PEOPLE DIDN’T WANT ME TO MARRY MY MANAGER -KEFEE
Kefee's face has become a household feature as far as the Nigerian music scene is concerned. But one thing her fans don't know about this pretty songbird is that her father 'pampered' her with heavily loaded names.
Her original name, Irikefe, which means 'destined for wealth,' excites the traditional singer a lot and because of this, any reference to her old man elicits smiles from the Who Know Me Before crooner. She went down memory lane about her closeness to her father.
“I'm his first daughter. Maybe that is why he decided to give me wonderful names. In fact, there is one name which means, 'I am going to make a story out of this child.' Honestly, I don't know what he wanted to do with that or why he gave me the name. No doubt, I was very close to my dad. When I was still young, he used to call me 'Ticket to the world.'”
As an eight-year-old, her father encouraged her to sing in churches by rewarding her handsomely for her effort.
“He encouraged me to come out in churches to perform solo; and after such efforts, he used to give me five naira. I can't remember how many five nairas I received from him and as a child then. I was always looking forward to receiving five naira from my dad.”
Kefee, who described growing up as full of fun, told Spectacles that she grew up in a very big compound where there were about twelve families with a lot of young ones. She thanked her father for the encouragement he gave her when she took to music; not minding the slight objection he showed when she combined her studies with music during her years in the university. The old man feared that doing such might lead the girl astray, but she was able to weather the storm.
She said, “When I was doing my course in Public Administration at the University of Benin, I formed a group with a friend of mine. I did not tell my dad about it until he saw us on the TV. He wasn't happy about it and I know if I had told him, he would have talked me out of it, saying that I should give attention to my studies first.”
Whenever there is any outing, it is rare not to find Kefee with her husband hand-in-hand. But when Spectacles asked her whether it was well accepted by her family to get married to someone who used to be her manager, she gave a long laugh and said it was all over now since those who opposed the move realised that the two were made for each other.
Spectacles insisted on knowing why she married her music producer rather than keep it as strict business relationship, and she said, “You are talking as if I married him. In Nigeria, women don't marry men, it is the other way round. Well, we knew each other a long time ago in Delta State, before I moved to Lagos. If you say it was music that brought us together, you may be right. I saw him first in the choir, he was then my choir director. Later we started going out and when it was time for us to get married, we did that.”
When it appeared that the two lovebirds were going to become life partners, some people raised the roof, objecting to such a relationship.
“Many people bothered us. My parents did not want it, likewise his own parents. His dad was the general overseer of the church we attended then. Apart from that, some church members and lady members of the choir did not like the idea too. I am from Delta while he is from Edo. And there is this belief that people from one state are not fit for the other or something like that. But at the end of the day, everybody was happy.”
Kefee, whose brand of music may not be seen as fully gospel, believes that it is possible to live on music in Nigeria. According to her, “It depends. We have a studio where we make extra money.”
A very beautiful woman, though with girlish look, she said her husband never bothered his head too much whenever his wife travelled alone either locally or abroad.
“I think it will be interesting if you ask him how he feels when I travel. That is what he can answer for himself. As to my girlish appearance, he is very comfortable.”
On whether artistes make good husbands and wives or not, she said, “I don't know about that. But to the best of my ability, I think I am trying. When I feel like doing something, I do it. I am trying to be myself. I don't have any problem about that.”