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Real Life Stories
By: Wesley Sinclair
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Sexy, feisty, sassy, talented, and drop-dead gorgeous, Kele Le-Roc gets personal with DivaScribe.

How excited are you about your new album?

I am very excited about it; unfortunately, it’s taken me such a long time to get it together and it is still not properly finished. But we are now in the penultimate moment and it will be complete soon. It’s a true reflection of me as an artist, musically and creatively, I like to experiment with different musical genres. My true fans are going to be pleasantly surprised. On my first album, my record label orchestrated it to be more commercial and even stuff that I wrote was made more pop — though they weren’t necessarily going to be singles.

It sounds like you matured a lot since then and you’ve had more input in this. Are you happy with the direction you are going now?
Well, the last album was 10 years ago (laughs), so I hope I have matured over the past 10 years. I am making music with [people] I want to work with and [doing] the type of music I love to make, so I am happy.

You are off to the US soon — is it business or pleasure?
Oh yes, I am going out to LA to shoot my video with an American artist called Daville, who I have been working with, and also to do some writing.

And how long do you plan on being out there?
Two weeks, but I may stay for a month depending on certain situations.

Are you planning on any exciting future collaborations?
I think UK-wise, I have worked with all the artists that I really wanted to work with. But in the States, Prince is my favourite and I think he is amazing. I would also love to work with Pharell Williams [NERD] and Andre 3000.

Growing up as a child, who did you look up to and admire?
(Not pausing to think twice) My mum — because she brought me up by herself, and [she] is a strong black woman. I saw her struggle and always trying to achieve something. I see a lot of myself in her; she did a great job raising me. (Turns pensive) She was strict, but now that I am older, I am so grateful for that.

How would your close friends describe you?
(Laughs) I think they will say I am crazy, although I think I have mellowed out a lot as I’ve gotten older. Yeah, crazy springs to mind; hardworking and eccentric. I guess that goes hand in hand with crazy (laughs).

And what are your worst habits?
I am bossy and I really don’t like it about myself. I am only bossy if I think someone is not reaching their full potential, and I think they need a kick up the a**e. I don’t molly cuddle people, if they need telling something, I’ll just tell them.

We will definitely be pulling our fingers out whenever we are around you.
(Laughs) Don’t worry my bark is worse than my bite.

Looking at the fashion side of things, your mum is good with making things. Did you manage to pick up that talent from her?
Well when I was really young, I wore a lot of homemade clothes which I loved because I looked different from the others. Sometimes I didn’t like that, because at a young age you want to fit in with everyone else. But as I got a bit older, I started designing my own outfits and I sometimes ask my mum to help make them. But she would tell me to make them myself and she would help.

If you saw a friend in a terrible outfit, would you tell them?
Yeah, I would. I would say something like I think that outfit isn’t showing off your true beauty or maybe you should change it a little bit.

We love junk food at DivaScribe, and we would like to know if you do too —and which one’s your favourite?
Oh yeah, I definitely have my junk food moments. My weaknesses are McDonald’s’ breakfast and their desert, the Cornetto McFlurry (she says this with the passion of a true connoisseur). I love it with chocolate and hazelnut toppings. Before I went on my last holiday, I didn’t eat any junk food because I wanted to look great in my bikini, but when I came back, I had three McFlurrys in one day. I love the smell of Kentucky and fish and chips from this great shop on Green Street (East London). I sometimes drive all the way to East London from the South to get them! But I try not to eat too much junk food (cheeky conspiratorial chuckle).

This leads on to our next question: how do you stay in such great shape?
I go through different phases of fitness. I went through a phase of the gym which bored me, and then I did kickboxing three days a week for just over a year which I absolutely loved. That did some good because I had friends telling me, “Wow! Your body looks amazing”, but I never saw that myself. As a woman there is always something about your body you think you can perfect. When I stopped the classes I worked out at home with a machine called the Total Gym XLI, which is the bomb. I sometimes do beach body.com (an American at home boot camp DVD). I also do Slimming Fix, which is great. I ride my bike as well and when I am on holiday I ride everywhere, swim, roller skate. The key is doing things that you find fun and like. I once rode to Wimbledon from my home once and it took me three and a half hours. I enjoy riding when I know that there is an end destination.

You come across as a really nice person. How important is family to you?
When I was younger, I went through a phase where I was so busy and I didn’t have a lot of time for my family because I was running around a lot and hardly had any time. I lost sight of what was important (voice noticeably softens) and that created a distance. I did something about it and now my family and I are so close.

Do you keep a close knit of friends and how much do you trust them?
My mum is my best friend. I have many acquaintances, but only a few real friends. I appreciate that if your life isn’t going well and you see someone [and] you perceive theirs to be going great, sometimes feelings of admiration can easily turn to envy. I have seen that in friendships and it is not nice.

Everybody’s got something special but if you are so caught up looking at someone else you will fail to acknowledge yours. 

Have you ever been betrayed and let down by someone close to you?
Yeah, but you know these things happen and that’s the one thing that shouldn’t surprise you (chuckles). It’s just life. I am not perfect, but one thing I know is that I’ll never do anything with malicious intent. No one’s perfect and if you don’t talk to every single friend that has ever upset you, you would have no friends left.

Do like to stay connected to your fans?
Oh yeah, I [do] Twitter, Facebook, and I’m on MySpace. But I am not great at all three. I am better on Twitter as it’s simpler and easier to do from my cell — [while] on the go.

