Kareem ‘QQ’ Dawkins is an internationally known Jamaican entertainer, best known for being the youngest artist in Jamaica to have a hit record, Poverty, released when QQ was only ten years of age, and ever since then—QQ, the child-star turned adult-star, has shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest superstars, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, 50 Cent, etc. I got the opportunity to converse with QQ, and he talked about his new single, Bad Gyal Wine, the greatest obstacle he had to overcome as an entertainer, and the three most important things on his bucket list. Read below and be inspired, one inspiring word at a time.
ZT: What was life like growing up in Kingston, Jamaica?
QQ: Growing up in Kingston was very fun. I went to an inner-city primary school, which had me more attached to the deep culture of Jamaica, which is a very strict culture.
ZT: Who are some of your musical influences?
QQ: Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Gregory Isaacs, and Missy Elliott.
ZT: When did you realize that you wanted to become an artist?
QQ: When I was a toddler, I realized I was in love with music because I enjoyed going to church, and singing and playing the drums. I knew this was the career path I wanted to take, and when I got the opportunity to perform for the Queen of England, which was such a great accomplishment for me that I only wanted to take it further.
ZT: How would you describe your sound?
QQ: Very futuristic, young and vibrantly happy.
ZT: At the age of ten, you set the record as the youngest entertainer to ever come out of Jamaica with a hit song. How does that make you feel?
QQ: Up to this day, it will always be a great feeling for me because I was able to accomplish that milestone at such a young age, and also inheriting it from a great musician that I strongly admire.
ZT: Where did you have your most-memorable performance?
QQ: Most certainly I would say in Africa, Nairobi and Kenya to be exact. I finally got the chance to perform in the Motherland for the first time, and it was such a humbling experience to see how the people were reacting to a young boy from the inner city of Kingston, Jamaica.
ZT: Which artist would you like to work with in the future?
QQ: I would love to work with Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias, Sam Smith, Paul McCartney and Kanye West.
ZT: What’s the greatest obstacle you had to overcome as an artist and how did you overcome it?
QQ: My greatest challenge was definitely transitioning from a teenager to an adult. My fan base grew with me, but I had to find new ways of making my lyrics more mature, and also, being accepted with a grown-up image. It was difficult at times because I’ve always been someone that children looked up to as their idol. So I knew I had to set a great example, but having mature lyrics was very challenging because I had to write them in a positive or radio-friendly way. Also, when fans have accepted you as a child star, it’s sometimes very hard or close-to-impossible for them to see you otherwise.
ZT: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
QQ: The best advice I’ve ever gotten is, ‘no condition in life is permanent.’
ZT: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
QQ: My greatest accomplishment is performing for the Queen of England, and also, being recognized by BET.
ZT: Which celebrity do people say you look like the most?
QQ: [Laughs]. Sometimes people say I look like Miguel, and sometimes they say I look like Prince.
ZT: What are three things on your bucket list?
QQ: Number one is to win a Grammy Award; number two is to sell 10 million copies; and number three is to open a free school that caters to disabled and visually impaired people.
ZT: What advice would you give to an aspiring Jamaican or Caribbean artist?
QQ: Be very humble and focus. Education is the key and every artist should desire to take on the journey of an artist. Also, every artist should come with a clean heart, filled with love for everyone, and leave no room for negativity.
ZT: Years from now, when people say QQ—what will they say?
QQ: That he was one of the biggest stars to ever emerge out of the western hemisphere, and he was well known for his great music and philanthropy.
ZT: What’s your favorite quote and why?
QQ: [Laughs]. My favorite quote is that’s right, and it’s my favorite quote because I spent several years in the UK, and that’s a term that shows off the little British that’s left in me.
ZT: Where can people go to purchase or hear your music, and how can they get in contact with you?
QQ: People can purchase my music on iTunes and they can hear it on Soundcloud.com/qqworld or on local radio stations that play Reggae or Dancehall music. Also, they can get in contact with me or follow me on Instagram or Twitter @qqworld, on Facebook.com/qquniverse or they can contact my agent, Adrian Francis, his number is 1(416) 871.8185 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
ZT: Thanks for a great interview, and as an honored guest, is there anything else you would like to say?
QQ: Thanks for having me, and I want to leave you and all the fans with nothing but love and prosperity, and like we say in Jamaica—Big Up!
ZT: Thank you very much QQ, and much success with your music career, and on that encouraging note—I want to end this wonderful Q&A session with Mel Blanc’s famous catchphrase, “That’s All Folks!” Thanks again for reading another Through the Wire article, Subscribe to Author and be the change that you wish to see in the world. Always remember that (P) Positive, (E) Energy, (A) Always, (C) Creates, (E) Elevation (PEACE).