KB – giving back and moving forward
21 October 2015
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Well, welcome back to Old Mutual Live Radio. My name is Aphiwe Manono. We are in conversation with actress, musician, mummy, and all things wonderful, I gather. Now, we’ve spoken about her upbringing. We’ve spoken about her music.
I know you are also very passionate about the North West, where you come from, Keabetswe, and you know you’ve mentioned earlier that that also helped mould you to be who you’ve become. What work are you giving back to the North West and what sort of work are you busy with at the moment to try and help because you were helped?
Giving back to the North West as much as possible
KB: Ya, I always say that you know. Sometimes we take for granted like a little thing like giving someone a moment on stage it can change their lives forever. Like you said, I was moulded by the North West Province. I’m very passionate about inspiring the young people there because, like you said, somebody inspired me and gave me a break.
When I do shows in the North West Province, I use local artists there. I find them. It’s hard because you have to look for them and then you have to, I try. Then you choreograph and you’re teaching them the songs and I know that it’s a big thing because I’ve got people that I’ve worked with for years, who understand my work, who understand my music. But I know that I’m contributing to the bigger picture when I incorporate these young people into my performance.
They are so passionate. They come and you can see that they are really hungry for this and they appreciate it so much. It really means a lot to me because I would rather have that and someone saying, “I’ve been on stage with those three,” because I know what it means to them and I know that I’ll have another show tomorrow, where I can do my old stuff, a big, bling performance.
The kids and the people that I work with, I mean this last year, and this was brought about. I had always wanted to do it but there’s a young girl, called Bonolo, my senior, who is also hustling, she said to me, “We want to do a talent show. Can you just please come and make an appearance?”
I was very hesitant, and I made the appearance and I said to her what are we going to do with the winners? She said, “I don’t know.” I said, if you become their agent I will empower them, and we created something that’s working so well.
I have a show. I’ve sent her people in the team that can do this and it works, so every single show that I’ve done in my home, ever since then, I’ve employed these kids. The last time I employed 125 artists in one show because I’ve realised that we need to teach people about what our work is. We have this entertainment but there’s a saying that says that. It says something to the effect that people’s dreams, or something like that, are as big or people’s growth, or something like that, is as big as their dreams and those dreams are dreamt by artists.
We are the ones, we are the ambassadors of evolution, and where our people need to go and I think that now, our country needs us more than before. Somebody needs to remind us that we are good, and when I say good, I’m not talking about anything. I’m just saying as people that there’s good in us, and to remind us that it is not too far. If you just look inside yourself and you’ll find it.
I know it sounds very cliché and when there’s an opportunity to show somebody else the good in them. A lot of stuff is going to change in our country and I use my craft for that. To show our MECs, our leaders, to say you know you might not know what an artist looks like when they’re starting up. I will show you and I will show you how to groom them and how to get them to a certain level. To show or give a solution, basically.
So it’s not just about me going on stage and singing. They’re about inspiring people. They’re about bridging the gap and giving those young people a chance. Okay, somebody that is looking for a talent can spot them and say, “Oh, my goodness. I didn’t even know there was something like that.”
So far, I’ve done a very good job of it and I’m looking forward to doing a whole lot more than I’ve done so far. I network. I look for more people from the Province that I can work with. I’m passionate about my sisters and brothers. I’m star struck with them when I see my fellow North West performers. I just get so emotional and they don’t understand because they’re like what’s wrong with KB, you know.
I say to them, “I love you guys so much because you have made our language fashionable. You’ve made it so cool.” I know that for young people, in the village that speaks the same language they know that they are part of something special and it’s amazing.
I can go on forever because I’m very passionate about them. I’m always going to meetings with anybody to say what can we do? How can I help? Also, I know that sometimes people will open their doors to me because of my work and me being a public figure. Sometimes I don’t necessarily have anything to offer that person but I know a young person somewhere, who’s got an idea and I know that if I can connect these two.
Then something magical will happen, so it is also something that I’ve taken up on myself to do, to say if Aphiwe has a concept and Old Mutual will not give Aphiwe the time. I know that if I knock on their door they will open it, so I will take Aphiwe to them and say, “Please just hear her out.”
AU: I just love it that at the end of the day, like you said, and I feel like I couldn’t agree more with you. You know, we are so stretched and everyone gets so caught up in their own lives and their own problems, and there are many contributing factors to that.
That I won’t even get into but I feel like you are right. That sometimes all people need is love. People just need to know that, you know what, if I pull my weight and this person is willing to help me, we can make this work and I applaud you for that. I think we need more people like you for that.
KB: Thank you so much.
AU: Lastly, I just want to find out, are you working on any new projects? What can fans expect and if they, or to find out if there’s nothing concrete yet? Just throw in your handles or wherever we can find out anything and your information.
What’s on the agenda for KB?
KB: You know, Aphiwe, the thing about my career is that a lot of things happen at almost the same time and I never quite have the time to dissect and see what is it that I want to focus on. Like now, we spoke about acting and then singing, and then this and that.
I feel like I’m at a place where I need to bring everything together and I need to bring my fans together, to find me in one spot. The fan who loves the music gets to know the actress, all on the same platform, and the fan who loves the acting gets to know the singer, because some people don’t even know that I sing.
I’ve got a new album. I’ve got a new music clip, let me put it that one. That I put away in 2012. I went to Sweden. I went to Norway. I worked on this beautiful it’s called The Music Makana, where you meet with different songwriters and you experiment on ideas.
I’ve got beautiful material from there but I’ve also got other material from previous albums that people found and they love, and I’ve never actually performed it because this happened at a time where my relationship and my contract with my very last record company ended.
I feel like I want to release the new music but I also need to just consolidate the previous albums because the music was also good. I mean I worked with the guys who are very talented. It was before they released their own album, so I feel that instead of just focussing on the music. I need to focus on, just as an artist, what I’m offering people and I think I have a lot to offer.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be brand new, which I have. It is just about bringing them with because when we make these songs, people get attached to the songs and then you leave the song, and you move to something else because of the relationship or what went wrong with the record company.
I don’t think the album I was talking about ‘Round Fever Evolution’ I don’t think it will ever be released. I don’t know. It came out. It came out and it wasn’t promoted but I feel that I need to perform the music because some people have found the music on there and they’ve heard it, and they think it is actually good and it is good. I’m looking at doing the performing and choreographing more of those songs, and then also building the momentum to my next album, which I also know people are going to be so blown away with.
The Scandinavian influence and the way those guys just stretched me on those albums. I was out of my depth and when I listen to them now, I’m so proud that I went. I’m proud that I was brave enough and, I mean I used to go to the hotel room and cry because they’re not trying to be your friend.
They are trying to get a good product but I’m glad I did it and I’m very proud of myself, as an artist but also as a businessperson because with this new music that I’ve done in Sweden. I had to give my own money. I had to find my own money to go to Sweden, to get accommodation and to pay these guys, and it was a lot of money, right.
But I’m so proud of myself because I’m doing it. Inside I’m evolving from just being an artist to being a businessperson, so there’s a lot in store for them. Yes, they must just keep their ears on the ground. The one thing I’m looking forward to the most is being on stage. I’ve missed that so much. I’ve missed those productions that you spoke about being on stage and being a Latin dancer, so that’s what I’m looking forward to the most.
AU: We simply cannot wait and thank you so much for spending the afternoon with us, Keabetswe.
KB: It’s been my pleasure, Aphiwe. Thank you.
AU: Thank you.