WHATUP? the sky!
Izzy and I had the opportunity to interview the well-kwon rap artist, KEN RING. I have to admit that we were super nervous, especially Izzy couldn’t control her body, her whole body was shaking.haha (understand that this was our first interview, we just wanted everything to be good and proffesional). Right before we met him, we totally had a different picture in our heads. We thought he would be a little bit cold and laconic. But this man turned out to be very humble, down-to-earth and a heart-bleeding man trying to everything he can for the kids in africa. iam glad that God proved me wrong again. “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. You know what’s fynny? he actually had a totally different picture of us too. I will never forget his comment. ” I THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE NUNS!!!, but then I saw two black girls in high heels looking all good and fashionable”. HAHA LOL! You probably know how everything went… tons of joy and laughter the whole day out.
HOWEVER, I thought i would let you guys have a glimpse of the interview izzy and i did. ENJOY!
(Photographer: José David Hildebrand)
Tell us, who is Ken Kiprono Ring?
Well, I find it quite hard to speak about myself in third person. But, Ken was born in Bro, but was raised in Hässelby, the suburb of Sweden. He grew up in a large family, with eight siblings, were of he was the youngest. Quite early in age, both my sister and I found great interest in dance. We had a dance group and incorporated a lot of other dance genres such as swing and hip hop. When it came to school, I excelled. Many would not believe me, when I say, I was a very intelligent student. I learned how to read and write at a very early age. Always finish my work faster than most of my peers. And I think that sparked things off. I often saw myself impatient and had to occupy my spare time with something fun. I was usually draw to idiotic and stupid ways to fulfill my thirst for fun. So, I ended up doing a lot of rebellious activities. Started smoking at the age of nine and at ten I had already tried cannabis. I also, was in and out of foster care at sixth grade and that spiral just continued from there.
As long as we can remember, you have been in the Swedish music industry since 99, which of your albums is the most memorable record you’re recorded. Why?
Wow, this is somewhat of a difficult question for me to elaborate in. But, I will try my best. I usually do not dwell on my old songs. I keep that in the past and focus on what’s to come. For example, I almost never listen to my old records, I do not have my old songs in my IPod either. Therefore, what becomes the most memorable record would be my newest recording as it reflects my present situation. The songs I have recorded throughout my music career is a verbal reflection of my trials and tribulations. Thus, listening to a song from twelve years like “grabbarna från förorten” don’t seem relevant to me anymore and frankly there was no specific value behind it, just more like gibberish… As it feels like am listening to a immature, lost and stubborn young boy. Nevertheless, I am fully aware of that particular song as it shaped who I am today and is also the reason to why I’m still here. Without a past there is no future. That’s why I will never forget where I come from. Even though, that song isn’t on my top ten best song sung by me, I knew just by that song that I was heading somewhere and somewhere better. To actually answer your question the most memorable song would be “själen av min vän”.
You were quite young when your mother passed away. How did you handle; such a, tragic lost in such an early age?
Like any child who loses their mother that early, It’s a very painful and sorrowful event. One must also remember that it happened 20 years ago. Although, it was a very tragic event, I have become a lot stronger due to my mother passing. I can’t dwell on her death for live, I have to continue to live and take out the positive and happy memories. She died 1993. I have to move on. Her legacy has and will always live on time after time. My strongest memory: My home was always filled with joy, laughter and dance. Even to her last breath she always had a smile on her face, which overweighted the fact that she was an alcoholic.
Apart from your mother’s passing, what/ when was the most challenging time?
It depends; it’s hard to actually determine what’s the worst and most challenging. When I was jailed for cocaine, at that time that was the toughest time of my life. And then when my sister became diagnosed with cancer, that period was the hardest time of my life. The recent toughest time I’ve been through, was when I was in Kenya. A carpenter working for me called me one late night, while I was partying in Kenya. He called a couple of times. And in my thoughts I was wondering why a carpenter would call me that many times on a late night. Despite, that thought I never answered and told myself, I would call him back the following day. So, that following day between seven and eight am, he called again, and this time I actually answered. He explained why he called and said my daughter was sick and had no money to take her to the hospital. He wanted to ask whether I could send my driver to his house and drive to the hospital. But, she passed away six that morning. So, instead of driving her to the hospital, we had to transport her to the village to prepare her funeral. This is by far the hardest, as I feel I could have prevented it. I will always take that blame upon myself. I could have answered.
It’s quite obvious that you have passed through storms, yet what fascinates us is that you actually bought yourself out of struggles. What drives you?
