FAMILY PORTRAIT: Kerie 'Kiki' Lewis-Thombs basks in the warmth of her favourite men, husband (DJ) Denvo Thombs and sons Joshua (left) and Tziyon.Yes, she’s sweet and soulful, but Kerie ‘Kiki’ Lewis is also equals parts saucy and sparkling, and beginning March 2, when she returns to must-listen radio, that sparkle will be all over Hot Fusion, her much-anticipated show on Hot 102 (weekdays 5:00pm - 7:00pm), which simultaneously sigifies her new lease on life. She exclusively opens up to TALLAWAH about the new job, resolutions, carving out a quiet normalcy with her family, and keeping an open heart in life and work.
After quite a break from the airwaves, how do you feel about returning to radio, and what can listeners expect from your buzzworthy new show?
I am very excited about returning to radio. I think I am even more excited about being able to have a medium within which to add humour and positivity to peoples' lives. So all in all, listeners can expect light listening, lots of great advice on pressing issues that affect each and everyone of us each day and just a show that reflects the lives of real Jamaicans with a little punch to it.
Why do you think 'Hot Fusion' will connect with individuals from all sectors?
The name of the programme ‘Hot Fusion’ indicates that there is going to be the merging of worlds somewhat. Uptown will meet downtown, and the music play list will be varied -- a little bit of everything. ‘Hot Fusion’ will teach, expose and communicate health, social issues and graces and address budgetary concerns currently facing most of our target audience, and that is predominantly women aged 20 to 45 years. We're keeping it real, but it will be light listening.
You strike me as very patient person. What roles do control and determination play in your life?
I don't know if I would consider myself a patient person, but control plays a major part in my life, and it's a part of growing. I've learned that it's never okay to say the first thing that comes to your mouth; it's always better to stop and think. My mother always said, "If you nuh have nutten good fi say, nuh say nuttn." And those are wise words. Just as well, I try not to react to everything immediately. I am tested daily, and I have always had a temper issue growing up, but age has certainly taught me that control has to be a major part of my life. Determination is something that I do not have to search for. Thank the Lord, it is embedded in me. I was determined to get past people judging me for the skeletons in my closet, so I aired my skeletons via my documentary, with the help of AMP. And that determination has helped me to overcome a huge hurdle in my life. I must admit, it was a bit of a gamble, but it panned out, and now the future is looking very bright.
Did you start the year with a particular set of resolutions?
Family! Ensuring I put my family first, even if it comes with sacrifices. To achieve every goal I have ever had. Every show concept and philanthropic initiative is in motion. Just do it!
What else is on your must-do list for the rest of 2011?
Producing more shows. Doing my talk show. Feeding our people. Get a rocking body like Yendi.
As a wifey and mother, how has home-life been treating you?
(Laughs) Great, it's been a new learning experience, an emotional journey and a journey that forces you to comprehend how important your role is as a mother. You're teaching, nurturing and grooming a life. Their future is dependent on what you teach them now. Hands down it is the most fulfilling and important job I have. As a wife, my husband is my best friend. We laugh a lot, share a lot and we are always there for each other. God first, family next, and life after.
How have you established that balance?
It's a tedious process, one that's still being fine-tuned. Years in the biz will program you to always be prepared. Showtime is showtime. Even if your world might be crashing. Thankfully, for me, I am always able to stay professional, despite what might be happening. As it relates to work and the family, I have a good support system, family, friends etc. For emotional support my mom has been my anchor. I appreciate that.
As you leap into this new phase of your life and work, would you say you are still in the process of 'finding yourself'?
Yes and no. This year I'm driven to achieve. I feel that it's now or never. So many elements are present: our economy is on the decline, persons are working so hard to make it, stress seems to be at a peak. But truthfully I refuse to give in; giving my all is all I have to give. I love learning. A big lesson for me, very poignant, is to get things done then speak about it, not to speak about what’s to come.
After all you've endured in the past couple years in your personal and professional lives, has your philosophy on life changed? What is your primary outlook on the world?
Life is simply what you make it. You have to continuously regroup and ensure that you’re clear on your goals and visions. Personally, I want to publicly thank everyone who has supported me since the airing of my documentary [which won a Fair Play Award]. I am content with my decision to do it and that AMP made it happen. Personally, I applaud those who are making their dreams happen. Please be realistic about your goals and don't give up unless God tells you to. I'm surviving, loving and enjoying life and about to share more lessons on ‘Hot Fusion.’