With the release of her debut album, He's All Around, Marinda Kikanke, otherwise known by her stage name, Zion, is on fire!
The Manhattan native, and now Mississauga resident may be relatively new to the contemporary gospel scene, but she's quickly making a name for herself and her artistry. The exceptionally talented singer and multi-lingual songwriter has already began to create an international buzz, performing for audiences across Europe, the U.S., and Canada.
Tell us more about the album. What influenced its creation?
So, this album is actually a few testimonies that I have, based on experiences that I’ve been through, and I made them into songs. And I know that everything that I’ve been through might help somebody else. I can always send a message to them, telling them that they’re not alone.
What is your favourite song off the album?
They’re all my favourite, actually! I wrote them all. The thing is, each song has its own place in my life. So, they have their own meanings. I don’t have one in particular, but each one of them has a story behind it, something that I’ve been through.
Could you please share one of these stories?
Well with the song ‘Keep Me Near,’ which is the 7th song on the album, I understood that I do matter, and for that, I need him [Jesus]. There was a point in my life where I tried anything and everything, for years, to commit suicide. My last attempt was to jump down 12 storeys. I almost left my kids. Why? Because when this type of thing takes you so down, you don’t even see that you’re hurting other people. I remember I took a stool and stood on it to make sure that I was high enough to jump. Then I remember that I heard a voice –it was loving, but very strong, telling me to step down. And so one of my testimonies is getting out of depression, and suicidal thoughts. All these things –the pain—will take you so down. But through all of the pain I’ve been through, I’ve helped people. And this is why I know I can speak to people who have so many different layers of problems. That is why ‘Keep Me Near,’ lets me know that I need to keep the strongest one near, which is Jesus.
You have performed in front of audiences around the world. Which city has been your favourite to perform in, why?
I would say, Brussels in Belgium. Just because the way they responded to the message was absolutely great! And the expectation in Europe, well, they have this grand image of gospel. And the way they welcomed it had a huge impact on me, because I just realized that I am touching people. And sometimes it takes a while, and you need to go outside of where you are to realize that yeah, you do touch people, and they are listening and they come to you after and express their appreciation. So I would say, I think the best experience is mostly outside of Canada.
If you could collaborate on a song with any other gospel singer, who would it be and why?
Kim Burrell. Absolutely, Kim Burrell! This woman, I don’t know. There’s something of me, in her, that I recognize. And I think there’s something you can recognize in women who have been through a lot, they have stories. They can be a backbone for somebody else. And this is what I see in Kim Burrell, absolutely.
Where do you see Zion the artist in the next 5 years?
I see Zion as a woman of influence. And the rest, I leave it to God, to be honest.
For more information on upcoming Zion performances and to purchase her debut album, He's All Around, please visit her website. Follow her on Twitter @ForwardWithZion.