Shakespeare probably put it best in Romeo and Juliet, "A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet. "Even a rose in the ghetto can be intoxication and provacative, especially when you mix in the soul-stirring, sultry sounds and insightful lyrics of KeKe Wyatt.
Only a ghetto rose can bloom in harsh, unforgiving conditions, through urban concrete; beautifying the innocuous environment. So it is only fitting that KeKe, a survivor in the truest sense, has named her latest musical endeavor Ghetto Rose, on TVT records. Against the odds, KeKe's talent and spirit has not only persevered, but has blossomed.
"I'm really proud of this album, it's been six years since my debut CD. And this one really tells my story and every listener can share in my experiences. A ghetto is something everyone can relate to." "There are ghettos in every corner of the world, there are even ghettos of the mind." "What I sing about on Ghetto Rose, has been in my heart and head for years."
KeKe was literally a baby when she got her calling. "My mother said the only thing that would soothe me, as an infant, was music." At the unbelievably tender age of two, KeKe started singing. By age five, she had performed in her church choir, and by age ten, she recorded her first CD, with a local gospel group. After launching her career as a member, of the development stages of "Destiny's Child;" then named The Dolls, KeKe went solo. It was a destined move for standout vocalist.
In 2001 her debut CD, Soul Sista, was released by MCA Records, where Randy Jackson of "American Idol" fame as the A&R for the album. Soul Sista featured the chart-topping collaboration with R&B singer Avant, "Nothing in This World." Another KeKe-Avant duet, "My First Love," was a 1 Urban Mainstream Record and remained on BET's 106th and Park video countdown for six consecutive weeks. Ultimately, Soul Sista reached 5 on the R&B charts and sold more than 600,000 units. KeKe's music career started soaring.
But along with her growing fame, came increased media scrutiny, and in 2002, KeKe was indicted for allegedly stabbing her husband during a domestic dispute. The charges were later dropped, but the gossip mill had a field day. "All the facts were never really reported," says KeKe, whose second CD Emotional Rollercoaster, via Cash Money Records in 2004, was subsequently shelved despite the album's first single, "Put Your Hands On Me," becoming the 1 most added single at Urban AC radio. KeKe decided to move on, and in 2006, she exited Cash Money Records; later, signing to TVT Records. "The past is just that, the past. You live and you learn. Now, I want to be a role model for other women." "Ghetto Rose gives me a chance to talk about issues i want to talk about; things I have gone through, and what my friends are going through."
Ranging from lost love, to infidelity, to domestic violence, KeKe goes deep inside the nature of relationships on Ghetto Rose. "It's all about relationships--between a man and a woman, and oneself; Shit happens, so let's talk about it." For Ghetto Rose, TVT Records pulled in powerhouse producers and songwriters, including the platinum hit-making duo; The Underdogs (Tyrese, Fantasia, Ne-Yo), superstar producer Steve Morales (Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera), Big Reese (Lloyd), Jack Splash (Alicia Keys, Gnarls Barkley) and the legendary and very selective Narada Michael Walden. "I was really honored Narada Michael Walden wanted to work with me," says KeKe, who also co-wrote several tracks on the album.
Each song on Ghetto Rose tells a story. Starting with the first single and title track, KeKe had a point to make. "The song 'Ghetto Rose' hit so close to home for me. It's what I want to tell all women-to be strong, to not let anyone walk all over you, to love yourself," explains KeKe. Then there's "Whole Lotta Nerve," which directs it's attention at some men and their outrageous antics. It's speaking to a guy, telling him he has alot of nerve trying to treat me like crap," says KeKe, who commands and demands respect. "Some guys think they can get away with anything-and I'm tired of it." But it's not just misbehaving men who take a tongue lashing from KeKe. "Never Do It Again" focuses on a woman done wrong. "I don't want people to think it's always the man's fault. Women do dirt, too, they make mistakes also." The regret-filled "Travel The World' talks of lost opportunity, while the uplifting "You Are My Inspiration," takes listeners on a journey of joy and hope. "I'm A Hustler," This, That & The Third," the biting "Enough" and Ghetto Rose is cathartic.
"Writing and singing are like therapy for me, and I think my music also allows peopple to deal with issues they are going through," says KeKe confidently. "When people listen to Ghetto Rose, I want them to fall in love. I want them to get married off it. To make love to it. To be inspired by it."
And in this ghetto, a rose has thrived.