For the last couple of weeks, Facebook has been blowing up with people spitting rhymes for the #sogonechallenge – the challenge which was supposed to be a rap of your choice detailing your life’s struggles growing up, challenges you may be facing today, or current events, that has to be rapped over old school theme music that everyone has to base their particular rap around. Keya Smith was one of many that not only participated in the challenge, but took the game to a whole other level.
When I heard her version of the #sogonechallege my mind was “#sogone” in trying to figure out who she was! I guess you can say the rest of Facebook felt the same way, as Keya’s #sogonechallenge video has been shared over 85,574 times, and, since last week, she has now over 15,000 page likes. To date, over 2.4 million people have viewed her video. So who is Keya Smith you might wonder? RESPECT. definitely wanted to find out more about this young lady, her talent, and her upcoming album Organic Praise.
RESPECT: First tell us, who is Keya Smith, and where are you from?
Keya Smith: I am a child of the most high, and I currently live in Greenville, North Carolina.
RESPECT: I read your bio about music being a way of escape for you. Tell us more about that, and how the gift you were blessed with helped you overcome those obstacles.
Keya Smith: Well, I’m shy by nature. You know how sometimes you know what you wanna say and can’t put it into words the way you would like on the spot? Or, when someone has hurt you and you don’t want confrontation? The writing and the music has allowed me to vent; sort of speak the things that I’m too shy to confront or say naturally.
RESPECT: In your bio, it states that you were washing dishes and all of a sudden these lyrics just began to come to you, and by the time the dishes were done you had come up with your first song. Tell us what that experience was like, and how did it make you feel to know that you wrote your first rap?
Keya Smith: Wow, well I remember being angry, because every dish in the house was dirty and unfortunately, it was my Sunday to wash them. Now there was no way that I was gonna express that to my momma! So instead, I wrote my feelings down on paper and placed it on the refrigerator, and after about 2 -3 hours I was like, “I can do this.” And that’s how it all started.
RESPECT: You’ve had a not so good childhood which resulted, unfortunately, into being molested repeatedly, to being homeless at the age of 16, to having your first child at 19, and being addicted to drugs and alcohol. Tell us how you were able to find a light at the end of the tunnel despite all the negativity and abuse you suffered; what was the breaking point for you?
Keya Smith: You know, my mom has always been a strong woman. I remember being homeless before the age of 16. My mom was a survivor. I remember when she would make us a palette in the back of this little gray hatch back car. She would wake us up and there we were at the 7-Eleven gas station. So at the age of 7 and 8 I saw how she survived with two kids. She would always tell us to put God first no matter what. So when my life trials came I had grace and Mercy from our Heavenly Father, and from also applying those survival tactics that my mother had when we were smaller. After several years of struggling from my own lifestyle choices that I made on my own, I felt it was time to choose something else; time to make a change in my own life.
RESPECT: Tell us about your album Organic Praise, the meaning to the title.
Keya Smith: Well when you think of Organic, you think of something being natural, with no additives added in it; it’s pure, wholesome and good. The first thing most people may associate with the word organic is food, and their first thought about that food is “expensive.” But, the word of God is just that, pure and wholesome and the more I feed myself his word, the better I feel. So when my praise comes forth its very organic. That’s how the title came about.
RESPECT: I seen it online but expound more on what the “Jerusalem State of Mind” is?
Keya Smith: Jerusalem is a holy city, so we have to have that kind of mindset when we serve Christ – A “Holy” mindset. In which for me, it means to turn away from the things that aren’t pleasing to Our Heavenly Father and to live holy. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but Christ is Perfect. And we should want to live like him and put on his character. “So we will be prepared for the New Jerusalem.” This is one of my favorite verses.
RESPECT: Okay, so I discovered you on Facebook from a friend’s page doing the #sogonechallenge, which was supposed to be a rap about “struggle” and “being down on your luck.” But when you did it, I was like WOW! You took it to another level. I think other #sogonechallengers bowed out once they seen your performance. Tell us what made you want to put a different twist on it, and how you feel knowing that it has received over 81,000 shares and a whopping 2.4 million views since it debuted a week ago.
Keya Smith: Wow, I would like to say thanks to that friend (laughs). I was just thinking about the struggle of our teen girls and it became very heavy on my heart. I began to even think about us women and how we are struggling in relationships; not realizing our true worth. Those are issues that most definitely cause a struggle in the choices that we make, so I prayed about it and the verses just came flowing out, I never imagined it would take off like it did. My Heavenly Father is awesome!
RESPECT: Outside of being a rap artist, what else can Keya Smith do? You kill the rap game, most definitely but what else would you like to do or are doing at this present time.
Keya Smith: I would like to do so many things such as touring, writing songs for other artist. I would also like to own a gospel club one day, so that Christians will have a place to go and hang out and still have fun in Christ!
RESPECT: If you had a dream to work with any artist, who would it be and why?
Keya Smith: Lauryn Hill; she has such a beautiful spirit, and is truly gifted.
RESPECT: Tell us where we can get the album and how can we keep up with you, are you going to be going on any tours soon?
Keya Smith: Well I’m still working on the album, I have a couple more songs to do, maybe it will be done in enough time for Lauryn Hill to say yes (laughs). So far, I’ve been doing the “W.I.L.D a.k.a Winning in the Lord” Daily tour, so be on the look for that.
RESPECT: As stated before, you’ve been through quite an ordeal in life and in most cases people may have even thought, you wouldn’t be here – but you are. There may be someone out there whom may be experiencing a not so good life right now and may even think that because of their past, they can’t make it out. What would be your words of encouragement and inspiration for a person who feels as though they are alone and can’t fulfill their dreams because of their past?
Keya Smith: 2 Corinthians 5:17 lets me know that once I choose Christ as my savior that, the old me is no longer existing. But you’re going to have to decide if you want to move forward. I want to remind people to never give up. You can make it, your past is your testimony. So let it be light to someone who may need to be encouraged.
You can view Keya’s #sogonechallenge above. You can also peep her song “Jerusalem State of Mind” off of her upcoming album Organic Praise here. Keya can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, or on Wix.
More from Interviews
Rising artist Blxst released his anticipated follow-up EP, Just For Clarity, out now via Red Bull Records. A surprise drop for his …
RESPECT. Interview: Sean Paul Talks Performing At Dreamstage May 8th, New Album ‘Live N Livin’, Top Dancehall Influences + More
On the brink of releasing his highly anticipated Live N Livin, Grammy-winning hitmaker Sean Paul will bring his distinct voice, …