With Upcoming Doll, Singer Keyondra Lockett Continues To Pursue The Dreams Set Forth For Her By God
She’s got the industry on ‘lock’—and we not afraid to say it. Gospel songstress, Keyondra Lockett is making major moves, worldwide. The 31-year-old, Louisiana native is causing quite the stir with some of her last moves on and off the mic, and we’re in love with it.
Attaining her early musical success from Christian R&B and urban contemporary Gospel girl group, Zie’l, Lockett made a name for herself early on. Around the age of fourteen, the singer joined with Zie’l, and went on to release two studio albums, Genesis in 2006 and the self-titled, Zie’l in 2014, which earned the group a spot on the Billboard charts. The Stellar Award nominated group was the introduction for Keyondra Lockett, but her story continues beyond that chapter.
Lockett has made strides on her own as well. Aside from writing and performing with some of the most prominent voices in Gospel, such as: Tye Tribbett, Kierra Sheard, Mary Mary, The Clark Sisters, and Yolanda Adams, Lockett made a dominating debut with her first solo project, titled, Soul Couture I, in the summer of 2012. The mixtape displayed a side of Keyondra Lockett that her audience grew to love. She released a second installment to the tape, called, Soul Couture II, back on December 18th, 2015 to much of the same hype and appreciation.
Remaining consistent and persistent in her career, Lockett fiercely delivered a new EP, Bring Me To, earlier this year, leaving fans highly satisfied. Although she has commanded the attention of many, musically—with her melodic sound, there are so many more layers to the songstress. She steadily strives to grow her brand, time and time again, while uplifting women of all ages along the way. When she’s not dedicating her time to nonprofits and participating in outreach, Keyondra Lockett is somewhere making a power move. And we mean power move!
The singer recently inked a toy doll deal with The Kenya® Doll Brand (Kenya® & Friends)—an African-American owned brand, whose mission is to empower adolescent girls of color. The deal made Lockett the first Gospel artist to ever ink a doll deal with an ethnic brand. A strong believer of spreading awareness of self-esteem, self-respect, and self-value to young girls, Lockett’s main goal with the Keyondra doll is to vitalize today’s generation, while providing girls of color something to relate to.
“I am humbled and honored to open a new door in the Gospel industry that allows me to speak to children and millennials with a positive message through music and doll play,” Lockett expressed.
Lockett teamed with the brand to develop a new friend of Kenya®, on the Teen Scene™, singing sensation, Keyondra Lockett, who helps Kenya® as they face new experiences of junior high school. Together they overcome daily challenges on the Teen-Scene™. The Kenya® brand has empowered moms and daughters for many years; Lockett’s only wish is that they can continue to be empowered while enjoying Kenya® and their new friend, Keyondra.
Despite all odds, and fighting the stereotypes, driven by society, the Keyondra doll is set to make history!
Kenya’s new friend, Keyondra Lockett, will hit retail stores in 2017. The Kenya® Doll brand is available to purchase at the following retailers: Rite Aid, CVS, Cracker Barrel, Burlington, Seventh Avenue, Toys R US Express, HEB, and Variety Wholesalers.
Check out our chat with Lockett about her musical beginnings, new music, and the doll deal here.
Parlé Mag: We see that you’re from Shreveport, Louisiana. How would you say growing up there helped shape you into the woman and artist you are today?
Keyonda Lockett: Well, actually, I traveled. My dad was in the army. So, we traveled from Shreveport to Germany, from Germany to Tennessee, and then back home.
Parlé Mag: Wow, okay, so an Army brat…
Keyondra Lockett: I had early years in different places. You know, to build like that sense of awareness, where culture rather is concerned—different cultures. So, I think that being around different people—even going back home and growing up—still yet, in a different environment because things had changed, when I got back home, it really did something great for my vision, and everything with music and life, and all that.
Parlé Mag: Growing up, who influenced you musically? Like, to the point where you knew that this is what you wanted to do; wanting to sing and perform?
Keyondra Lockett: Growing up, I didn’t have any musical influences. The way things really shaped and formed, I used to go around singing in my apartment complex, and this guy asked me if I wanted a record deal! [laughs] So, I ended up telling him ‘no’; I wasn’t able to do that. I ended up singing in a group. As the group was formed and it grew into what it was, then I had different influences, like, Brandy, The Clark Sisters, and Kim Burrell, too.
