By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information
Beyond the revolution, prostitution, the drug scene, tech, and independent Hip Hop, Oakland is known for its production of talented female vocalists that either were developed in the Town, or that passed through to hone their craft. Former Oakland residents like Kehlani, Ledisi, and Keyshia Cole have lived and breathed the Oakland experience growing up, while Beyonce’s Destiny’s Child, India.Arie, Alicia Keys, H.E.R., and many others came, actively studied while here, and recorded with the legendary D’Wayne Wiggins of the Oakland R&B group Tony, Toni, Tone.
In that same line of grandeur, while hosting Pillow Sesh at D’Wayne Wiggins studio recently, I met and watched Keidra perform her song “Body” among others, and was swept up in her whirlwind of talent. I was amazed by the combination that she personified. She wrote her own well-thought-out lyrics, she could sing, she had a stage presence. And she is fly. She reminds me of the explosiveness on stage of Janet Jackson, Ciara, and Beyonce.
Keidra recently performed at the Black Solidarity Market at Oakland’s Lake Merritt on the Pillow Sesh curated stage, and people were extremely excited about her musical offerings, and after seeing that last weekend, I had to sit her down so that the Black New World Media family would be aware of this new Oakland star that is cosmically forming. Check out Keidra in her own words.
JR Valrey: When did you know that you wanted to be a singer? Was there a certain vocalist that inspired you? Why?
Keidra: I knew I wanted to be a singer at the age of 6 years old. Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Tupac, E40 and Brandy were played repeatedly in my household, and of course a lot of others but these particular artists stood out tremendously to me..
JR Valrey: How long have you been singing professionally? What made you take it more seriously?
Keidra: Professionally, I’ve been singing for roughly 5 years now; like recording the songs I’ve written, and performing them in front of audiences. What made me take it more seriously, was looking around my surroundings and my friends, like omg. I’m better than this. All we did was hang out, probably drink, and speak on things that didn’t build us. I knew there was something more that I was supposed to be doing, and it was definitely music, but I was timid. I was afraid, and I hated it because there was absolutely nobody around pushing me to chase my dream.
JR Valrey: As a songwriter, what is your creative process like? How long does it take for you to write a song?
Keidra: I literally write the majority of my songs in my car seriously lol. I noticed I sound better in my car lol. It doesn’t always have to be super quiet when I’m writing if people are around, but I don’t want to hear any other type of music, while I’m writing. I write from what’s inside of me. I don’t need any outside influences taking me away from being my own creative self. If I’m feeling the song, I’ll know by the first verse, then it’s a wrap from there. So If I like it, I’m writing it all day to perfect it.
JR Valrey: You just released your single “Body” that KMEL had played, what is the concept behind the song? And please explain how that song came together?
Keidra: The concept behind “Body” is basically all fun vibes. I wanted all my ladies out there that’s not shallow to have something that they can feel. There’s a lot of songs discrediting men and vice versa. I wanted to admit to the fact that I really don’t need you or your material things. I just really want to vibe with you, chill. Or I wrote it, and recorded it, and left it open, knowing I wanted a male rapper on it. I found someone, but his verse wasn’t giving me what I had imagined, so I wanted a second opinion. So I sent it to Goldie Gold. I honestly didn’t ask him to get on it, he just sent it back with his verse and the rest was history.
JR Valrey: What is it like being a female vocalist in the Bay Area rap scene?
Keidra: Man it’s cool, but only when quality, cadence sufficient lyricists hit me up to collaborate. lol. I rap too, when I feel like it, so it’s neither here nor there for me. I actually secretly compete with the men rappers, I love my ladies but I literally don’t compete with them..
JR Valrey: What are you currently working on?
Keidra: I’m forever pushing my album The Keidra Kollection, available on all platforms. I dropped only a year ago. I’m pushing BODY ft Goldie Gold, while trying to re-work up the noise it had a month before the pandemic. So I’m definitely trying to get it back on the radio. The people here in the bay, and all around the world deserve that song and especially from an artist who literally started from the ground up, unapologetically. Also, I wrote a new song titled “Get Up” featuring absolutely no one, it has not dropped yet. It’s a song that I wrote to help bring awareness to mental health. The goal was to uplift our people.
JR Valrey: You have a good stage presence, and you’re a good performer, how do you want people to feel after they see you get loose on stage?
Keidra: First and foremost I want them to know that it took a lot of me telling my fears ‘no!’ before I even got to that point. So thank you for that admiration. I’m working every time I get on stage to give my audience what they came for. I’d hate to waste their time, but I’ve grown and I’m grateful to have gotten better.
JR Valrey: How could people keep up with you online?
Keidra: Literally all my social media handles are “keidraonstage”. My YouTube is “keidra on stage”. I’m building my website as we speak and that’s keidraonstage.com. Email for bookings, appearances, public speaking and more firstname.lastname@example.org or text (707)770-7077. Thank you so much for having me on such a dope platform. I’m honored.