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Rising from rags to riches

MUSIC MAN: Kenni Ware

MOST PEOPLE put their good fortune down to luck and hard work. However, in the very special case of singer Kenni Wenna, his rise from rags to riches is simply "destiny".

While facing eviction from his east London home and going through what he describes as "hard times", he struggled to find work. But earlier this month the 57-year-old received a letter from a record label that he had previously signed to 15 years ago, renewing the offer of a £250,000 recording contract.

A decade and-a-half earlier, Wenna had been discovered by the Manchester based recording label Global I, when he was busking and offered a contract, but the company went bust. Now, after a chance rummage through his garage, the boss of the label, Cargill Bruce, has reached out to the musician with a new contract and is supporting Wenna’s first album, Real Lite.

Recalling the day the contract landed in his mother's mailbox, the father-of-two admits that he wouldn’t have opened the letter had it not been for his conscience telling him otherwise.

"People always ask me 'how did it feel when you opened the letter?' and the truth is even I don't even know!" he says with a laugh.

"You see when it comes to music there are ups and downs. That's with every career, but when I did not hear from Bruce 15 years ago it really threw me. Because when they signed me the first time they treated me like a prince. We never had any problems and everything seemed fine, so a part of me knew that I had done nothing wrong," said the singer.

“When I spoke to Cargill Bruce it was like no time at all had past. He was like 'where you been, man?' and I was like 'boy mi jus deyah' (laughs). I promise we never had no drama, man."

"For me it was like when someone says they'll be back in five minutes but they turn up half an hour late (laughs)."

Now that the musician's life has become of national interest, Wenna has found himself plucked out of limbo and thrown into the limelight. This unfortunately means that he has been "misquoted" by several news outlets, who he says claimed he was a street sweeper.

"I was never a street sweeper, please put that down on paper. Because I was out of work for a while and the place they sent me to - to find work - said because of my age road sweeping would be the only work I would find. I told them I couldn't do it because of the dust and all that kind of stuff would effect me so I turned it down."

After clearing up this unfortunate misunderstanding, he revealed how his life has changed since getting signed.

"Well I haven't had all the money yet! (laughs). No but seriously I don't feel under pressure anymore."

"I have a few friends on the streets and some of them got evicted and so on and I want to help them first. I like helping people, because if I have something to share I will."
The self-confessed "soldier" who says he is ready to move on and start focusing on the future in instead of his past, also has some stark words for those with a dream that are thinking about giving up.

"In my situation I can say that 15 years is a long time, but in this game you have to be a soldier. We don't have time for the cry baby business (laughs), just keep your head up man and keep on going," he concludes.

Kenni Wenna’s Reggae inspired album Real Lite is set to be released in December 2012

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