Prior to forming Kes the Band in 2005 with brothers Jon, Hans and Riad, Kees Dieffenthaller was a frontline singer in the band Imij and Company. A performer for most of his life, with a wide vocal range, a commanding and energetic stage presence along with good looks, Kees has become a sought-after artiste locally and internationally. The recently married 2011 Groovy Soca Monarch King (Wotless) has, along with his band, released several albums, with more than a dozen tracks making it into the top ten of major Caribbean charts.
Q: Your ‘Olympic’ song/video. What inspired you to compose it?
A: Well, we’re all aware that this is a big year for Trinidad and Tobago. We're celebrating 50 years of Independence coupled with our representation in the Olympics! Music is definitely the medium needed to tie all of this together and it’s the best way we know how to represent the red, white and black. I have to thank bpTT for reaching out to us to work on this project, paying tribute to the team that was about to embark on this journey. I remember it was during Carnival this year my team came together and we penned the track at Madmen studios. I drew from my experience at World Cup 2006, the pride and joy I felt seeing our team climb those mountains; as well as the journeys we all have in our own lives. The conquering of our own fears that hold us back from moving forward.
Q: Who were the people who have influenced you the most (outside of your family), in your career and in life in general and how did they? Was Kees ‘discovered’?
A: There are many, those who helped me along the way and continue to do so. One is never more significant than the other. Our angels come to us in many ways, through many people in many forms. I'm just thankful that I can hear and see them.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone contemplating a vocation such as yours?
A: Know that music is a way of life, it requires your mind, body and soul to be in alignment. There are no shortcuts.
Q: What inspires you to do what you do?
A: Love. I always wish that the joy my team feels doing what we do is transferred to others.
Q: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
A: Born in La Romaine, grew up in Palmiste, Block 2, Mahabir Crescent! San Fernandoooooo!
Q: At which schools/institutions did you receive your education?
A: Cedar Grove Primary School, Presentation College, San Fernando, St Mary's College, Port-of-Spain, and the school of road sense.
Q: What jobs did you do before becoming an entertainer on a full-time basis?
A: Music has been my full-time job for over a decade now...ah! During my school days I worked one summer at Ishmael Khan and Son's, Coffee street, loved the staff, got enough to go Great Fete...but packing books wasn’t my thing. (Lol again)
Q: What was the most difficult decision you ever had to make?
A: I’d have to say choosing music as a career. While attending school I had a few options being academically inclined. Veterinary science was the biggest possibility. Music, however, was so alive in me that I knew if I didn’t give it a shot I would have always wondered. I'm pleased with my choice but who knows what the future may bring.
Q: What is an interesting facet of your personality that most people do not know about?
A: I have a very quiet side. I guess it balances the side that is on stage.
Q: What else would you be if you weren't an entertainer?
A: Most likely I would have been a vet in a clinic somewhere, or I would have run away and joined a roaming circus.
Q: Who was your hero or idol growing up, fictional or real or both, and why? And who do you admire most today?
A: Never really looked up to just one person you know. I have to say my big bros have always been there guiding me and I always look up to them. The story of Bob Marley is a great influence to me as well.
Q: What daily motto/credo do you live by and in three words, your recipe for success?
A: Live in the moment of the now. Three words—Patience, determination, love.
Q: When and how did you get into entertaining?
A: Since I was five I've been performing. Getting into entertainment was a gradual journey, there's always another door to open, another height to reach for.
Q: Of all your accolades, accomplishments, prizes and awards which do you rate as extremely special?
A: Well, doing what I love for a living is something I treasure. Being on this journey with my family is another and the fact that our music is being listened to and appreciated around the world is something we are all enjoying.
Q: What were your dreams of future when you were a kid?
A: You know kids we're always dreaming up the next thing to be or do! Music, however, was always in the mix.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
A: I wish for myself that I'm contented and happy in whatever I’m up to at that point in time.
Q: What is/are the most important lesson/s you’ve learned in life?
A: The truth is the truth.
Q: What advice would you give to the young people of Trinidad and Tobago?
A: Get to know and love the spirit of your country. Know where we've been and where we want to go.
Q: Your pet peeve? Your favourite form of relaxation?
A: Any form of selfishness and greed. Relax time for me is enjoying the simple things in life, like cooking or spending time with loved ones.
Q: What are you up to these days and what are your plans into 2013?
A: Well, we're constantly defining and redefining ourselves as a unit through our music and approach to our art. Our aim is to have a catalogue and stage show that can fit anywhere in the world.