It’s not every day that you meet a musical icon but as I was walking towards Brixton train station, I saw a man I haven’t seen for about 15 years.
I had to do a double take because I didn’t believe that that was Kwame Kwaten walking past me. I shouted out his name and he actually stopped. I was a superfan embarrassingly and reeled off that I had met him before and at one point was jumping up and down. I also gave him a cheeky kiss on the cheek (apologies to your wife).
I have been a fan ever since D’Influence emerged as a powerful and refreshing musical force in Britain in the 90s. He is one of the four founding band members, which include lead singer Sarah-Ann Webb, Ed Baden-Powell, and Steve Marston, who sadly died in 2009. It was what we did in uni. We listened to acid jazz and the fact that they were British and he has Ghanaian (and South African) roots was a definite plus.
My friend – Dorcas – got me into D’Influence – she loved them. So, when I decided I was going to seek him out 15 years ago and write a piece on him, I was so thrilled that he said yes and I got to see him in the flesh.
I remember vividly going to his studio in Camden and asking him some questions. I still have my tattered piece of paper with the list.
He told me then that his mum is Xhosa and when I asked him to speak in it, he did. I was excited! Then he told me about his desire to help other emerging talent, including the youngster Lethal Bizzle (also of Ghanaian heritage) remember him? Since then, Bizzle has gone on to do some brilliant work. Kwame was also instrumental in supporting people like Shola Ama in developing her career. It’s such a shame I never finished that article.
But seeing Kwame again has breathed new life into me and I must bash out that interview and share it with you. It is half written!
For now, I am getting ready to see D’Influence perform (for one night only) for the first time in years at the Jazz Café, Camden – not far from where I met Kwame more than a decade ago. Thanks so much Kwame for making my day and getting me on your guest list!!!
Watch this space as I will be updating this post.