You see, what you have to understand that throughout the storms, one do become stronger and stronger. But, comparing my life to the people in Kenya, i have seen another reality, as my life story is just a fraction to what daily people go through there. Since, living there i have seen awful things, and these tragic events have made me humble and thankful for what I have.
Do you consider yourself strong?
I don’t think I am stronger than an average person per se. But, I do think that I’ve been through more than an average person, and for that reason I’ve become stronger. I don’t think necessarily that I started off as a strong person. But, due to my life experiences I’m so much stronger. For instance, if you went through my life, I without a shadow of a doubt think you will be just as strong. I really feel I’ve seen and been through almost everything. From my mobeing addicted to cocaine, to meeting God in church. I think I have had almost fifteen of my friends die in my life time. I don’t think my life experience is that of a normal person. Both of my parents were alcoholics. My life is a normal life to life. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve been up there and down there.
No one on earth is perfect, and as we have followed you through your journey, we are wondering whether the famous parable: let one learn from their mistakes? Have you?
Half and half. I mean, I live in the same place. I have the same friends. Even though, I’m quite religious and very determined and focus. My friends are always my friends. I have really learnt of all mistakes as I do still slip occasionally.
Our first issue will be about confidence/self-esteem which fits the song “varför blev blev du till en hora”. The title is very provoking, is there a reason behind it?
When I produce a song, I never ponder about what to name the song; I just write and let it come naturally. When we worked with this song in the studio, the chorus started out like a joke but after playing back and forth with the beat we actually started to dig it. We didn’t place the song on any album, but on a mix tape and that is how we noticed how much it expanded. I think it was almost 200 000 views on YouTube. There is one thing that I would like to emphasize; I wrote this song to all the women of Sweden. How could a generation raised by women go from being a strong, powerful, and someone you valued. The woman was the central to everything, but now she is being a lost individual spreading her legs all over place.
The message of this song is basically, me wanting people to realize what media is doing to our women. The women of today shall not focus so much on how to look good, instead they should spend more time of being good, but instead they slander their own beauty to impress others. It shall come from the inside and not the outward adornment. A woman becomes beautiful when she believes in herself rather than to believe she will become more beautiful after completing a breast enlargement. I also want to convey that men want a woman that they can laugh with, joke with and just chill for a moment. Just those simple things.
Should the blame really be placed on media?
Here is the thing. When I meet a woman I want to know who she is inside and out. Unfortunately, media has distorted everything, now is not the inside that counts, instead it’s more focus on how to look like. I personally think that women of today definitely need to cover up. To me, there is nothing more beautiful to see an African woman wearing a “Khanga” (African garment) along the road in Africa, rather to see someone at the club shaking her butt up and down. Okay, sure it probably would make me randy… but interested? Not really.
I also believe, it’s a reason why numerous of relationships are getting smashed; too many people of today are affected by the media.
You, yourself, have a daughter. What would you tell her so she wouldn’t get caught and trapped by ideal of society? Who is a good role model for her?
I think my daughter is one of very few that will comprehend the message of this song. I am going to explain to her it’s not about looking sexy. I’m going to tell her; you have to dig deeper than that. It’s all about finding and loving yourself for who you are.
What is it that you want people to learn by your journey and music?
Everyone should reflect little bit more about how they live their lives, and especially how they spend their money. I have this kind philosophy thanks to spending lots of time in Kenya; it gave me more time to think things over and made more humble and down to earth. In Kenya there is continuous battle about food, here in Sweden it is continuous battle about the look. The way I see it, slowly but surely comes to an end. The only thing I think we all can do is to be cheerful of what we have. As for me, I think it’s more important that we manage to survive as one world, rather than looking good at Östermalm.
Finally… If you had $1 000 000 in your bank account today, how would you spend them?
If I had that large amount of money I would definitely complete my major project in Kenya for approximately $200 000. I also have a dream about starting a football academy, more like a boarding school. I would build school where the kids can have their own rooms, toilets, kitchen and a huge football field. I would love to find young and unfortunate kids and develop their football skills to make them to be football professionals. This is what I would like to do for the boys in Africa. I also have a vision for the girls. My vision is to manufacture tampons or pads on a low-cost. I’m sad to say that, it is an enormous problematic in Africa. It is one among the main reasons for women’s death and sexually transmitted diseases. They usually use a cloth during their period. What the women are doing when the cloth is full, is basically rinsing the cloth with water and then put it back again. This is extremely insanitary in the long run. If I had the money, this is what I would love to do for the women in Africa.
I WILL GIVE YOU SOME BEHIND THE SCENES MAYBE LATER OR SOME OTHER DAY 😉
Xoxo/ vicki 🙂