Little did anyone know that the boy who sang at the Full Gospel Church in Mahaica every now and again would one day be making his own music and that people would love him for it. Joshea McKenzie himself could not see beyond his dreams of becoming a pilot but today he is certain that music is his calling.
Joshea, who goes by the name C4, began singing almost nine years ago. He found himself having an interest in Reggae, Dancehall and R&B specifically and there is a fusion of the genres in his music. Not only is he putting music out there that is different, but it is of high standard and when he hits his notes there is a bit of a reminder of Chris Brown that is sure to draw attention.
Like his stage name, C4 is explosive where his music is concerned. “I want every time someone hear my music, they know it’s me. Music is life to me. It’s my everyday motivation,” the artiste declared.
C4 grew up mainly with his grandmother, then in 2010 his mother took him to live with her where she resided in Barbados. Before then, he said, he was never afforded him the opportunity to learn any music even when it came to learning to play instruments. During his stay in Barbados he attended Metropolitan Secondary School. It was there that he got the opportunity to learn music. He learned to play the drums and the clarinet.
However, for C4, his music class began before and went beyond that. “I used to try making beats with my mouth and banging on my desk to catch a vibe. From time to time I was constantly being put out of class for loud outburst of singing and having the entire class sing along with me. My mother was called into the school so many times she got fed up.
The next day when I’d show up at school after being put out the day before friends would say ‘if you don’t become a singer, something wrong’. One particular friend said to me that he was sure I’d become a singer someday,” C4 said.
His grandmother also encouraged him to follow his dreams. “She always told me I was gonna be someone great and that I could do anything and be whatever I wanna be,” he recalled. Sadly, his grandmother passed before she got the chance to see him perform.
The first time he performed was in 2013 at a show at the YMCA Ground. The crowd had been at it all night and by the time C4 and another friend were ready to perform, they had seemingly had enough and were tired. Yet, when he began singing his song, the rhythm and the hype of the music soon got the crowd back in motion.
According to C4 not only was he surprised at the reaction to his original piece, but they asked that he sing the song again, not once but twice. This sort of reaction made him realize that he could really do anything if he put his all into it. This particular incident was an eye opener for him. “The lesson learnt here is that no matter what, once your work is good people will have no choice than to invest in it,” he said.
Although his earlier dream was to become a pilot, he gained a passion for music and does not regret choosing to become an artiste, which he said is a privilege for him. Music, he explained, is part of people’s everyday life and in some cases like him, the reason for existence.
Knowing that music is so vital to people, he said, makes getting a message over to fans easier. He said it is an honour to know that one could be a role model to younger ones.
C4 has had his own role models and inspirations. Making the list is his producer Simeon Browne along with his brothers Michael and Abraham Browne. Prior to meeting the Brownes, his inspirations were: Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Neyo, Bob Marley, Jah Cure and Usher.
Music, he said, has improved on the individual he is. The responsibility of getting his music into the world has made him conscious of the image he portrays and has made him take care to notice the finer things in life and be serious about it.
To date, his songs recorded are: “Shell the Party,” “Pree Me,” “Work Hard,” “Get Money,” “One of Ah Kind” and “Send Them Home”. Sometimes he writes his own songs, but his producer also writes for him. His singles were recorded by Wondamangs Production.
Some of his challenges include having trouble delivering a track properly or not being able to compose the quality of his lyrics like the singers he grew up idolizing. But because he can recognize his weaknesses, he knows what he has to do to work on them and would constantly work on his music to avoid this.
In a few years, C4 hopes that he would have become a household name in Guyana, toured various continents and collaborated with some of the biggest international artistes.
By then he would be able to do his music full time and not have to worry about having a second job to get by. Currently that is the way it is for him and for many other artistes in Guyana.
Because of his dedication, C4 is certain that he is well on his way to producing quality music. In fact, already a number of persons who have heard his music commented that it is of such good quality that it could not be local music.
The biggest thing one needs fulfil one’s dream, he said, is to have faith in oneself. “Believe in what you do and believe you can become whatever you want to be. There are no limits to becoming what you want to be. Always believe in yourself and stay true to who you are,” he encouraged aspiring artistes.
C4 attended Helena Nursery and Primary, Novar Secondary and Metropolitan Secondary then later St Helena’s College.
His hobbies are listening to music, singing, playing football, swimming and drawing.