R&B songstress Keke Wyatt’s life is on display with her new WE tv reality series, Keke Wyatt’s World.
The show follows the wife and mother of 11 as she navigates her demanding singing career with the daily responsibilities of her big family. Having been in the music game for over a decade, Keke is ready to take her career in a new direction with her first new album in over six years. But she finds herself at a crossroads and is overwhelmed. Her relationship with her long-term manager can be a rollercoaster, and she admits it can be challenging at times to manage her. But with a powerhouse voice, it’s her time to shine.
Blavity spoke with Wyatt about her hectic yet beloved life, and how she’s handling it all through song.
You’re not new to the reality TV space. We watched you for several seasons on R&B Divas, but that was an ensemble cast. So coming out of that and coming into your own show, what do you think is the biggest misconception about you from your time on reality TV previously?
KW: That I’m crazy and a hot mess because. I’m crazy and I am a hot mess, but I have to be pushed to that part of Keke. And it seems it seemed as if that’s all that they ever wanted to get out of me. And so I feel like that’s all people think that I’m about and I’m not. I’m really not.
Having that kind of burden on you, what are you excited to showcase this time around?
KW: Who I really am and what I really am about and what I really, truly stand for, and that I’m not somebody who has babies and then doesn’t take care of my children and just lets nannies raise them. I take care of my own kids. I am truly a mother around my house, a wife around my house, and a human.
Now, as you mentioned, you have 11 children. So obviously, your name has become synonymous with having a large family now. I remember reading an essay that you wrote about your love of being a mother in honor of Mother’s Day a few years ago and it really touched me. Was that something that you always desired, as far as having a large family? And how do you handle the criticism from others about your decision to have a big family? Because there’s a misconception about you that you probably have all these kids and all of this help and you say it’s the opposite
KW: Ever since I was little, I’ve always said that I wanted a big family and have as many children as God would bless me with because I come from a big family. My great-grandparents had 18, and it goes down the list. So big families just run in my life. And so I always knew that I wanted babies. And I don’t really give a damn about how people feel about me having babies. I’ll have as many as I want as long as I’m taking care of them. It’s my money paying for them. It’s not the government. I’m not dependent on anybody else. Keke is taking care of Keke’s kids.
I love a big family. I let my kids get on the only nerve that I have left. But, I love them. And I just can’t imagine one day without my kids. It’s pitiful. I can’t even go to work without them for too long. My schedule revolves around them. So if I go to work Saturday, and my show is on Saturday night, I will fly out Saturday morning, perform Saturday night hop on a red eye, and be back home Sunday morning looking at my babies in their faces when they wake up. That’s the kind of mom that I am and that’s what makes my world twirl. I can’t speak for other people, but I know for me, I just don’t know what life would be without them. I’ve created my own world and I like my own world. And I don’t really care about what people think.
How are you juggling all of this as an artist? I am sure you can bring them with you on the road but they also need stability as well.
KW: So, that’s why my children stay home and I go to work. And I’ve created a world, where, for me and my family, I don’t work during the week outside of the home. So I don’t travel during the week because my kids go to school during the week. I get up in the mornings with them, scream and yell, and threaten lives to get ready. I can brush hair…get their snacks ready for school. And then I fit work around their needs. So that’s just kind of the world that I have created for myself in my career now, and especially with the baby, because I normally travel with my youngest baby with me on the road. But because of the baby’s different health issues, I can’t take him. We have his Nurse with us full-time. She is so amazing. I love her. But, I try and make sure that I am home and only work on the weekends. So the week, Andre, my manager, already knows, do not call me for nothing in the week unless it’s a Thursday, then that’s ok. But for the most part – Monday through Friday, Mommy is home. I’m home when they get home from school to ask them how was their day and to help them with their homework or feed them snacks or whatever and wake them up in the morning the next day. That is something that I like it.
Your romantic relationships have also played out very publicly. Being married again now, and having the show, are you afraid to have your marriage front and center in the way that reality TV exposes it? Do you believe in the idea of this reality TV curse?
KW: I am not worried about that. Hey, if we can keep it together off-camera, then we should be good. I don’t care. I’m not worried about that. I don’t even care because I feel like this: If we truly love each other, we ain’t gonna let something stupid like what people think, or what people say, tear us apart. Now if we do fall apart, it’s because we can’t get it together. I don’t think a TV show or anything like that can break it. My last two marriages, I ended them. I wanted out because I refuse to be with people who are addicted to drugs and who like to put their hands on me. TV didn’t break us up. I didn’t want to deal with them anymore. They were presenting themselves a different way on camera versus how they were actually treating me on camera.
Well, I want to talk a little bit about the music, because I think that one thing that’s undeniable about you is obviously your voice.
KW: Thank you.
Do you feel that you get the respect that you deserve as an artist?
KW: I don’t really care. Does that sound mean?
No, it doesn’t. But I think that you’re so talented.
KW: I’m at an age now where it does not even matter to me. Whatever God has for me is going to be for me. And what he has for somebody else is going to be for somebody else. I don’t want what you have and please don’t want what I have. I don’t feel underrated or anything. I feel like everything is within the time it’s supposed to be. Everything is about timing with God. And so I’m just chill. If I don’t ever see what some artists see in their career, then I wasn’t supposed to. And if I do, then I was supposed to. That’s how I see it.
We all know you for your collaborations with Avant. Have you guys ever considered just banning together as a duo, kind of like what we saw back in the day with Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye, and just doing like a full tour or anything like that?
KW: Thank you, but no. I love him. He’s my brother, but I’m just not a group type of girl.
New episodes of the show air Thursdays at 9 p.m. on WE tv.