Talk of one young man who is currently living his dreams not just a musician, but a comedian, the name, Otolorin Kehinde, famously known as Kenny Blaq will readily come to mind. The reason is not far to seek. The story of his quick rise to fame and wealth amazes many people, especially his colleagues in the entertainment industry where he currently rules. No event is complete without Kenny, who grew up in Ejigbo, Lagos State. From Nigeria to virtually every part of the world, the young act has graced a handful of shows with his music-comedy. Days back, SEGUN ADEBAYO caught up with the fast-rising comedian.
Your name now comes up at every public event within and outside Lagos. How are you coping with such new lease of life?
Do I have a new lease of life? I don’t think there is anything like that. Yes, a lot of things have changed. I can’t go out like I used to do. I think it is becoming a life time that I am getting used to and I am enjoying every bit of it. It can only be the grace of God to have come to this height. My life has not really changed much apart from the fact that I am being mindful of what I do and where I go.
Looking at how your career started, would you have pictured your life in this mould?
I didn’t know I would be this big very soon. If you had asked me where I would be five years before now, I would probably have said I wanted to be the biggest comedian in the world; biggest in Nigeria and visit some places. Right now, what I see is bigger than what I thought I would be five years ago. So, if you ask me where I would be in another five years, I will say I want to be where God wants me to be.
Now that you have attained this height, how are you feeling?
I am living everything in God’s hands. He brought me to the point and I know He will take me to where He knows is good for me. But I feel very great. I am a product of God’s grace.
You came into the industry with music-comedy that was quite unusual or less popular and it has become acceptable. What inspired the dream?
I have always wanted to be a musician. I wanted to have a band, go to shows and enjoy myself but there is this comedy side of me that likes to create comedy out of music. Singing your own kind of song in a different way, so one day somebody told me to go on stage to do this. I went on stage and cracked normal jokes for sometime till I found a balance. I was influenced by Gbenga Adeboye, Baba Sala, and others. Each time I cracked a joke, I found myself creating a joke with it. That’s how the music-comedy came up. So, I started making research about those who are into music-comedy. I started buying CDs to see who was doing music-comedy. I realised at that point what made me to standout. I didn’t want to be like any other comedian but me.
What is it about your background that shaped your life and career today?
I grew up in a family of music lovers; everybody in my family sings, though, none of them has taken it to the professional level. When I told my parents I was going into comedy fully, my parents said, ‘no, you want to be alawada (jester).’ They insisted that I should go to school and be something else. But then, they saw the passion in me, that I wanted to do something close to the stage or holding the microphone. They had their fears that I would be influenced by the bad gang in the industry, but I told them I would make them proud. What inspired me more were my people in Ejigbo, who believed that you had to do yahoo yahoo to be a big boy. Later, when they started seeing me in another light. At that point, I was able to change the life of someone who had thought there was success in prostitution, drug abuse and other vices. Basically, youths in my environment inspired me to be a star with my God-given talent.
How is your twin sister coping with your fame?
She’s coping well. She’s like my mother. She prays for me all the time, and proud of whom I have become. She calls me every day. She’s enjoying what’s happening to me right now.
You were said to have struggled in the beginning with your jokes, how did you conquer your fears and what encouraged you to keep moving?
I struggled with my jokes in the beginning because music-comedy then was not really popular. There were few people doing it and some were not doing it full time. So, it was hard for people to understand what I was doing. Some people were confused. It was hard for me to strike the balance, and because I was so young, people felt like, ‘what is this small boy coming to talk about?’ At some point, they gave me their attention. They understood that I was trying to sing my jokes; that there was a story that linked to my jokes. Thank God our jokes are being celebrated today.
With the kind of attention you are getting and the number of invitations you get every weekend, how do you manage to give your best at every event you grace?
Giving my best at every event is not a child’s play. It can be crazy at times when you have shows back-to-back in a month; you just have to give your best. At that time you have limited time to create new jokes. Jokes come when inspiration comes but when there are too many events and you have to attend all, you will need a lot of quiet time. I create my jokes sometimes when I am on a long flight, especially when the flight is like 18 or 22 hours. That’s when I create new materials. But when I don’t have enough time, I go back to the drawing board to rehearse my previous jokes and repackage them to make them sound fresh.
Last year, you staged your first major show, The Oxymoron of KennyBlaq and it was a huge success, how did you handle the show?
I can only say it was God because quite a number of things were not right but we achieved what we wanted to achieve. Many people came through for us and I am happy that it was great. I wanted people to see the different shade of Kenny Blaq. This year, we are planning something bigger, and I hope to wow our people once again.
From that point you have remained unstoppable, what have you been getting right till today?
I don’t know what I am getting right but I think it is consistency. I think it is improvising. I don’t get to crack my jokes the same. I am like the current affairs of the music industry. Once you are consistent, once you can be spontenous, getting people to understand what is happening around the world through music; using different genres of music to entertain the people won’t be an issue. So, I treat what is trending and everything happening around is what I am getting right.
What would you describe as the biggest moment in your life since you hit the limelight?
The biggest moment in my life was AY Live in London last two years, when Ali Baba, Okey Bakassi, AY came on stage and introduced me as the biggest thing to happen to Nigerian comedy. It was like a prayer for me. I won’t take that moment for granted.
Do you truly think you have the capacity to contain your new status at the moment?
I think I will leave that to God; He’s the one planning my life. I hope I am coping fine and I pray that I am able to contain the blessings He has given and the ones He will give me.
As a young person, who is getting a lot of attention, how are you coping with the opposite s3x and the pressure that comes with keeping your head low?
God has been faithful enough to help me cope with the pressure, and of course my female fans. They are my fans in the first place, and they know that for me to be at my best, there won’t time for activities in the other room.
In 2016, you said were a virgin. This is 2018, has your status changed?
Yes, I was a virgin in 2016. Yes, this is 2018 and you want to know if anything has changed. I think I need to call my doctor to find out. He will run a test on me. The last time I checked, I was still a virgin, so I think I should be. What do you think, am I still a virgin?
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