Parlé Mag: So, as you mentioned, you were in a group. How was the transition for you, going from being in a group to now a solo artist?
Keyondra Lockett: That’s definitely a tough transition. Here I am, doing this—not necessarily on my own; I have a team. But, still, at the same time, I don’t have anybody else to blame. I can’t point the finger at nobody and tell them, ‘You didn’t do this note right; you didn’t do that part right.’ ‘You ain’t got your girdle on!’ [laughs] You know, it’s all on me. So, I have to make sure that my A game is on point. It can be kind of nerve-wrecking at times because the spotlight is definitely on just me.
Parlé Mag: Right!
Keyondra Lockett: But, I think I’m pushing through, fairly well.
Parlé Mag: You are. Speaking of being a solo artist, in December of last year, you released your first EP, Bring Me To, and you also released a mixtape, Soul Couture II. What was the creative process behind choosing a name and actually writing and recording those projects?
Keyondra Lockett: Well, Bring Me To was the EP that I released. What the song is saying is that if God can bring me to a situation, he’ll definitely see me through it. That’s the single. These are just different songs that I decided to put together on this one body of work for my EP. It just basically established me as a solo artist. So, it’s just a little something to put out there to introduce the fact that this is now something that I’m doing on my own. But, Soul Couture II, which is my second mixtape, is just a continuation of Soul Couture I. Then, of course, there will be a three and possibly a four, so on and so on. Definitely something that I want to continue.
Parlé Mag: Let’s talk about your doll deal with the Kenya® brand. Could you tell us a little bit about how that came about and why this is important to you?
Keyondra Lockett: Sure. My mom and I had a small meeting; we thought it was definitely time to venture off into some other things, besides music. We called a lady by the name of Shereese Slate, who is now my agent. She has this agency called, Jenesis Milan Agency, here in Dallas, Texas. She said she was working on some things and she had this really ‘great’ idea! And, she came back and she said, ‘You gon’ start screaming when I tell you this news!’ She told me that I had a doll deal; I was like ‘Oh my gosh. This is so exciting! This is so new!’ You know, because nobody else is doing this. It’s very important to me, though, because the face and the premise of this brand is bringing awareness to young black girls and self-esteem, building their self-esteem. I’m all about that because, as a young girl, I dealt with low self-esteem, and I want to give back in some type of way. Encouragement or something to my young girls. I’m just really excited about it!
Parlé Mag: That’s amazing and it is definitely new and unique for an artist.
Keyonda Lockett: It’s so crazy. I was at the Dallas Toy Fair with the Kenya® doll brand this week. There were so many people there who didn’t know me, who were black, and they saw the retractable banner in the foyer. They were like, ‘Oh, that’s you! Aw, I want one! I want a doll.’ blah, blah, blah. And, they don’t know me! So, it says a lot just to be able to support someone who’s obviously black, and it’s a good thing to know that people want to get behind something positive.
Parlé Mag: So, what are some of your main goals for the Keyondra doll? How do you want the public to receive it?
Keyondra Lockett: I want them to know that this is not—it’s not vainglory at all. It’s not even about, ‘Oh, Keyondra Lockett has a doll!’ blah, blah, blah, whatever. It’s about surging forward and making your journey path, rather walking in the manifestations that God has put before you. A lot of times, we’re wanting for our dreams to come true and many times those dreams aren’t dreams from the Lord; they’re things that we want to make happen. He’s like, ‘No, I’ve got something better.’ I’ve had ideas and things that I’ve wanted to happen and they didn’t happen. Then, when I get finished, I’m like, ‘Okay. Lord, I see why you didn’t let it happen. Thank you!’ So, I want people to know, go for your dreams or rather go for the dreams that God has for you. Just be willing to wait for great things to happen.
Parlé Mag: If you could go back in time and say something to the younger Keyondra, what would you say?Keyondra Lockett: Don’t change a thing!
Parlé Mag: What’s next for you in the months to come?
Keyondra Lockett: Right now, everything going on with the doll deal has gotten me pretty busy. Now, the fact that I have an agent, you know, it’s got me busy as well. So, she’s going to keep me busy, doing things. My mom is now negotiating with producers and I am about to go into the studio. So, I’m excited about that. Pretty much those things are going to really keep me going, keep me busy.
Pre-order the Keyondra Lockett doll here!
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