Young: Having gone through so much, did you ever think that you would accomplish the stuff that you did so far?
Kémi López: Yes, I did. I always felt something was bound to happen. I just didn’t know when or how it was going to take place. I just wanted balance to the point where I didn’t want to put so much pressure on myself. At the end of the day everything is up to God. Before I start any project I take a moment to pray and ask God to be in everything that I am about to do. Again if it doesn’t work out or it does that is up to God and I wouldn’t want to be outside of God’s will.
Daniel Young: What type of benefit would you say being in the worship team had on your writing skills and overall creative process?
Kémi López: It helped me to be more in touch with my emotions. I become more in touch with my God-given emotions and being able to express that a bit better
Daniel Young: Has there been any difficulty making songs recently?
Kémi López: All the songs that are on the ep actually came really easily. I’ll just hear the melody in my head and then start writing. Most of the time I just sit down by the piano and within an hour I would have a whole song done. And then sometimes I really struggle with certain songs. If I see that I’m really struggling with it and it’s not really coming together, I just put it down and I move on. I’m more inclined to focus on the ones that come quickly.
Daniel Young: Explain your writing to process to me?
Kémi López: So sometimes I’ll just hear a melody in my head. I’ll just write it or I’ll think about an experience that I’ve had and then write something about it. I’ll start running with that idea and then the music will come afterwards.
Daniel Young: What is your most favourite song that you’ve made?
Kémi López: It probably has to be one of the worship songs that I have written in the past. Because it directly related to my wellbeing and my identity in Christ. I didn’t just make that song for me but anyone else that needed to hear it at the time. While making that song I thought who would hear this?
Daniel Young: What is next for Kemi Lopez?
Kémi López: I know everybody gets into this music thing for different reasons. My reason isn’t really so that I can be adored or to be famous and to be rich. My reason is I’ve always loved music and felt connected to music on a much deeper level. I’ve always been a creator when it comes to writing and melodies and things like that. And whenever I’m doing that is when I feel the most fulfilled and most like myself. So what I want is I would like to be recognized for that. I want to be making a living off of what I love doing, and I want to be able to touch people. It would be nice to have someone come up to me and say, your song got me through this, you know? I want to be able to touch as many people as I can around the world within the next two to five years with my music. That is what is next for me.
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