Six years ago, Kyle Gomes brandished his black, nine millimetre pistol for the final time. A desperate act of crime driven by hunger, quickly transitioned into a daunting encounter with a taxi driver and a testimony that would continue to shake the faith of those who dared to listen. Kyle Gomes has since retired from his criminal deeds and rebranded himself as Mosqkey Musiq – husband, artist, entrepreneur, youth leader and above all, a Christian. Kyle a.k.a. “Mosqkey” has decided to share his story with Tracy Tuitt of the Trinidad and Tobago Performing Arts Network. Here is the transcript from his interview:
WHO IS MOSQKEY MUSIQ?
Tracy Tuitt: So Kyle, would you like to share your testimony with me?
Mosqkey Musiq: Well, I used to be a bandit ever since the age of 15 years, I’m 25 years old now. I used to rob people just to be able to survive. Then one day, six years ago, I decided to rob this taxi driver at gun point. However, the driver did not give in. Instead, he just kept saying the name “Jesus.” He said the name three times…Jesus…Jesus…Jesus. And each time he said the name, I kept seeing the taxi driver growing bigger and bigger. It scared me so much that I ended up being the one to give in and run away.
TT: And what happened after that? After that experience, was it then you decided to commit to Christ?
MM: No, not immediately. I continued to lime on the block, I still smoked marijuana, drank rum and partied but a part of me remained afraid after that experience. I haven’t robbed anyone since.
TT: So what was the game changer for you?
MM: One day, I decided to attend a Football Outreach tournament hosted by [what has become] my current church, Southern Gardens Redemption Centre and there was a man preaching. And while he was preaching, he pointed to me directly and said “Young man, you’ve been through so much in life and now, God wants to use you.” That was the game changer. I decided then and there to surrender fully to God. That was three years ago and I truly believe that if I had continued along that path I was on, I would have died.
TT: So you became a Christian three years ago. When did you become a Gospel artist?
MM: Approximately one year ago. Now, before I got saved, I used to do freestyles on the block. I always was a singer just my music wasn’t out there in the public. It was about a year ago I decided to truly pursue it.
TT: And did you start off singing in church?
MM: No (laughs) I actually never sang in church. I started off by just turning around the lyrics in “bad” songs, to words that worshipped God.
TT: Ok, so you became Mosqkey Musiq a year ago. Are Mosqkey and Kyle two different personas?
MM: (laughs) No, there isn’t a difference. There’s actually a story behind the name “Mosqkey.”
TT: Oh! Tell me about it.
MM: When I was growing up, I was really tiny and small. So the people around gave me the name “Mosquito.” (laughs) I used to think they were making fun of me and would cry a lot, especially to my mom. After some time, they dropped the ending and just stuck with “Mosqkey” and I liked that better than “Mosquito” (laughs). So I kept that name and eventually, that’s how people would identify me. They would actually refer to me more as “Mosqkey” than “Kyle.”
TT: I see, so you then started to embrace that part of you, like you embraced your past with crime.
MM: Yes, that’s right. And embracing that past has actually been crucial to my songwriting. See, any song I write has roots in my personal experiences.
TT: Ok! Now, besides your personal relationship with God, do you have any other relationships that play a role in your music?
MM: My wife. When I told her that this is something I wanted to do, that I wanted to transition from a secular artist to a Gospel artist, her response was basically “do it.” She has been very supportive.
TT: And are you a full time artist?
MM: No I’m not. I have a full time job and I’m also self-employed with a business in car care. I would love to be a full time artist but for right now I’m content. If God wants me to go into Gospel ministry full time, then that’s what I will do, but like I said, right now I’m happy.
TT: What genre of music are you in?
TT: You identify as a Gospel-dancehall artist?! That’s so odd to think of because there are certain stigmas attached to “dancehall”; that it’s raw, sexual but mostly, secular. Would you say that you selected dancehall to show that any genre can be used to praise God?
MM: I would say so, yes. Also, dancehall is extremely versatile. You can mix it with Soca, Reggae, R&B, and that music can reach anyone.
