‘I had always known I will hit it big someday .I already had that determination since I started singing, but honestly speaking Limpopo was a divine song from God. I think God just felt it was time for me to step up my game to A’list level’- Kcee, Kingsley Okonkwo
It is our ability to hang in there and fight for our dreams that makes us become champions. Champions are called champions because they have been able to overcome something. This is the story of Kingsley Okonkwo, popularly known as Kcee in the Nigerian music scene. Kingsley Okonkwo started like every other upcoming act in Nigeria – the hard way, hustling for success. In the early 2000s, he met with former partner Presh (Precious John) in a church choir. They met up with a third member, named the group KC Presh and released their first single ‘Ose baba’, shot a video for it, receiving mild success. Parting ways with the third member in 2002, the duo entered the first ever edition of Nigerian Breweries STAR QUEST talent show and won, beating the likes of Asa, Psquare, Klint da Drunk, Mr Raw (formerly known as Nigga Raw). As part of the spoils, KC Presh signed a deal with Kennis Music(the biggest record label in Nigeria at the time) and made a big debut.
KCPHRESH at Aki’s wedding
In the words of Osagie Alonge an entertainment journalist:’ During their time at Kennis, KC Presh never attained super status, it always seemed like they were one hit away. They soon parted ways with the label and set up shop on their own with KP Records. Their first instalment was the OJB assisted ‘Segemenge’ off the album ‘Sio Nkpo’ which bagged them aChannel O nomination and more fame. But while the likes of D’banj and the Mo’Hits were flying high with chart topping singles and back-to-back hits, KC Presh struggled with their careers. They tried once again with KCEE’s wealthy brother intervening – they restructured, re-launched the label as ‘Blingz Record’, affiliated with Grafton Records in the South and released a new album ‘No Time’ with the lead single ‘Shokori bobo’. All this however did not result in mega success, infact the duo’s careers’ imploded.
In the words of Kcee:’ It got to a point that I wanted to leave the industry. I went into furniture business, I started importing furniture into the country. But I was not deriving the kind of satisfaction that I wanted . I had to put aside every business and said to myself that if I try this time and it doesn’t work I will leave’
They decided to go their separate ways and try out their solo music careers. The media was agog with their unofficial ‘divorce’ their marriage was a union made in heaven but didn’t birth any big break . Kcee went to work, started recording singles, changing his music style and embracing the much more groovy music pattern. It didn’t pay off instantly, but it paid off eventually. He puts it this way:’ Limpopo became an instant hit in its first two weeks of release. In less than one month, I was receiving calls from different part of the world and in two months, it was something else. It is the anointing and the power of God that I have been enjoying since I released the song’
Having done songs that didn’t give him the needed breakthrough; he kept at it playing the game of persistence. Limpopo is the eighth single he released since he breaking up with his partner, Phresh.
’If I had given up before now in wouldn’t be talking about all these. I just believe that there was something in me that I need to express’, He recalls.
His music career was limping and on a survival mode, but his resilience and hard work made him sought after.
You are reading this piece right now, and telling yourself, “But I no be Kcee na” Yes you are not Kcee, but you can decide to apply the lessons you learnt from this article and apply it to your various life’s pursuits. Give it another shot!