UPCLOSE WITH LORD KENYA
Who is Lord Kenya?
I was born Abraham Philip Akpor Kojo Kainya to an Asante mum from Fumesua, and an Nzema dad from Senzire. I attended a lot of schools for my basic education– Obiri Yeboah, Central International, Asem Government Boys’ School. . . After my basic education, I attended Kumasi Anglican Secondary School for my O level education, and went on to Mpraeso Secondary School in the Eastern region to do my sixth form.
I am married to a very wonderful woman, Getrude. We have have three lovely boys together.
How was life after sixth form?
After completing sixth form, I went straight into music.
Back in my secondary school days, I was an athlete and a footballer. I was really good at what I did. In fact, many of my schoolmates thought I would go into sports after school. I was that good. I competed in many athletic events— 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 110-hurdles, 4 x 400m, 4 x 100m, long jump, Cross Country. . . I was that brutal. Mind you, I did not only take part in these events; more often than not, I won. I once took my school, Mpraeso Secondary School, to the inter-colleges athletics competition and the school placed second overall. I represented my school in most of the athletic events.
It was after secondary school that I started taking music more seriously. It took me about two or three years to break out after school. All the while, I was working tirelessly behind the scenes. My father gave me the money to record my first single. I kinda took off from there.
The person I used to look up to then was Tupac Amaru Shakur. When I first heard him rap, I thought to myself that this person was different. I fell in love with the poetry and ingenuity his art was so famous for, and almost instantly I knew I wanted to be the Ghanaian version of him.
Altogether, I did spent 16 years of my life doing rap music. That is before I gave my life to Christ.
Kindly share your salvation experience with us?
In 2010, I had left Ghana for a music concert in the United States of America. Part of my reason for the concert was also to link up with some foreign artistes for some music collaborations, promotions, you know. After the concert, my team and I tried reaching out to some of these artistes but all our efforts fell through. We could not get the chance to meet them. Just around that time, I had received news that my adorable little girl— Yaa Boahemaa— was very sick and that I need to come to Ghana as soon as I could. And so I did. I got back as soon as I could only for her to die shortly after. It was a very bitter experience for me. I just didn’t like the fact that something like that had happened. I strongly believed that there was something fishy about her death— that her death was precipitated by some kind of spiritual attack. Mind you, I was a drug addict all this while. Following this unpleasant experience, I began using drugs more, becoming more violent in the process. I was violent towards my wife, my parents. . . I fought with police personnel . . . I would vandalize my own property, my cars, for no apparent reason. . . It was so bad. Then on the night of 28th October 2010, the unexpected happened. I had taken some drugs and was very high, beaten up my wife, messed up the house . . . That very night, I wanted to end it all. I wanted to take my own life. People came to the house, some stood on top of the fence wall and saw me beat up my wife. . . I didn’t want to live any longer. I couldn’t face the disgrace. I had run out of drugs – cocaine and others – and needed more. I called my dealer, but he was not forthcoming. He kept giving me excuses. For some reason, I got so angry. I decided to go and get the drugs myself and so I drove over to his place. I had even forgotten I didn’t have any shirt on. All I had on was a cap and a pair of loose jeans trousers I had to hold in place with one hand. When I got to his place, he screamed as soon as he saw me. It was obvious he was shocked at my appearance. That did not bother me at all. All I wanted was my drugs, and I demanded that he goes to get it. What happened next is unbelievable.
As I waited for him to bring my supply, the room increasingly became filled up with bright white light. In fact, it became so bright that I was struggling to see but I could almost make out the image of a man in the light. I couldn’t look at him. I immediately fell down prostrate on the floor and started crying. I was a hard boy, but when I heard his voice, I just could not hold off my tears. He started telling me all about my life, who I am meant to be . . . that through me many people have been snatched by the enemy and that he was going to use me to get them back to himself.
This was some eleven years ago. That very night, the Holy Spirit directed me to a church near-by where an all-night service was going on. You should see the surprise on the faces of the congregants when they saw me without any shirt on!
Wow! What initial challenges did you face as a new Christian . . . how has the journey been?
The moment you decide you are for Christ, you automatically get enemies. Even my close friends turned their backs on me. Radio presenters, journalists. . . They all turned their backs on me. I faced a lot of challenges financially as well. You know, you play at one concert and you take your money. You go and do the work of God, and all they tell you is ‘God bless you’. I remember asking once when I initially believed, “how are we going to eat ‘God bless you’?” And then there are the spiritual attacks . . . You are helping save people, but who is going save yours? But God has been faithful. He has promised and he is never going to fail us. This is something I have come to learn about Him personally. I believe we sometimes have to go through some of these challenges to experience God’s goodness.
How do you see Lord Kenya in the next 20 or 30 years?
All I want to do is to do what God has asked me to do— to win more souls for Him. The bible says in Proverbs 11 : 30 that he who wins souls is wise. In this sense, I pray I become wiser in the years to come.
The difference between someone who is wise and someone who is not, is that the one who is wise knows what is good and he does it. I pray along those lines that God grants me the ability to win more souls for Him, build more churches to disciple these souls, and train more ministers who will be on fire to win many more souls for God.
Paul says in Timothy, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief”. I believe one of the most beautiful aspects of our Christian faith is how grace works in us to transform us, as is evident in your own life story. What message do you have for our readers who for one reason or another are not Christian yet because of what they are in, and are wondering ‘Can I stop? Can God save me?’ or someone who is a Christian but has addictions? What message do you have for these people?
First of, for the unbelieving group, I would say they need to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour and be saved. You cannot save yourself. If you could, you would have done that long ago. You want to stop the things that you do, but you cannot. It is because you do not have the power to stop it. However, the one who died on the cross and rose on the third day is sitting at the right hand of the father interceding for you. I love how Paul puts it, ‘that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’. And that’s it. Simple. It looks too good to be true, but it is true. Believe in your heart, confess with your mouth, and you will be saved.
For the group who are already believers but are struggling with addiction, I’d urge them to continue strong in the faith, to not lose sight of the finish line and to not lose hope. To keep running. Keep praying, fasting, reading the word. . . And to be consistent with these. Become an active member of a bible-believing church. And serve diligently there.
You’ve had a very interesting journey in music, having transitioned from doing secular music to singing gospel music. What’s your take on Christians listening to secular music?
It is dangerous. Music is very powerful. You listen to music and if you are not careful you start doing what the music tells you to do. Especially when the music is very sexual in nature. . . After listening to it for a while you start desiring what it’s selling. You are not conscious of it at the time you are listening to it. And that is what makes some of these songs very dangerous to listen to. Let’s be careful of what we listen to.
As a magazine, we believe in excellence. One reason we do is because the God who has called us is an excellent God. What’s your take on the attitudes of young people today with regards to pursuing excellence?
I think the problem of the youth today is chasing shortcuts. But shortcuts don’t cut it. The process is painful, yes, and it is time-consuming, but it is also worth it!
Final words .
There’s time for everything. Just like this interview started and it’s coming to an end, our lives will come to an end one day. When your life comes to an end, where will you go? There are only two available destinations— Heaven or hell. I would very much like you to go to heaven. The only thing you need to do to ensure this is to believe in Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Him.
John 3:16 says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish…’ you don’t have to be the good at something, or be rich, or beautiful. You only need to be part of the ‘whosoever’ and believe, and you will be saved.