By Frederick Halley
HER father is well-known Canadian-Guyanese award-winning journalist Ron Fanfair, a long-time contributor to Share – Canada’s largest ethnic weekly newspaper — and former sports reporter with the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in the early 1980s, while her mother Dessie Fanfair is equally popular as a Logistics Associate with Telus in Ontario, Canada.Keysha Freshh is however bent on establishing herself in the music industry as a hip hop artiste of quality. Born and raised in Toronto to the Guyanese combination, Keysha has already made a name for herself in a predominantly male domain.
At the tender age of five, Keysha had already penned her first song which received publication in the newspapers. There was no turning back after that initial start as she has been singing at events across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) ever since, performing the Canadian anthem at several community events and was a member of the popular Toronto Children’s choir (TC3).
With the encouragement of Canadian hip-hop and R & B producer T-Minus, Keysha’s first full-length rap song, Pardon my Swag, was released on August 8, 2008 (ironically, 8 is Keysha’s favorite number).
The following year, Keysha – who enjoys writing – wrote several songs and in 2010, released her first single, Hollywood Fresh, which received significant airplay on commercial radio stations.
A few months later, the video and remix for Hollywood Fresh was released, both of which featured a cameo and verse from popular American hip-hop artist MIMS. Another single, Make it Look Easy, featuring Bassline & JB (a project put together by P-Reign) was instantly picked up by commercial radio stations, making Keysha the youngest Canadian female artists to have three songs in 12 months on the airwaves.
In the past, Keysha has collaborated with several top artistes, including Doug E Fresh who is considered the pioneer of 20th century American beatboxing, Mims, P-Reign, Darryl Riley, The Rezza Brothers and Ray Robinson.
With two mix tapes, one Demo, 3 EP’s and four front-page magazine covers, accumulated in just six years, Keysha is well on her way to stardom.
She recently started an awareness outreach initiative – KeysFORAutism — which uses social media to raise awareness about kids living with autism and an online blog – SpottedFreshh — which is an urban site that showcases events, videos, music, albums and youth talent.
Prior to that, her previous campaign, initiated in 2013, was titled “BELIEVE” which sought to empower youth to believe in themselves and to believe in their dreams and achieve it by any means. “I thought long and hard for a video concept, I wanted it to directly relate to folks everywhere, especially the ones who are close to me, so I decided to use the people around me to promote the project and get my point across…Shout out to all of the people who let me use their pics and pics of their kids…”
Speaking candidly on her website, Keysha disclosed that “hip-hop for me is the glue that binds ties. You know when people are put in a room full of people, with nothing to say, they make some obvious, cliché comment about the weather, hip-hop is that conversation waiting to be had. It’s that never ending R.H King novel that I never ever got to finish, because every time you think it’s over, it evolves. Hip-Hop is that never ending conversation, that bridges the gap between entities that may have nothing else in common, except their favourite song happens to be from Common… that’s why I love hip-hop, it’s the longest story ever told, and has no indications of ending. Something so simple like words over a beat carries the strongest emotions […] that for me describes Hip-hop.”
Also known as ‘Princess of the North,’ Keysha is more interested in artist such as KRS 1, Slick Rick and Bahamadia. “The style, beat, rhythm and the many attributes that come with hip-hop isn’t something that you just live in for the moment. It becomes embedded in your style.”
Keysha has a strong following and it’s only a matter of her blowing up. Her hopes and aspirations are attainable. She says she’d like to not only work with the likes of Dr. Dre, Andre 3000 and Missy, she’s thinking bigger in terms of branding with Sony, Adidas or NIKE . But, first she’s going to take it back to New York, the birthplace of her career.
During a visit to Guyana in 2014 for a family reunion, her first trip to her parents’ birth place, Keysha was invited to bring her latest single “Rewind, Undo” off her latest EP “Vanity” to BOOM 94.1fm.
Keysha also did one radio interview and received so much love, tweets and requests, that she was requested to others and also met with the then Minister of Tourism to perform at the annual Emancipation Day festival which attracted more than 45,000 patrons yearly but unfortunately could not attend.
A proud product of Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology (2010 – 2011), Keysha graduated with a Diploma in Independent Music Production, featuring Audio and Studio, Sound and Recording, Songwriting, Music Theory / History, Industry Overview, Business, Introduction to MIDI, Songwriting 2, Business, Photography, Production Mastering, Sound and Recording 2, Mentoring I, Live Sound , Artist Development, Marketing Promo, Copyrights Contracts, Legal Merchandising, Duplication and Distribution, Small Business.
(With contributions from iLive Radio and Music Biz, Toronto).