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More than a Rising Star

More than a Rising Star


• Cover Story

by Sheron Garraway

Ok, so you know she is one of the three remaining contestants in the Digicel Rising Star Competition. You know that she’s the lone Vincentian after Kellis Quashie was eliminated. But do you think you really know this rising star called Kiokya Cruickshank?

Born on August 10, this eighteen year old from Rillan Hill has been singing in her family band “Revival Players” since she was 11 years old. She’s been performing at concerts, in church, at graduations, weddings and other social functions. {{more}}

“When I’m not at school I like to watch television and listen to music. I like to watch the “Maury Show.” It’s one of my favourite shows because I think he’s a wonderful man, the way he’s been helping a lot of people. Especially those who think they have no hope in life. He really encourages them to move on and to have positive self-esteem.”

“I first heard about the [Digicel Rising Stars] contest, when a message came on my phone that they were having the competition. They already mentioned the prizes and I thought that it was pretty interesting because I knew I could sing… and I thought that it might have been a good opportunity for me. It was rather surprising because I didn’t think that I would have made it this far but I just made a try and here I am.”

Kiyoka knows that she has many fans and expressed gratitude to them: “I’m really proud because if it wasn’t for my fans, I won’t have been here and I’m really grateful and thankful to the Lord also. When I’m singing on stage I’m a bit nervous (giggles) but then, what goes through my mind is to try to get this right and over with. Yeah that how it is.”

The young lady admitted that behind the scenes, although it was competitive event the contestants all shared a camraderie: “We all interact with each other and correct each others mistakes. It’s not a kind of selfish thing, we are all friends. I think the judges are trying to do their job and I think it’s fair enough. They are just trying to bring the best out of the competitors”

The admirer of singers like Ce Ce Winans, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, also thanked her uncle, also part of the band “Revival Players” for helping her choose the songs for the competition.

“The kind of vocals I have, I have to pick songs that would match my vocals and my uncle helped in doing that. If I win the prize, I would definitely continue in a positive way in my singing and to try to go real far, just to go higher.

I really want to thank the people for supporting for me and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have reached this far. And if it wasn’t for God also. But I would like them to continue supporting me, because I’m really trying my best and I hope to do better next time if I make it through.”

But this unassuming petite teenager seems not side tracked by all the fame of the competition. She is pursuing secretarial studies at the St.Vincent Technical College, “In this area I would get to interact with people, help, encourage and comfort them. My studies are going well. My teachers, have been co-operating with me and helping me to catch up with things that I’ve missed since I’ve entered the competition. They have been supporting me a lot, and I must say the majority of the school also is supporting me 100%. They are very much proud that I’m representing Technical College (smiles).

But it seemed that her father Cid Cruickshank always knew best, he confessed that his daughter always had talent. “I definitely saw that she could sing and I saw something in her. When you have small children you tend to see them rock to the music. From that tender age she always gave that rock which was in time with the music. There was an evening when I was going toward the bedroom and I saw her singing and I stood there and I listened, I couldn’t believe my ears. When I made myself visible she just stopped singing. I told her girl you have such a sweet voice, my baby’s singing, wow! That was when she was eight old. I always kept that in my mind from that day. Even her grandmother said “don’t you know she’s a star, that’s a star you have their, it was like she prophesied.”

Her father who is a musician on “Royal Caribbean Cruise Line” said that his only regret is that she doesn’t play a musical instrument, but he admitted that he is very proud of her, “I have two girls and two boys, Jermain is 17, Kellita 10, Jamal 8, and kiyoka 18 and there mother Carol and I have raised them to be humble. You can’t let things get to her head. We’ve raised them with the values that they are not better than anybody else. We are equal in he eyes of God so you just have to be on that positive trend.

He also advised his daughter not to sell herself short, “She is very beautiful and attractive and a lot of young guys would try to offer her things behind the scene, but she just has to keep her head on. Some guys pretend that they just want to talk with her, but they have different intentions so she’s got to look out for all of that. When you look around you see so many young girls fall apart when they get pregnant and the guys are no longer around. That is why I always tell her to keep her integrity so she would always be on the right track.”

Now you know a bit more about this wholesome, teenager from Rillian Hill who loves Jesus Christ. The number to text is 7806.