By Gabriella Chapman
You’re not Guyanese if you don’t know the famous winning Junior Calypso song, ‘Mama, I don’t want to be born’. It has been over a decade since the song hit the public and it is still an all-time hit.
The young artiste, Tennicia De Freitas, who sang the masterpiece rose to local stardom from its release. The artiste then speedily became a household name to many Guyanese as everyone fell in love with her exceptional talent.
After 17 years in the music industry as ‘Tennicia De Freitas’, 2020 came with the need for a change and she decided to rebrand her music and identity with the name ‘NEKEITA’.
In an interview with ‘The Buzz’, the young creative said that Nekeita is her middle name, and she chose to use it for personal reasons.
“It’s mainly a very personal reason which I’m sure one day I’ll be able to openly talk about, but it’s all connected to a need for change; to feel and do things the way I want to, for me,” she said.
However, she said that the public can definitely expect more from her new brand, as she has already started her #ProjectNekieta on Social Media, and will be releasing more of her own music.
“A lot of great things are in store and I cannot wait to share it with everyone. Being inside for so long has its perks as I’ve been able to focus on myself more, not only as an artiste but generally as a person,” Nekeita disclosed.
Nekeita is known to many as a singer, songwriter, and an all-round performer who hails from Kuru-Kururu, a village found along the Linden Highway. However, she said that singing wasn’t always her liking, in fact, in was the dance theatre she was madly in love with.
“An amazing woman once told me, ‘dance is my passion and music is my destiny.’ Every time I think of that statement it always takes me back to my childhood. Dance is indeed my first love and people don’t ever believe me whenever I mention that I never liked singing [at first]. It may seem different now but dance has and will forever be the beat of my heart,” she said.
But being very passionate about life itself; and wanting to be and experience the best it has to offer, Nekeita expanded her love to include both dance and music.
“I’ve always loved music and ever since I grew to love singing equally, the mere thought of where I am today; all of the experiences and achievements, the people that support me, is one of the things that inspire and push me to do it. The first time I realised that I liked singing was in high school, just after realising it, I initially started. It really doesn’t matter what happens before I step on a stage, everything just gets better once I start singing,” Nekeita told ‘The Buzz’.
All was not “skittles and rainbows” over the years in the industry, however, as she said many challenges stymied her growth.
“One of my main challenges was more personal and it’s thinking that I wasn’t good enough. As a young female in the entertainment industry, there is so much that society expects and perceives you to be and it’s difficult trying to blank all that noise out and just focus on you. Another challenge is generally not having that support base from home (Guyana). There are quite a few people who’ve been behind me from the very beginning but for many of us (entertainers) especially when trying to produce quality work, you always find it more difficult to get the support needed to want to continue,” the entertainer shared.
However, to overcome challenges, she noted that “everything I do, I do for my family and with that, I’m constantly reminded why I’m still doing this. Also, those same ‘few people’ I’ve previously mentioned, have been a great support system over the years and they help me every day to believe in myself more. I hope to achieve everything that I’ve envisioned for myself and my family. I aspire to be the best version of myself. It’s okay to want to emulate your idol but there can only be one of them and one of you! A lot of people still do not believe in doing music full time but it has been done many times before and will continue to happen.”
Over that past couple of years, Nekeita was only seen on local stages at intervals and not consistently through the year.
This is because the young artiste landed a full-time job to sing out at sea. The experiences on cruises she said are the best in her life as a singer.
“It’s different but awesome! I’ve had the opportunity to explore places I’ve only ever seen on TV and met some of the most amazing people. I had to sing a lot more than usual too, but I got used to it after a while… I was expected to return later in March but due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the cruise companies were forced to cancel operations for a few months because of major health risks and travel restrictions. Hopefully, we will return to the seas before 2020 is out,” she shared with The Buzz.
However, despite her obligations there, her music will continue to reach the ears and hearts of her supporters worldwide.
Nekeita advises that hard work, persistence, patience and faith, are four things needed to be successful.
“Also, never take anything personally, especially in the entertainment industry, when it’s your time you will shine just keep doing you and always be yourself,” she said.
Persons can follow her musical journey on all social media platforms. Instagram: iamnekeita and Facebook: Nekeita’s Music.