A WAW time-out with Keren-Happuch Odinenu, fairy godmother of ‘For The Love Of Us’

Keren-Happuch interview

It all started on the dance floor–the love story of Kaitlyn and Kelvin–and it could have been a simple one: boy-dance-with-girl-then-boy-like-girl-then-LOVE, but Abigail came into the picture and thus began the love triangle. For eleven weeks, Keren-Happuch Odinenu kept us on the sharp edges of our seats with the enthralling love story titled For The Love Of Us; we cried when the lovers cried, laughed and danced with them, and when they let sheer stubbornness separate them, I itched to knock them over the head with my fat Bible.

And when Kaitlyn’s story came to an end, we were sad to miss it but it was an ending we couldn’t fault–beautiful.

For her generosity with this tale, we owe thanks to Keren who battled odds and dragons to meet the weekly target. She on the other hand, owed us answers to some questions which you beautiful readers sent in. And so when the WAW crew caught up with her last week, she paid!

Enjoy the exchange below and after reading, fill up the comment box if you will, for the love of us …

 


Keren-Happuch, very peculiar name? How did you get it?

The name was given to me by my mother. It’s from the Bible; she was the third daughter of Job.

 

Who is Keren?

Hmm … I’m a 19-year-old student of Religion and human relations in my penultimate year. I’m very passionate about music, dance and art; I’ve also been referred to as a bookworm. Um… I love movies, especially action movies, spiced up with a bit of comedy (Transformer, Ride along, Miss Congeniality, Central intelligence and Mission Impossible are some of my favorites). I wouldn’t describe myself as religious, spiritual is more like it; let’s just say I’m passionate about doing the right thing. I can be shy but I also find it easy to socialize when I put my mind to it. I love my space and I get very irritated when people invade my privacy. That just irks me!

 

Tell us about your family? Major influences growing up?

I come from a family of five girls and two twin boys. We are Catholics, Igbo Catholics to be precise (you know how conventional we can be). My major influence growing up was my oldest sister, Olivia. Although she is now late, she still remains a huge source of inspiration for me. She used to sing, write, paint and dance – I know right? She defined multi-talented! So I started doing everything I saw her do. Some came naturally, others I had to develop through practice. And now, here we are.

 

What does Keren want to be when she grows up?

I want to be many things! LOL. Most importantly though, I want to be a better version of the present Keren. Already I sing, write, dance, and all, but I want to do these things on a larger scale.

I’m also very passionate about Peace and Conflict studies with particular reference to what is going on in Nigeria. I hope to obtain a master’s degree in this area and become some type of diplomat.

 

Tell us about your passions. Music, art, dance. How did you venture into those?

You mean besides the influence of my late sister, because I already said –

 

– yes, yes, besides her. Rest her soul.

Amen. Well, I’ve always been interested in a lot of things and once I’m interested in something, I try to feed my curiosity. It was curiosity that led me to pick up a guitar, I play now. Curiosity also led me to join a dance crew last year. I love music, it’s what I’m most passionate about. In a way, I was inspired by the fairytale stories of Disney channel. It’s funny but I used to watch it every day, and it helped me believe I could do anything as long as I’m true to my passions.

 

What inspires you?

Hmm. A lot of things, I guess. I’m inspired by what I see, what I feel. I’ve written so many songs which were inspired by one guy or the other I was crushing on at the time—songs inspired by the need to assure myself that I’ll be great someday.

Sometimes, I’m inspired when I see people like me do extraordinary things. This pushes me to continue even when I feel discouraged.

 

How inspiring. Now shall we talk about ‘For The Love Of Us’?

Yes please!

 

Lol. Okay, the story ended happily. Do you believe in happy endings? Many people don’t …

I absolutely believe that there are happy endings to some stories, not all though.

 

What inspired the story?

Errrr … honestly, the story was directly inspired, many of the events in the story actually happened in my life. Let’s just say it was a way for me to express myself.

 

You don’t say! Did your story end like Kaitlyn’s did? But you’re still a student, right? Where is Kelvin now? Tell us tell us!

(laughs) Nuh-uh. Those are very personal matters joor. Just enjoy the Kaitlyn and Kelvin you know. For now.

 

For now? So maybe later you will …

Lol. Maybe.

 

Arrrrgh! Fine, moving on. Is romance/love stories a style of yours? Or did this just happen?

It’s certainly not exclusively my style, it just happened. Like I said, the story was inspired by series of events in my life.

 

Imagine for a minute that Kaitlyn and Kelvin were ten years older than you wrote them to be in the story. Would you have written it the same way?

Ok, I’m imagining … nah, I wouldn’t. Age played a role in the complication of things. Kaitlyn was young and to some extent, immature, she needed to grow to let go of her fear. In the end, things turned out the way they did because she was no longer the scared teenager he used to know.

Again, if they were ten years older, there probably wouldn’t be any hope for a relationship between them. Kelvin would most probably have married. Lol.

 

Kelvin? It’s interesting you think that, I would think Kaitlyn is the most probable to be married by that time. Any particular reason you said Kelvin?

Errr … no. Just that he is a lot older than Kaitlyn so he should marry first. But now you mention it, you’re right; Kaitlyn would most likely marry first, our ways being what they are.

 

There seemed to be an awful amount of time that passed between when Kaitlyn rejected Kelvin’s proposal and when she eventually accepted, and all that time she was loving him. Why do you think she punished them both?

Girls are complicated—I know this because I’m a girl. For a long time, Kaitlyn wasn’t sure what she wanted. Again, by the time she rejected him, she was still ruled by fear and confused about the whole situation with Abigail.

However when she and Abigail got back on track, and she had grown out of the fear placed in her by Oke’s assault, another fear ruled her. Did Kelvin still love her? Would he accept her if she came knocking? With scary unanswered questions like that, what would you have a girl do?!

 

Lol. Doesn’t even matter, we love her anyway. That’s all about ‘For The Love Of Us’. So what’s next for Keren-Happuch Odinenu?

What’s next for me? In the next month, I’ll soon be a final year student. This means less time for passion and more time for books. However, in the next twelve months, I’ll be rounding off and preparing to delve into a world of possibilities. School has always restricted me from fully developing my potentials, before my Masters’ degree, I plan to explore some more. Who knows, I might release an album or two, maybe publish a book, or learn to speak French, or do all three! There’s so much I can’t wait to do.

 

Keren-Happuch is 18 years old and a 300-level student of Religion and Human relations. She is passionate about music, writing and art. Her goal in life is to inspire others through her works.

 

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3 replies added

  1. Lol, I was so sure most of it was based on her life story. More grease keren. The world is waiting for you.

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