In addition to being beautiful, intelligent, and down-to-earth, Ketara “KeKe” Wyatt is one of the most gifted soul/R&B vocalists of her generation. She’s already proven her ability to make a substantial impact on the music industry via “My First Love,” her dynamic duet with recording star Avant, whose latest platinum album is highlighted by the sensuous 2001 lovers anthem.
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Now, ready, willing and more than able to ascend the charts and make music history in her own right, KeKe unveils SOUL SISTA, her debut MCA records album, featuring the body bumping lead single “Used To Love.” Written and produced by industry icon (and the album’s sole producer) Steve Huff (Avant, Joe, David Hollister), SOUL SISTA offers a plethora of potential Wyatt hits, each fueled by powerhouse production and KeKe’s awe inspiring voice. Her superior range, unique vocal style and flawless phrasing, are equally matched by an emotional, straight from the heart and soul delivery. “The message that is being conveyed in ‘Used To Love,” explains the Kentucky based rising star, “is that sometimes it’s hard for couples to maintain the level of passion and interest that was there in the beginning; when everything was new. When that happens, either you get it together, or you move on. I’m sure most people can relate to that.”
SOUL SISTER’s outstanding song lineup takes further soul/R&B flight with “Don’t Take Your Love,” an inspired, mid-tempo delight that focuses on the optimistic side of everlasting love; “I Don’t Wanna,” a serious soul adventure sung with KeKe’s usual effervescing emotion, and propelled higher by another pulsating Steve Huff track; and “Talkin’ Bout Lovin’,” self explanatory in it’s title, and overwhelming in its execution. “As an artist I feel it’s my job to touch people with my voice, hopefully, when possible, very deeply,” KeKe notes. “Every song on the album touched me, so having the opportunity to share them with the world is something I thank God for every day.”
Although she didn’t write any of the songs on her introductory album, preferring instead to focus all of her energy on making every song a standing ovation worthy performance, KeKe nonetheless has ambition to pen several songs on her next project. “I do like songwriting,” but this time singing to me was more important. However, each song I chose to do I totally related to. So having written them or not, they all reflect who I am, and many of my real life experiences.”
Long before she landed her MCA record deal, KeKe Wyatt, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, reveals that music has always been a part of her life. Influenced by legends such as Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Ella Fitzgerald and Karen Clarke, astoundingly she remembers making her first public performance at the unbelievable age of two years old. “I sang a gospel song in church that my daddy taught me called ‘How Beautiful,” she fondly reminisces. “My dad is an organist, and my mother sings, and they were the ones that pushed me to sing. To this day they still encourage and support me to give it all I’ve got. Plus, growing up, my brothers, Kendal and Keever and I, always sang together. To this day we kick some serious harmony. And when I go on the road, they’re going to sing backup for me. I can’t wait.”
The world has waited long enough for the emergence of scintillating “Soul Sister,” KeKe Wyatt, who, throughout her grade, Junior High and High School (where she was the vocal favorite of her Principal) years, she sang in the choir, glee clubs, talent shows, parties, anywhere she could practice her chosen craft. By the time she was twelve, just two years before she met prolific producer Steve Huff, several record labels were interested in signing her, including LaFace records. “That didn’t work out,” KeKe recalls, “but the experience gave me even more ambition to keep going until I reached my goal.”.
By the time she was 15, KeKe had sung in a few girl groups, including a very early version of today’s hottest female trio, Destiny’s Child; known then by another name. Fast Forwarding to the year 2000, after making several demos with Steve Huff, whom she says is the only producer she needed to make her impressive album (“because he does it all”), he introduced her to Avant at a recording session for “My First Love.” It was a career elevating move. “I liked Avant from the minute I met him. So when Steve suggested that we do the song together, the chemistry between us was off the chain,” KeKe says smiling. “I really love the song, and I’m very grateful to Avant for letting me be a part of it.”
Signed with MCA last year, and managed by Chicago based Eric Payton, in the midst of recording SOUL SISTER, KeKe also toured nationally with Avant in support of “My First Love.” The invaluable experience, she insists, will help her when she’s out there as a solo artist. “I’m looking forward to doing my album’s songs on stage,” she says, “because there’s nothing like sharing the love, yourself and your talent with a real live audience.”
With SOUL SISTER and “Used To Love” on the brink of making her one of 2001’s biggest, brightest and best new stars, KeKe Wyatt raises the soul/R&B bar forever. And looking far beyond her current success, longevity for her seems certain. She’s a true artist whose music and voice are timeless, and whose time has indeed come.
by Charles E. Rogers
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