If you have watched BET over the years, you know who Kiesha “Babi” Miles is. You’ve heard the songs she’s wrote for some of the hottest artists and have seen her production skills on BET’s short lived hit show, Tiny & Toya.
When you were probably worried about a prom date, Kiesha Miles was honing her craft and working with the hottest artists in music. For such a young woman, she continues to create an impressive body of work, and desires success more than sleep or necessary food. So what happens when an artist with worldly success, feels the pull from God to change? Speaking to Kiesha Babi shed some light on what it’s like to make that transition. Has she “arrived”? Not quite, but who has?
TJS: Who is Kiesha Miles and what has she been up to?
Kiesha: I signed my first recording and publishing deal with Pebbles when I was sixteen. She had me working with Mario Winans among others. I definitely give credit to her for the songwriter I am today since I didn’t know I could write music until she told me that I could. I was in a few girl groups before joining Xscape when I replaced Kandi (Burruss). It was hard walking into a situation replacing somebody and filling someone’s shoes. I can say the experience molded me and I learned what to do, what not to do, how to protect myself, and manage money. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. “Tiny” (Tameka Cottle) and I eventually left Xscape together and formed a duo that we called Ga.P Girlz. We did a lot of writing together and got closer as friends and that was around the time the Tiny & Toya show happened. First season we formed the OMG Girlz, second season we spent time developing them, it was a good experience as well.
I started a new company in California called 2 Keyz Entertainment and Konnect4 Productions and we have a few groups under us now. I’ve come to a place where I’m working on creating myself, my brand, and who I want to be remembered as. I’m just working on being a boss and making the transition from artist to executive.
TJS: The transition shouldn’t be too difficult, right?
Kiesha: It’s actually going really really well. In April. I moved myself from Atlanta, which has been my home since birth, to LA. I decided to step out on faith on my own. I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t hard because I was so used to being in Atlanta. I was so used to being surrounded by my family and friends, working/partying with the Grand Hustle fam, and making moves with people I’ve known since childhood that I didn’t have to worry about things. It forced me to get closer to God, to trust him, and to stop depending on other people to make things happen for me, just myself and God. I will never forget 2011.
TJS: You started a company called, Now Following God, LLC, and you have said that “I decided to follow the path ordered by God.” What does that name really mean?
Kiesha: March, 2011 is a month I will never forget because this is the month that my life changed. A lot of things seemed to be going wrong around me. Most times this business of music can be crazy and grimy but worth it, but when problems that had up until that point been just an annoyance became bigger than the situation, I knew I could no longer afford to ignore that things had changed. I started praying a lot, asking for signs, then one day. I was at a charity event and this man walked up to me and put me in a bear hug.
He was a stranger so I was a little alarmed, but he started whispering in my ear. He said that, “God was about to make a change in my life and for me to not be afraid, but to trust him and step out on faith. He was going to take me out of my comfort zone and take me to a strange place so I could hear him and I could see what he wanted me to do. I have never met that man and I haven’t seen him since. It was weird because that was in March and in April I was living in LA.
With Now Following God, LLC, I do feel that for all my time in the industry, since signing my first deal at sixteen, things have just been given to me and certain situations were prevented. Money has always been thrown in my face because of my associations and the work that I’ve done, but this year (2011), I stepped out on faith. I kept looking at when I would tweet #nowfollowingGod, people would retweet it and that’s how I decided to name my company that.
It’s not only something I really believed in, but it’s how I’ve chosen to live from this year forward. I feel like when we don’t follow God, it always ends with something going wrong. This year I decided to try something new. I had to stop saying, “I’m giving it all to God”, while still trying to handle it myself. The transition was harder in my own brain and not in the industry.
TJS: Being a Christian in entertainment, how does that direct the projects that you work on?
Kiesha: At first it didnt to be honest. I used to have this argument in the studio all the time. Some say that what you do in your professional life doesn’t determine who you are in your personal life. I used to feel like that, but now I don’t. There’s a lot of things like lyrical content, that I’m not okay with that I used to be.
The only reason that we are here is to be vessels and to be voices for God. I’m not saying we have to be screaming it everywhere we go, but we are supposed to be living examples for other people. It does dictate, not only the projects that I attach myself to, but the lyrics that I let my name be put on. Everything I do isn’t perfect, but there has to be a message and some sort of purpose at the end.
TJS: Are you currently single?
Kiesha: I am. People ask me all the time, “Why are you single?” and at first I couldn’t answer that, but I get it now. The reason that I’m single is because the last two relationships I’ve had were so horrible and I chose them. This time I’m going to wait on God to send me somebody and I’m in no rush!
I have to make sure I’m not pushing people away, but I’m not thirsty for it either. As soon as I feel like God tells me to focus on somebody I will, but for right now it’s about me, my career, and my family. Time is something you can never get back. I feel like the time I spent on a dude I could have been getting some money or changing lives, just anything, but that!
TJS: What are some of your non-negotiables in a relationship?
Kiesha: The top one for me is being a spiritual person. You don’t have to come from the same background, but they have to believe in something good, something positive, and that God is love. Another non-negotiable for me is, I need someone who is a business man. I do not plan on taking care of someone ever again.
I did that once and it will never happen again If I’m with someone already and something happens and they need me to take care of them, that’s different, but I won’t be meeting someone and taking care of them. I’m not saying they have to be rich, but they have to have something going on for themselves. I need someone who really loves helping people. I don’t like selfish guys and I see that a lot. I’m so giving and I can’t do selfish. Also, I need someone that will allow me to be me. I’ve had a man give me an ultimatum. When he said, “It’s either me or music”, I had to laugh at him. I’m in the studio late hours and around a lot of different men and some can’t handle that I can’t be home at 7:00PM everyday.
TJS: Why do you think so many Christian women are single?
Kiesha: I’m working on a documentary on being single in Atlanta and here is my view on that. I can’t speak for Christian women everywhere, but this is how I see it. There has been a change in Atlanta and I don’t care who get’s an attitude after I say this. For one, homosexuality in our world has become acceptable. I’m not judging, however, all of the men wanting other men, does cut down the number of available men drastically.
It’s not about right and wrong, it’s about numbers. Then there’s no denying that there are some black men that do not like black women and black men are not as closed minded to their options as we are. The few black men that are left know that they’re an endangered species and they act like butt-holes. I’m only speaking for Atlanta when I say this, but girls that will do anything and everything to get these men, make it hard for any woman to keep a man. Men have too many options. I’ve never dated outside my race, but I’m going to try it. Why not?
TJS: What can we look forward from you in 2012?
Kiesha: My business partner and I, Kiyoko Essley, are developing several acts including Teen Group A.M.P.T, female rap group JC, and building the brand of her son, BenJ of the New Boyz. I am also project manager for a couple projects including Atlanta rapper YaYo and Reigndrop Lopes (sister of Rapper from TLC “LeftEye Lopes). I’m producing some reality shows, one that I will co-star in, co-writing a couple movies, executive producing a documentary, and doing more projects on the TV and film side.
No matter where this road takes me I will always do music and even though I say I’m over being a artist, doors continue to open and I am considering walking through a couple of those as well. I have decided to say, “yes” to any opportunity that will be good for me. I’m open! 2012 is about me becoming the best Me I can possibly be. I’m here to Win. On the road to becoming a true boss, but forever a boss who follows God…