Conway: How did you get involved in spoken word and rap?
Kiwi: I started out singing in a group with my brother and one of my sisters when I was younger, and I started writing. When I was about 9 years old, my brother brought home a couple of CDs that really blew me away, and it was when Christian rap started getting really big. I started rapping and joking around at first, but then God started giving me music. From there, I started writing poetry as a way to express myself, and to me, it was just a natural progression.
Conway: Who are some of your influences?
Kiwi: I can be inspired by just about anybody, so it’s hard for me to answer that question; it’s been some of everybody: A-1 Swift, Dynamic Twins, Gospel Gangstas, Lisa McClendon…I listen to movie soundtracks…I just love music. There’s always something that I can draw from in everybody.
Conway: What challenges have you faced being a spoken-word artist?
Kiwi: I haven’t really faced any challenges. The only reason why I started recording spoken word is when I’m ministering live, it’s a progression. I’ll rap, and God might lead me to go into spoken word. The response is so great and people love it, so I felt obligated to record it because they want to walk away with what they heard.
Conway: How did you come to know the Lord for yourself?
Kiwi: My dad is a pastor, and I grew up in a Christian household. I started playing the keyboard at my church when I was 8 years old. So I would hear the Word, and I always knew what was right, but I didn’t have the full grasp of what I was hearing. When I was in school, I couldn’t stand being so different, so I prayed and told God, “If You’ll get me through middle school, then I’ll give my life to You.” At my eighth grade graduation, I told God, “You kept Your promise, so I’m gonna keep mine,” and I gave my life to the Lord right then and there, right before I walked into the auditorium to graduate.
Conway: Do you think the preaching ministry has been passed down to you?
Kiwi: I ran from that for so long. That was one of my biggest struggles in high school. I told God, “I don’t want to preach.” I come from a whole family of preachers. My dad’s a pastor, my brother was an assistant pastor, and my mom preaches, so I said, “We have enough preachers in the family.” But eventually I started preaching. So it’s definitely something that came down. Even when I’m ministering musically, it just comes out. You can’t deny it.
Conway: What have you been working on lately?
Kiwi: I’m working on a full-length project called Hand-Written. That’s my heart, that’s my baby, because it’s really personal and expressive of the things that God has given me and what I’ve been through the past few years. I produced a majority of the material and recorded it in my own studio. I couldn’t have that same intimacy in another person’s studio.
Conway: Is there any one thing in your life that you consider a major victory that’s become a general theme in your music?
Kiwi: I really feel like God has called me to the hurting. I’ve been through a whole lot, especially being a single mother, and I also experienced depression and suicidal thoughts. Overall, I want to tell my audience, “You are an overcomer.” I had to learn how to allow God to love me like He wanted to love me. Through all of that, I was able to get an understanding of not only who God is, but who I am in God and with God. Once you have that relationship with Him, it’s all uphill from there. It took some time, and it’s a process. I still deal with things sometimes, but I’m thirsty enough for Him to just trust Him and allow Him to be God.