Have any of your fans ever asked any strange questions?
Sometimes, and most of the time, it is the same questions that I always get asked. It’s really nice when they do so and I know my true fans when they ask me questions about an obscure track that I have on my album that is not really popular or songs on the B Side of my singles. Whenever that happens, I am touched.

How do you like to keep your personal life: private or in the media?
Definitely private, because your personal life is so important. Obviously there are certain little things you can divulge, but not all in the public arena (laughs).

We will brave this: are you in a relationship at the moment?
(Laughs) That is not such a bad question. Yes, I am in a relationship at the moment, but I was single for five years.

 "Everybody’s got something special but if you are so caught up looking at someone else you will fail to acknowledge yours."

Are you happy in your relationship?
(Sounding coy, in love, and girlish) I am very happy. I am now in the type of relationship that I have never actually been in; it’s very positive and — should I say — very grown-up. I don’t think I am not very grown-up yet though (laughs).

Does he accompany you on tour sometimes?
Yeah he actually came on tour with me; he tour managed for me. 

Did his presence add more pressure on you whilst performing on tour?
Actually yeah, because he is quite ambitious and he inspires be to be more ambitious, to try this, do this, and do that — I love that about him.

Okay, we won’t probe further. Tell us what’s your favourite track from the album?
I am big on ballads and there are two tracks that are my favourites. There’s one called “On And Bumping” — it’s like an eighties slow jam groove. It’s about the first time you ever make love with your partner (said softly – we get the feeling this is extra special). And there’s another one called  “Love Was the Drug”, which talks about being addicted to somebody and they are no good for you.

When you write your songs, what frame of mind are you in normally?
I am always inspired by love when I write — even when I am free styling or jamming over backing tracks. Love always comes out of my mouth. Sometimes the stories are about me, people I know or even fictional stories that I make up.

We love your vibe. Now tell us: what’s your favourite TV programme?
True Blood. I love that programme, but I am so upset because when I was in America last week I couldn’t watch it online as the next episode wasn’t available!

Are you hot on reality TV shows?
Every now and again I switch over, but I am not really into it or programmes like the X Factor.

If you were approached to do Big Brother, would you consider it?
I have actually been approached to do Big Brother and was on the short list twice, but I wasn’t picked (laughs – she so doesn’t sound bothered). Normally they only pick one person of colour, but I wasn’t what they wanted on those occasions (laughs). But I would go in there for these reasons: 1) for the money, 2) I will like to see the sort of person I would be in a situation like that, 3) I think that I could bring something to the house, because of the type of person I am. I am a very fair and open person and if someone were to be bullied, I would speak out.

What are your views on youth crime in the UK?
Well, it makes me really sad because both my grandmothers have passed away, they came to the UK and worked many jobs to survive. They got called the ‘N’ word and ‘w*g’ on the streets and this new generation — they are just going around killing each other (sounds aghast and exasperated). It’s like, do you know what our elders suffered to even be able to walk down the street in peace and now you are just killing each other because one of you lives in E7 and the other in E6? It’s pathetic.
But also it is a society thing — it is all this slave mentality instilled in us and we are still suffering from it till now. We are a very powerful people, and I think that unified, we can accomplish anything. But equally we are still as powerful divided, but in a destructive way.

What single message would you send out to black youths today?
I will just say “Wake up and smell the coffee”. Surely you can see the bigger picture. It makes me sad because as black people in this country — and really in the world — our heritage have been pillaged and raped. Every other ethnic society has come into England and they’ve got their little niches, communities and things going on, and they are helping and supporting one another. Black people don’t have this — maybe the Nigerian community because they are a bit more old school in the sense that they kind of all stick together — but not West-Indians and definitely not the young ones growing up today. I used to think that things were getting better, but it’s actually getting worse.

Do you think the situation will make you stricter as a parent?
Definitely, because you don’t want your children to be victims and in the same token you don’t want them to be instigators of bullying and violence. I think the best thing as a parent is to be attentive. A lot of people are moving out of London — to avoid their kids getting into the gang culture — but at the same time you don’t want to molly cuddle them and they get soft. Parents and society need to keep the minds of our youths active. Kids need to channel negative energy into something positive.

Definitely. And are you planning on having kids yourself anytime soon?
I don’t know about anytime soon, but yes I would love to have kids.

Okay, fair enough.
(Gives a mischievous laugh) Yeah, I know I am getting older now and it’s probably about time. But honestly, I don’t actually feel ready to be a parent yet. I have got so many things that I still want to do and when I have kids I want to devote myself to that 110%.

Would you ever consider getting into acting or something else in the media?
I love acting and at the moment I am writing a film script which I’ve been writing now for seven years, and also I would love to do some presenting.

Do you plan to tour the US a bit more with your music?
Well, I am going to go out there, work the circuit, and basically trust in the universe and all of that. I know that my Creator will have something positive come out of it for me. I deserve a break (laughs). I have been doing this for a long time.

Do you have any strange or funny tour story to tell us?
Umm... not really. If anything springs to mind, I will come back to you.

Politics: what do you think of the current coalition government in the UK?
I did vote for Labour. But I only voted because I didn’t want the BNP to win in my area. The new coalition government is a big change — some of their policies have been positive and some detrimental — they are cutting money off the NHS, family tax credit and things like that. We just have to sit, watch, and see how things pan out.

So finally, Kele, when is your album out?
My mixed tape came out on October 4th and it is a free download. It’s called Been There Done That — fans can check it out on MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. And my album will be out early next year.

Check out Kele Le-Roc @keleleroc (Twitter), http://www.myspace.com/kelelerocmusic (MySpace), and Facebook

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