The Real Her
An award-winning artiste, a participant in the very first Project Fame reality-TV show, an accomplished actress and a lady who doesn’t stop at nothing to tell it as it is. That is Karen Lucas for you, better known as Kaz. Do not be duped by the pretty face and sweet smile and think that you can step on her toes, stand on her way and walk away smiling. Kaz is a fighter with a dream, and she has all the tools she needs to be dancing on the apex real soon. So step off her path, lest you get Mystified. She speaks to HFM’s Anthony Nabiliki
We’ve heard, read and seen a couple of both stormy and sweet references about Kaz. What’s your personality in your own words
Bubbly, Charismatic and Entertaining.
What were you like in school?
I was the one who was always in trouble. I was really naughty as a child.
Growing up, did you always know that you will be a performer or at what point did it hit you?
I always knew that I was going to be a performer. From when I could talk, I realized that I would be an artist, so I did everything in my power to become what I wanted and I always get what I want.
Your song Mziki saw you winning the ‘Most Promising Female Artiste Award’ at the prestigious KORAs. Did you see that coming and how was the feeling?
Yes I saw it coming. Winning the award was a great feeling. I was overjoyed, to be feted continentally, that was just amazing. It was really great considering the KORA awards are the African equivalent of the Grammies.
Taking you back to the times at the Project Fame Academy, would you do anything differently?
I would still be me. Having done it differently would mean having to act out of my genuine character. And I wouldn’t do that in anything in life.
From since you started out as a musician, what is the one significant lesson you’ve learned?
I can’t say that there is one particular thing that I have learnt. I have been performing for the last ten years now, so I cant say in that whole period I’ve learnt only a single thing. Every period of time has its own lessons. Every year, every month, every day I get to be taught something different. Over the years I’ve learnt to be thick skinned and be consistent, because if you want something you have to really… really want it. I was born knowing I would be a performer, went out and followed my dream, and nothing is going to stop me. There has been so many things and people that have tried to stop me, but if you let them stop you then that just proves that you are indeed weak. I am always gonna be a performer, I am always gonna be a musician, I am always gonna be on-stage. That is part of my lessons learnt.
What are you up to at the moment?
Finally after like two and a half years, my first album is done and I am now planning for the launch next month. I have been through a lot in the past two and a half years. The album is every single part of me, the real me in this past period.
Who have been your biggest influences in life and as a musician?
In Music, Angelique Kidjo. I see her and that is where I want to be, for sure. In life my biggest influence has been my mother. She’s a very strong woman. She has been through a lot and has been able to pull out and be strong for her children and herself. Being young, I’ve always complained of how I would get through some hard situations in life, then I remember how my mum was able to cope with such situations and derive strength from it. I admire her.
When was your very first gig, and were you paid for it?
My first time on stage was when I was fourteen years old. My first paid for gig was when I was 16, at the Choices Street Jam. I shared the stage with greats like INTU, K South Flava, Zanaziki and Kalamashaka.
Playing in front of an audience is nerve-racking. How long did it take you to get used to it?
It is nerve-raking. You never get used to it. the nerves never go away, they are always there. When you stop getting nervous, then you know its time to get off the stage.
Describe the type of music you do and what are your songs mainly based on?
My music is Afro Fusion and my songs are based on everyday life experiences, especially my life experiences.
What is ‘life in the limelight’ like?
I don’t know what it is like to live life outside the limelight. I have always wanted to be in the limelight and I have always been in the limelight. That is the only life I know. .
What is the biggest misconception about being Kaz?
I think everybody is entitled to his or her opinion, and as long as anybody has an opinion on me, I don’t mind. Whether it is negative or positive, it means that they are thinking of me in the first place. So there is no misconception, wherever perception one holds of me, it’s up to them. But the people who are near and dear to me, know the real me.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face in you musical career?
Life. Life is hard; it is my biggest obstacle and will always be my biggest obstacle. Having to wake up everyday and say to myself, ‘it is a brand new day – I have to get through it’. Life is a beautiful thing but it is also hard. I can’t pinpoint anything else as being an obstacle; my family is supportive, my friends are supportive, everything is there.
What is something about you that would surprise your fans?
Fans who don’t know much about me would be surprised by everything about me. The fact that I am a nice person is surprising. I meet people for the first time and after fifteen minutes together they go like… ‘Oh my God Kaz, I didn’t know you were so nice!’ Everything about me is basically surprising to my fans
Do you ever get tired of the whole entertainment scene?
Not ever. Never have, never will.
Were there any sacrifices you had to make for your dream?
Maybe I can say I have sacrificed being in a fulltime-employed job where I have a regular and steady income. Where you are sure of where your rent is coming from. I’ve had to sacrifice that for my life as an artist, which is a very bohemian lifestyle. Spending all my days in the studio and not knowing where your next batch of cash is coming from. I’ve had to sacrifice an easily comfortable life so that I can live my dream.
What movies and books would you recommend for our readers?
Books – Richard Branson’s ‘Breaking my Virginity’ and ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Greene. Movies – The Perfect Stranger, NEXT with Nicholas Cage and a musical called RENT
What detests you the most?
I really don’t hate anything… for sure.
What’s your driving force in life?
The fact that I can visualize my future and know that I am gonna be a success story, that is my driving force.
Local and international musicians that you admire?
I admire very many actually. Locally Eric Wainaina is number one on my list. Others include Harry Kimani, Suzanne Awiyo, Abbas, Kanji and internationally Angelique Kidjo, Miriam Makeba, Richard Bona,
If you had to change something in the music scene what would that be?
Copyright. I think Kenyan musicians have the right to get what they work for because we work so hard, and spend so much time in the studio. With all the effort we are putting in our work, I don’t see why any musician has to live in anything less than a three bedroomed mansion in a posh estate like Runda. So if there were anything I would change it would be the copyright law. Many musicians would rightfully be millionaires if they got paid what they are worth. They should be getting six figure cheques from MCSK every month. We should be earning more than politicians.
What do you do for fun?
I watch movies… at home. I watch live bands and I socialize a lot. I am a socialite
What is your advice to up-and-coming musicians and performers?
What are your Future prospects?
Near future is my album launch next month. After my launch, my next project is, project ‘BE RICH’