Kenhinde and I are old schoolmates from Federal Government College Secondary School, Akure in Nigeria. Ours was a boarding school which brought girls from every part of country to a south-western city in Ondo State, though for the most part of our education, we barely set foot outside the walls of our school or prison as some of us referred to our sheltered home away from home.
Kehinde and her identical twin, Taiwo, joined Feggicolla (our fun name for our school) in SS1 - which is the 4th year of secondary education. It was special to have twins in my class and not being able to distinguish them made it even extra fun for me and my classmates. The only time most of us could physically tell one from the other, was when they wore their after-school outfits (housewears). These came in the form of checkered coloured & white patterned outfits. The colour of your house wear determined the house your belonged to.
Kehinde was in purple house and Taiwo in green and for the most of us, this was the main way to tell who was who, by their house wears. These twins loved to play pranks and would occasionally appear wearing exactly same coloured house outfits, which you can imagine led to some commotion. I however soon learnt to tell them apart based on their personalities. Kehinde is the softer spoken and calmer version of Taiwo.
Since leaving secondary school, our paths have not really crossed besides catching up randomly on facebook but a vlog reintroduced me to a version of Kehinde I had never known nor witnessed during our 3 years in school. I was so intrigued by Kehinde's passion for songwriting which has resulted in an album of 18 songs! I hope her story and lyrics of her song inspire YOU towards attaining the possibilities that await you by realizing your passion and gifts.
Discovering Raw Talent
I studied accountancy at the University of Ado Ekiti, though I had wanted to do Medicine, in the hope of becoming a medical doctor like my amazing mother, who is my role model in taking care of people and with great work ethics. Physics proved too much a challenge for me and so decided to arm myself with a degree that was based on my love for Maths and economics.
During one of the several shutdowns we had University, when lecturers went on strike and we were placed on "compulsory holiday" for months leaving us with absolutely nothing to do, Taiwo proposed we killed boredom by writing a song. "A song?" I asked "but I do not even know where to start". "Well, that is why we should do this" persisted Taiwo, "we each have an hour to come up with a complete song". So I took up the challenge, it started up as a gospel song, then it took up a new form and I gave it life, it all came up to me naturally, lyrics as well as the melody. After an hour, I was ready with my song, which felt so effortless and surreal. I sang my song to empty handed Taiwo - She could not believe what I had just done, needless to say, I won the challenge!
The next day, the week, the month after this day, I was still humming the tune to my song, which I had created within an hour thanks to a push from my daring twin. It was then that I decided to start writing songs in a jotter. I will write based on my feelings, environment, movies I watched or novels that I read but I never termed this as 'songwriting'. I just had an urge to create songs and did this through out my time at University, getting married, relocating to the UK had kids and even started working. It was just my thing, my hobby and I never showed my pile of notes to anyone.
Accepting the Song Writer in Me
My notes had turned into a massive book filled with songs I had written and shelved somewhere safe for my own personal use until one day Taiwo accidentally found them! She went through every single one of my songs, which I could easily sing by heart. "Kenny, this is something, this is your own unique talent, you have to share them with the world" Taiwo exclaimed.
But I was really scared and considered all my notes, just that - mere notes, nothing more. Plus I really felt I had no time to explore what lies for these song beyond the pages they had been written upon, I was a full time working mum living in the busy city of London. Taiwo encouraged me and once again, I was challenged by my twin - "go into a songwriting contest and we will see what will happen" she said.
I chose one of my songs - Watch n See and entered the UK songwriting content where there are over 1000 entries. Then I forgot all upon it, convinced nothing will come out of it until a few months later I received an email – I was one of the finalist! I stared at the screen shocked and dumb founded, thinking it must be a joke. But it was no joke, I got a certificate confirming my achievement and it was only then that I started believing. It was at this point that I seriously considered myself a song writer.
Striking a Balance
I found my self in banking even though I studied accountancy and so when I got the opportunity to do my Masters in the United Kingdom (UK) I took it, as I saw this as the means to become a chartered accountant. Arriving in the UK, I started the programe for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
I love auditing, a main aspect in accounting and was hoping after completing my ACCA, I could finally commence my career as as an accountant but that did not happen. At this point, I had my first child and was a bit desperate to start earning some income, so once I got a job at yet another bank, my first real job in the UK, I had to take it. So, I am the lady who studied accounting but have grown into a full time banker as a Compliance Manager and I have come to really embrace this career path.
Motherhood and working full time can get tricky at times but I have managed to joggle things with some help from my mother who resides in the UK. It is a constant rush in everyday after drop off and pick up from school. Days when the kids are ill are the most stressful as you could be called at any time of the day to come pick up your kid. Also rainy days, which are quite frequent in the UK, makes commuting extra challenging but working as a banking mum has become my life. I see it as my opportunity to provide for myself and secure a future for my kids and its one I am grateful for despite the challenges.
Writing as Therapy
As a banking contractor, my days are long hours working with so many different people and sometimes under quite stressful conditions. In order not to transfer my stress to those at home, my hot night showers are an essential ritual for calming down and this is usually followed by writing a song. If I have had a terrible boss at the office on a day, I would get home and write about being an over comer, a song to encourage me and get me up and going the next day.
What was once just a hobby, became real therapy especially after having my kids. I write to stay strong and positive and its amazing how my work as a banker has influenced my writing because it drives my song writing. These songs were initially my personal source for upliftment and now when read or heard by others, they inform me about how they get uplifted and encouraged too.
Each Song bears a Story
Besides writing motivational songs for myself, I also write songs about what friends and colleagues are going through, sharing their real stories of surviving life's general challenges.
The song 'Watch & See' which made me one of the finalist in the UK song writing contest in 2014, was based on a story of another friend who had gone through a terrible emotional and physical abuse in her marriage. She found the lyrics very encouraging and was glad I wrote it because by sharing her story with others this way, those going through same experience can listen to it, get inspired and get out of the trap. She was content even if it were just one person who gets some help though the song.
One of my biggest fan is my nephew, my twin sister's son. He really believes in me and one of the few people who previews each of my song. I decided to write a song for his 10th birthday - a jam party song to surprise him, which he himself had inspired. When the MC at his birthday party played it, he was stunned, loved it and rocked to it like everyone else at the party. They could not believe it was written specially for him by his own aunt because it sounded like some real rock start music. He replied that it was by his Rock Star - Mummy K!
One of my song was inspired at the birth of my lovely son - the first day I saw him, holding him in my arms, I fell instantly in love with this boy. On that hospital bed, I wrote a love song for my son.
Doing what she loves, her own Way
Since wining the UK songwriting competition, Kehinde has embraced her talent and by pushing out of her comfort zone, with the support of her daring twin, they have created a vlog through which Kenny as Kenny Write Music engages with a wider audience to promote her songs and connect with others as a means of having the impact she so desires. This phase of her songwriting journey is about taking her personal notes public, with no apologies!
Even though Kehinde did not end up as medical doctor, caring for people physically, through her songwriting, she is able to help herself, share inspiring stories and encourage others with her uplifting lyrics.