Sunday, 13 March 2011

BORN THIS WAY: Showstopping singer Keisha Patterson dives into acting, preps her new album, and embraces her fabulously fulfilling life

WITH THE BAND: "I have a wide mix of music, but we are working towards a theme instead of just a whole slew of songs," Patterson says of her upcoming sophomore album.

Buoyed by high polish and vocal perfection, when Keisha Patterson sings you don’t just hear, you feel, you taste, you experience. Little wonder then that the powerhouse jazz/reggae/blues/retro-soul siren and actress is considered one of the finest singers of her generation. A natural scene-stealer with roots in musical theatre, Patterson brings her angelic features and impressive conviction to the small screen as the good-natured Kimala on The Blackburns, which has returned to CVM for its fully loaded second season. But fans (like me!) are really just dying for new music. Here’s what Patterson had to share about that long-awaited second album, stretching herself creatively and the beauty of a love supreme.

As onlookers, we are seeing a whole new dimension to you, with your recurrent appearances on The Blackburns. Is the role a stretch for you creatively?
I've always found myself to have very many layers and dimensions as a person. Some days I don't even know who I am. Acting as Kimala on The Blackburns is exciting, as she really is nothing like me (Laughs). She doesn't say the things I would say, or act like me, or even look like me! In that respect I suppose it is a stretch, but that is what I love about acting; it’s like me living in an alternate universe, where this is how my life is instead. And I have always thought myself a better actor than singer because interpretation is up to the actor.

Are your planning to parlay this TV stint into a viable career option as an actress?
Acting is definitely one of my favourite talents. I would love to take it as far as possible. I loved acting as a child, and then I acted in my teenage years in the theatre, but I was really content to keep it on the stage. As a teen I thought about Hollywood, but my music and life took off so I didn't think much about it again. I am so thankful to Mr. Lennie Little-White who moved me from there to there, and I definitely want to continue. I never get used to seeing myself on TV though. I really become such a different person it's painful to watch sometimes.

What's been happening with the music side of your life? When can we expect new music?
Musically, I still perform at certain events, mostly for charities and corporate functions. I just represented Jamaican music in Shanghai for the World Expo summer 2010, and I must say I felt really patriotic doing so, and I was honoured to get the call! Many times these opportunities just fall into my lap. Original music is coming before summer, more than hopefully. I have been writing and recording songs for my sophomore album for a while now, but sometimes I change direction and think dramatic is the way to go, and then I think pop is the way to go, and then maybe one-drop and then maybe diva. So I have a wide mix of music, but we are working towards a theme instead of just a whole slew of songs.

Sunday Kind of Love still gets regular rotation in my music player. How do you feel when you listen to the songs now?
Thanks a lot! Hmmm. when I listen to my first album now I think Wow, I can't believe I was there. And I'm also very happy and blessed to have done an album like that. They are songs that I love so I enjoy listening to it, and when I'm in a car it really sets the mood for whatever the day or night is gonna bring. It was definitely where I was at the time – all about jazz. But I have certainly grown, and I think so much that I just try to write each time a new idea comes to me. When I listen to the first album I think I did it at the right time – as a first album – and I want my original songs to live up to or surpass the calibre of music on it. Now that is gonna be the stretch (Laughs). But I'm working on it.

I believe you were single the last time we spoke. What would you say are the personal benefits of singledom?
Being single allows you to be as stupid as you wanna be, as weird as you wanna be. Being single allows me to hang with my girlfriends, meet a whole slew of people in one night (and no-one gets jealous). It also allows for personal reflection; you are who you really are when you are alone. I think it’s important to enjoy your own company because if you don't like you, who will?

Where do you stand on the dual concept(s) of intimacy and falling in love?
I believe when you fall in love you automatically wanna get intimate, and I don't mean the three-letter word necessarily. I mean you are eager to share with that person, in any way, kissing, secrets, hugs, words, anything. If there is little intimacy then I believe love fades because it is like a flower that has to be nourished. Yes, intimacy is what nourishes the plant called love. The more intimacy shared the the bigger love blooms. And it follows: if you starve love of intimacy, it fades.

HOLD ME: Patterson and Inilek Wilmot are a crazy-in-love pair on CVM's The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate.

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