Interview with The Ki Ki Experience

Written by Divine Magazine

Keyontia “Ki Ki” Hawkins, originally from Baltimore, MD attended The Baltimore School for the Arts where she expanded vocally from gospel. R&B, jazz, rock, into classical. This classically trained prodigy further continued her education at The Juilliard School of Music.

Ki Ki began her touring career with notable artists such as Amel Larrieux; Kelis; Angelique Kidjo; Nona Hendryx; Patti LaBelle; The Legendary Group LaBelle, and Marc Almond to name a few. As an established writer, Ki Ki has written and performed lead and backing vocals on dance singles, “You Don’t Tell Me Anymore”, “Get Up”, “Thankyou”, “Keep It Movin”, and “Give You What You Need” for Wakko Records with singles released in the UK, and the US. She has been invited to lend her vocal styling to many studio sessions, including Raheem DeVaughn’s “Love Experience” album, featured vocalist on Q-Tip’s 2007 single “Work it Out”, and 2009 “Kamaal the Abstract”, LaBelle’s 2008 “Back to Now” CD, and Nona Hendryx’s 2011 “Mutatis Mutandis” album. Ki Ki has continued to sing with other major as well as indie artists, but she is now preparing for her new project “The Ki Ki Experience” EP coming soon.

Ki Ki:

A brand-new sound of alternative rock, soul, funk, infused into one, adding a unique blend of soulful sounds enriched with breathtaking warm yet powerful vocals.

 What is your current music project about?

My current music project is a collective of songs developed over a span of time that reflects the different experiences through the highs and lows of life. It’s my innermost thoughts and feelings on growing, expanding, acceptance, worthiness, and ultimately standing in my power. As a woman, I was directly impacted by experiences that, for example, affected my self esteem and sense of worth. I made some choices that, had I known better, I would’ve done better. The songs on this project allowed me to delve deep into subconscious thoughts and feelings surrounding nontraditional topics.

When you create music, what is your personal purpose or goal?

When I create music, my intention is to be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable. For me, I’m the kind of artist that may have inspiration in the middle of the night. An entire song, meaning the melody, some lyrics or overview of what the message is, may just hit me. The message is so profound, so clear, and definitive, it’s like it was already written, and just came through me. That’s why it’s important to me to create a space where such sacred emotions are safe. 

Do you enjoy recording and production?

I love the recording and production process. The recording process is like the canvas, and I get to splash as many colors on it as I want. I get the ideas out of my head, and an added bonus is working with an engineer that understands how to put it all together. You see, the recording process is about connection. It’s like the physical manifestation of connection through spirit. This is the point in the process of creating that harvest the energy of the sanctity of the music. 

Was anyone else involved in writing, recording, or producing the songs?

A.) Oh yes, there’s a number of phenomenal musicians, singers, and producers that have contributed their time, talent, and love to this project. I wrote the songs, produced /co-produced, and even played guitar and keys on a couple tracks; however, these amazing musicians really deserve the credit. Brett Radin & Chris Scianni (Producers), Simon Fuller (UK Producer), DJ Static (NYC Producer), Jesse Krakow & Stephen Honoshowsky (NYC Producer), and Otho Green (MD Producer). For the recordings, I enlisted the greatness of such musicians and singers as Jerome Jordan (NYC Guitarist), Jeff Jeudy (NYC Guitar, Bass), Hiroyuki Matsuura (NYC Drummer), V Jeffrey Smith (NYC String Arrangements, Flute, and Brass Section), Etienne Stadwijk (NYC Clav Organist), Phillip Strand (NJ Pipe Organist), Kat Dyson (LA Guitarist), Dave Brophy (NY & LA Guitarist), Divinity Roxx (NYC Bassist), Shirazette Tinnin (NYC Drummer), Shamel Hughes (NYC Recording, Mixing, Mastering Engineer), and last but not least, some of my favorite featured vocalists include Asa “Lovechild” Arnold (NYC), Jack Fuller “Gypjaq” (NYC), Tess Santos (NYC), and although Darius Booker (NYC), and Keith Anthony Fluitt (NYC) didn’t record on the album, they’re featured vocalist for the live performances.

Do you have any other plans relating to this release? A video? Online Shows?

The plans for the release are still being organized; however, I do intend on releasing a music video to go along with the first single “We The People”. I’ve been so blessed to have a group of creatives come together to pour into a dream, and make it happen with little to no funding. Nona Hendryx, being an executive producer for the video “We The People”, connected me with one of the most talented, and up and coming directors on the NY scene. Mr. Sekou Luke (Director) is the mastermind behind all of the moving parts for the video. We merged resources, a team of people, and a place to shoot the video during the pandemic. CTZN Chance & Apryl Sashay hosted the shoot at their multimedia studio (A BURNCULTURE Production), the team included: Jamila Holman (Assistant Director), Duell Davis (Lighting), Ranardo-Domeico Grays (Choreographer), Major (Visual Projections), Sabrina Adaba (Make-up & Hairstylist), Justice N. Bey (Production Manager), and my beautiful daughter, Amahri Hawkins (behind the scenes photographer). I have a couple of shows booked for February 16th at The Bowery Electric (New York), April 22nd at The Cutting Room (New York), and May 21st at The Crown (Baltimore, MD). As soon as everything is organized, I’ll let you know the release date.

What would be the ideal food to have cooked for you on a date night?

LOL…ok. For any potential suitors out there, Lol, I’m simply complicated. I’m very finicky, but I really like what I like. An appropriate meal for me would be pan seared or grilled salmon, baked sweet potato, mesclun salad, or string beans. I would be really satisfied with that meal LOL.

Do you have any lucky items, objects, or traditions?

A.) Yes. I wear a sterling silver bracelet that my daughter gave me. It has her name engraved on the heart charm, and I never take it off. When I’m away traveling, it reminds me of how close she is to my heart. I also have my mothers’ and Grandmothers’ wedding rings and bands. I hope to pass them down to my daughter, and she does the same with her child or children at that time. What I know is, my ancestor’s energy was a part of those objects, and I’m happy to have some tangible item to draw on for strength and courage.

Do you have any superstitions?

LOL. I do. Well, I’ve gotten over the whole black cat thing, turned around three times, and that could be anywhere, if a black cat crosses your path LOL. I switched that one LOL. I now say if a black cat crosses my path, I’m getting some money LOL I still don’t play though with the splitting of the poles. No, no, no, don’t split the pole LOL. Hilarious!

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

The title of my autobiography would be, “YEAH BABY, MYSTERIES OF THE “KI KI” POWER”. In this context I’m referring to “Ki Ki” as vagina or rather pussy power. There are several definitions of Ki Ki, Chi Chi etc. depending on what language. I’m stating it in the most respectful and honorable way to pay homage to the women who stand in that power day in, and day out.

What would you bring along to an idyllic picnic?

Oh, this is simple. I’ll have a blanket, of course music, some food, drinks, and gummies LOL. I’m such a loner, it might be nice to have a companion too LOL. Oh boy, I’m something else. What can I say? LOL. “It’s The Power!!”, as Mike Greko (Musical Director) would say.


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