Valeria is a freshman at Doral Academy Charter High School. She is currently a Junior Ambassador for Miami Waterkeeper and a Deering Estate intern.
Fusions of Pop, R&B, and Soul music filled the Stone House at the Deering Estate on June 27 with a performance by Keba. The concert was streamed on Facebook Live for anyone to tune in as part of the Summer Cabaret Series. Keba, the once chemist, now musician, preformed her fan-favorite music, allowing audiences to kick back and dance from the comfort of their homes.
The livestream also raised 165 dollars for the Deering Estate Foundation. The money will continue funding for the educational, recreational, and cultural activities found at the Estate. Overall, the concert was a success with fans commenting in the live chat, praising the performance. The video of the virtual concert currently has over 2,000 views.
Keba came to fame in 2013 with her first studio album, Wildfire incorporating the strong vocals that fans came to love. She grew up on a small island, allowing her to experience West Indian culture, mixed in with more modern voices like Stevie Wonder. She was passionate about her music and decided to risk it all and continue to cultivate her full-time music career. Her unique music style allowed her to grow and become opening acts for musicians like Jill Scott and Kool & the Gang. She went on to do a European tour in 2016, traveling Portugal, France, England, and Spain. In 2018, she released her EP (extended play, a shorter version of an album), FILMSTRIP, documenting her growth from girl to a woman.
As she continues to develop her artistic career, she remains focused on inspiring others to express themselves and dream big. She answered some questions on what music means to her and what led her to go after her dream.
Q: Why did you decide to leave your degree in chemistry and pursue your passion for music?
A: When I finished my chemistry degree, I was supposed to go to med school. Both my siblings are doctors and initially I planned to follow in their footsteps. But I had some reservations about the health industry. So, I applied for positions with labs instead and I didn’t get a single interview. Meanwhile doors were opening for me musically. So, I walked through them. I’d like to believe deep down I was also just attracting the work I was born to do. The more I leaned into the idea of becoming an artist, the more I realized that’s where my heart truly was. Today I feel like I still get to help people feel better. I suppose music is my medicine.
Q: Is there a role model you consider to be the person who guided you to produce music?
A: I’ve had a few role models on my musical journey. My mom was responsible for my introduction to music, so she is always with me in that sense. But also working with Miami producer Erik Nuñez really influenced my path as an independent artist. He was responsible for my introduction to studio production. He helped shape my understanding of the industry and encouraged me to respect my gift. I started taking myself and my craft much more seriously as a singer/songwriter.
Q: How would you describe your own music style?
A: My music is deeply rooted in rhythm and blues, but I love bringing eclectic elements to the table. Being from the Caribbean, I also have an affinity for more exotic rhythms and colorful lyrics. So, I’m starting to experiment even more with those ideas in my newer songs. My music style is ever evolving in that way.
Q: How does your music help you express yourself?
A: Music has always felt like a sixth sense in my life. I experience it in the same way I do sight or touch…as a means of connection and communication with the world around me. Growing up as a shy girl, music helped me develop my voice as a woman and artist. Even in my shyness I was always passionate about big ideas like authenticity, vulnerability, and freedom. Music became my opportunity to share those ideas in a universal language with people all over the world.
Keba, with her unique music style, continues to inspire audiences, with the Deering Estate being no exception.