For this April-June 2020 issue of Up and Away, Caprice Spencer-Dames caught up with the Bahamian Knight duo—Wendi and Dyson—for an in-depth conversation about balancing family life, entertaining, recording, touring and socializing.
Sit back, relax and enjoy her conversation with both of them.
Ladies first—Wendi, tell us a little bit about you. Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Nassau, Bahamas, but raised on the Family Islands of Cat Cay, Bimini, Eleuthera and Andros until my family moved back to Nassau when I was 12.
When did you begin singing or when did you find your voice?
My father was the one who discovered my talent for singing. I had my first professional engagement at four years old when I sang “The Greatest Love of All” at my preschool graduation. I found my current voice while in university at Berklee College of Music studying music business and voice.
As an entertainer you are dynamic on stage, but you seem somewhat quiet and reserved off stage. Do you transform into an alter ego on stage?
I wouldn't really call her an alter ego, but my on stage persona is definitely more in-your-face than my day-to-day “booky” self. In normal life, I wear glasses, I run my family’s business, I take care of my daughter and I wear my natural hair. On stage, WENDI is fearless, demanding and sexy.
You have been known for a variety of musical styles, from rake-n-scrape to soca and a few in between. What musical style hits to the core of Wendi?
I am a pop/R&B girl through and through. That is truly where my vocal is most comfortable. I’ve been thriving in the soca and Caribbean music genre lately and that has been really exciting to explore.
The entertainment business is unforgiving, especially when you have to balance family life, work life, on stage life and just everyday life. How do you keep everything balanced and stay centered with a young baby, Zenndarah, and your “big baby”, Dyson?
(Laugh)! My big baby Dyson! Well, I am still trying to figure out balance. Some days I have it, and some days I don’t. Some days I get lots of work done, and some days I accomplish absolutely nothing. Both my husband and I are very busy, and our sweet Zenndarah is growing fast and is super demanding, so sometimes we drop everything and just cater to being new parents.
Do you love everything that’s been happening with your music, your awards, your new projects and your future plans?
It feels really good to be seen, heard and acknowledged by way of awards as well as being invited on various projects. I do wish that I had more capital to pursue my future plans but I always say, “They will have to catch this train whilst it’s moving!”
Let me get personal and dig into some of the “shop talk”—what is it like being married to a working musician/entertainer? Is it easier because you are both in the industry or is there strong competition in the household?
It is definitely advantageous to share life with someone who understands, and is a part of the same industry. There isn't much competition. We are partners in all things: music, events, live shows, arrangements, party events, almost everything that surrounds the entertainment industry are collaborative decisions.
If you could invite three people to your table—living or dead—for dinner, for some great food and for stimulating conversation with you, Zenndarah and Dyson, who would they be?
Jesus, Whitney Houston and the inventor of “Little Baby Bum”… The last one would be for Zenndarah.
Where do I start with you, Dyson? If I was to guess, you came out of the womb singing?
I’m pretty sure I did (laugh)! I’m the first child for both parents and my dad always tells me the story of how he prayed a special deal with God. The deal was if he passed his eighth-degree music test, God would bless him with a boy. He passed and God kept his end of the deal. So, I’m the product of a music exam. (Laugh)!
Were you born and raised in a musical family?
Yes, my dad was a member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Marching Band and his father started the very first Pentecostal marching band. Every child of my grandfather plays an instrument.
How has your upbringing influenced you over the years with some of the choices you have made in your musical journey?
I think about my grandfather often when I think about why I’m so attracted to the stage. He was a reverend and although not the flashy type, he really knew how to command an audience. He was always the loudest voice during song service and no one could out dance him when he started his gospel rocking, foot-stomping, two-step shuffle. I see a lot of him in me. I’m bold and not one bit concerned as to who’s watching when I’m in-tune with my music. The confidence it takes to do what I do definitely comes from him.
You have had some high points in your career; can you share a few of them with us?
I’ve done a lot for an island boy [like] performed on the Today Show in New York; the Kelly and Ryan show; performed in China, Los Angeles, Germany, Mexico, Atlanta, to name a few. I’ve won the Bahamian Icon Award and the Elevation Award. I’m respected by all of the radio stations in the country and have pretty much become a household name. It took a lot of work to get here, but the fact that I’m still relevant almost 20 years later is the highest point.
Was there ever a low moment in your career that you learnt so much from, but that you hope will never be repeated?
The industry is brutal. Even with all that I’ve accomplished, I still don’t feel successful if I can be honest. I am grateful because I know that I am able to support my lifestyle through music alone. However, this fight to establish a profitable entertainment industry on the island is my low moment. It is a mammoth task that I have to face daily and every day I learn something or experience something that I hope I never have to go through again.
We got personal with Wendi and you know we couldn’t leave you out to dig into some of the “shop talk”. What is it like being married to a working musician/entertainer? Is it easier because you are both in the industry or is there strong competition in the household?
There is strong competition and it’s a lot less easy now that we have our baby. It’s hard to balance because it’s anti-productive to take Zenn to the studio, gig, video shoot or radio promo. One of us has to focus on her if we can’t find a sitter and I’m the type of person that can only do one thing at a time. I’d say that for the past year and a half I’ve really had to put my work aside to be more supportive to Wendi’s. This makes me feel unproductive and I get a bit jealous that she’s moving and I’m not but the challenges and exertion of being a mom is something most men don’t understand. I’ve decided that Wendi, rejuvenated by accomplishing her goals makes her stronger emotionally when it comes to mothering our daughter and when it comes to being a wife as well. It’s all worth it.
What musical style that you perform hits deep into your soul and why?
ALL styles hit deep for me. I am a lover of creativity. When I listen to music, I hear the emotions in the track. Doesn’t matter if I don’t know the artist or the language they’re singing. Any song that is well put together will move me.
If you could invite three people to your table—living or dead—for dinner, for some great food and for stimulating conversation with you, Zenndarah and Wendi, who would they be?
Jay-Z, Michael Jackson and a native Arawak Indian that lived and died before Christopher Columbus.
Catch Wendi on social media: @wendi242 via YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Catch Dyson on social media: @dysonknight via YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and @dysontheartist via Facebook.