Kee is a gospel artiste from a musical family. He is the second of three children in his family. His passion for gospel music has heightened since he joined the choir at 10 years old and has not looked back since.
PT: Tell us about yourself!
Kee: My name is John Ikechukwu Onuorah, aka Kee. I was born in Aba in Abia state but grew up in Onitsha, where I attended primary school and later moved to Oba in Anambra state for my Secondary education. University was in Abakaliki in Ebonyi State where I studied Computer Science. I have an older brother and a younger sister.
PT: Why the name KEE?
Kee: Kee is short for Ikechukwu. Though the nickname stuck because of my love for all songs by the American gospel Singer, Pastor John P. Kee. Funny enough, my names are John Paul Ikechukwu (Kee). Thus, I can also be John P. Kee, however in order not to confuse both our monikers, I shortened mine to Kee.
PT: How did you start out?
Kee: Like most gospel singers, I had started out singing in church with my siblings. My mum encouraged us. We formed a group called The Trinity Singers. However, at 19, I fully understood what music was for me. I was called to sing and boast about the name of Jesus.
PT: Did you face any challenges from your family when you decided music was what you wanted to do?
Kee: No, none at all! God made it very easy for me. You see my mum is a fantastic gospel singer, so she nurtured me. Our morning devotions were practice time for us, as we learnt to perfect our vocals and harmonize. My brother and sister are good singers as well, thus I come from a family of music lovers.
PT: Are you the only one into music in your family since you are all good singers?
Kee: Yes, I am actually. My siblings just sing in church and that’s it! So, yes I am the only one taking it to another level.
PT: Do you have an album?
Kee: Not yet. But I am currently working on one. It would be out in 2015 by God’s grace.
PT: Any singles out yet?
Kee: I currently have two singles out which would both be in my album titled God’s Son Project. I Love to Call Your Name was my first single. God actually instructed me to release this song first. Before the song was released, a lot of people advised me not to release this particular song first because it was a worship song and not as groovy as my other songs. However, I am glad I listened to the voice of the Lord, as the reception I received from the song was fantastic. I have been told how the song has touched lives and ministered to many and I thank God for that.
Obim, which means my heart in Igbo, was released on the April 14, 2014. The song is a song of thanksgiving for everything God has done. We can give God thanks with many things (money, time, etc) however for me using your heart says it all. It is the heart that decides what would come out of my mouth, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Thus, I’d rather give him my heart because if he has my heart he has everything. The song is very groovy and would definitely get people up on their feet dancing and praising God.
PT: Have you had any challenges as a musician?
Kee: Sure. As a gospel singer, you are faced with numerous challenges, ranging from finding an audience to finding a sponsor. However, for me, the biggest challenge has been fighting the different voices in my head. For example, after ministering I find myself asking, “Oh my goodness! Did I do that right?” or “God were you glorified with that?” God is helping me realize that my purpose is to do things his way and not for me to expect certain reactions or compliments from his people. It is not about me, it is about HIM.
PT: Who are your mentors in the Nigerian music industry?
Kee: I listen to a lot of gospel artistes, but my mentor is Uche Agu “Double Double”, but you cannot help but listen to other gospel artist such as Tim Godfrey, Marvin Sapp and many others.
PT: Which Nigerian gospel artiste would you like to collaborate with?
Kee: I would like to do a collaboration with Tim Godfrey. The guy is very deep. I respect artistes that are in my own words ‘musically deep’. I respect people that have a complex music sense are complex, or ‘crazy’ in a good way. I would also love a collaboration with Freke Umoh, Nosa, SamSong.
Internationally, it would be a dream to work with Joh P Kee, Zacardi Cortez, Jonathan McReynolds, Lalah Hathaway and Kiki Sheard.
PT: Tell us about your upcoming album and what to expect.
Kee: The title of the album is God’s Song Project- God gave me the title of this album. The album is all about God’s essence; who he is, what he is and what he can do through us- basically everything about him. There are 12 tracks on the album and I wrote all the songs myself. God is showing me new things as I work on this project. Thus, the album relieves my versatility, as over the years, I have taken in a lot of music genres and I am actually going to be doing fusions of songs together. The album is very colourful as there is a bit of everything, from techno to R&B, some soul ballad and rock. Altogether the lyrical approach of the whole album focuses on God and God alone.
PT: What is your advice to other upcoming artistes?
Kee: My advice is simple; always make God the centre of everything. Working according to his timing is very crucial. The truth is no matter how much we try or push things, they’re never going to happen until God allows it to happen.