An Athlone rapper says he’s using his music to inspire others to follow their dreams no matter what life throws at them.
Keenan Henkeman, from Bridgetown, rapped his first song when he was 13 after his friend, Augustine Mutule, encouraged him to sing one day when they walked into the Impact Centre in Athlone and saw a mic.
Henkeman rapped a song he named Going In which was about going into any challenge head on without any hesitation. But his love for the arts started before that as he often danced as a child and was part of the dance group at Bridgeville Primary School.
He went on to write his own music and would sing it with his friend, Augustine.
Better known as SPIROH (Successfully Persevere In Rough Obstacles Henkeman), he performs at clubs, events, and community gatherings. He performed at Stellenbosch University’s youth programme this year.
In February, Spiroh released his first album, What A Life. The seven-track album tells of life’s challenges and how people should go after their goals no matter the odds.
“The album speaks about success and failures and starts off with me having a conversation with my mom and dad, and my dad tells me to sideline my talent for now, and my mom tells me that I need to earn money first to build myself up and then focus on music.”
In 2017 he won the MTN Megastar competition and last year he spent five days in Los Angeles singing alongside music producer, Denarius “Motesart” Motes.
“Music is a language that speaks to a lot of people. It is a way of uniting people and inspiring people. Music gives people a different perspective, and it is impactful. When it is used properly it can do a lot of good. I want to inspire people with my music,” he says.
The 21-year-old says much of the inspiration behind his writing comes from wanting to help those caught in the grip of the many social ills plaguing the Cape Flats.
“I want to produce music to make money to help people. Anyone who has a talent should pursue it no matter what. Go after your goals and finish what you start. Many youth give up so quickly and go onto the next thing without finishing the thing they started. Make sacrifices and work hard and achieve your goals.”