TT: Interesting! When I listened to your music, I noticed that you’re more of the hyped, upbeat Gospel artist. Do you perform Soca?
MM: Yes! One of my songs is in fact a Soca (song). I mean, you won’t see me performing during Carnival 2020 (laughs) but I appreciate the genre. The Soca I wrote is called “Praise Him” and we can do that (praise him) at any time.
TT: So what do you think is your purpose as an artist? What’s your vision for yourself and your work?
MM: I believe my purpose is to influence the youth in a positive way. Throughout my life, especially throughout my past, I’ve seen so many youth go astray because of a lack of guidance in their lives. I really want to be a light to them because if I can change, anyone can change.
TT: Well, given that you want to influence the youth, are you doing anything else within the youth community besides your music?
MM: I’m a youth leader with my church; the same church that hosted the Football Tournament through which I got saved. And we [the church] also have a Homework centre and host Carnival camps.
TT: And you’re also a deejay! How long have you been a deejay?
MM: Well I used to be a secular deejay for parties. My first time deejaying with Gospel music was at a church dinner and let me tell you, when I deejayed at that dinner I couldn’t believe that God took even my deejaying and used it.
TT: Right. But all of it, the music and the deejaying, you use it all to minister. How do you feel when you minister?
MM: I feel satisfied and accomplished. Also, very shocked; I’m always shocked that God could use me, an ex-bandit, to minister to someone.
ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE
TT: Now Kyle, you said that your single “Spiritual Warfare” was inspired by your experience with the taxi driver. But that incident happened 6 years ago, and you wrote the song in October of last year. Why did it take you so long to write the song?
MM: Simply put, I kept seeing that same taxi driver around Point Fortin and every time I saw him, I would remember the experience. Now remember, I started writing my own music about a year ago. At some point within that year, the Holy Spirit moved me and I felt like I needed to write about the experience, particularly to inform people that our battles are not physical battles. The taxi driver knew it then and I know it now, our battles are of a spiritual nature.
TT: Did you ever approach the driver after the robbery?
MM: No, and I’m not sure he even remembers me. I see him around Point Fortin but I don’t know how that conversation would go. Maybe one day I would go up to him and reintroduce myself, but I haven’t since the day of the attempted robbery.
TT: So what are your hopes for “Spiritual Warfare”?
MM: I want the youth to stop the violence and heal through prayer; to fight their battles through prayer and through God. That’s what worked for me and I believe that’s what will work for them.
When people listen to “Spiritual Warfare,” I want them to feel like there’s hope and there is victory when they choose the right weapons. I also want them to believe that anything is possible as long as we seek the Lord.
TT: How did you feel when you performed “Spiritual Warfare” the first time?
MM: A bit exposed (laughs). I wasn’t sure how the audience would respond especially since it’s based on my personal experience. Though I’m very open about my past, I still worry that people would look at me on stage and say “Look the bandit.” I don’t want people to be uncomfortable around me. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced that. The response is generally positive.
TT: And I’m sure that just motivates you more to keep sharing your story.
MM: Yes, exactly.
TT: So “Spiritual Warfare” was based off of the ‘taxi driver’ experience, what other music do you have that is based off of a personal experience?
MM: Before “Spiritual Warfare”, I released “Sprinkle The Blood” which was based off of an experience with a drug dealer that claimed territory over an area in which I, along with some others, was sent to minister. However, we prayed over the situation and literally “sprinkled the blood.” Within a few weeks, we didn’t have to deal with the drug dealer any more.
TT: Oh wow! Those are some serious testimonies. Ok, so your first single was “Sprinkle the Blood” and the second one was “Spiritual Warfare,” is it that you’re releasing an album?
MM: Yes! I’m hoping and praying to do an album early next year.
TT: Fantastic! And do you have a name for your album?
MM: Yes, I was thinking of [content not available] but that’s off the record, can’t be released as yet (laughs).
TT: (laughs) Ok, I’m going to have to leave that bit out! And will you be releasing any music videos, as well?
MM: Yes, I’m currently working on the video for “Spiritual Warfare” with the production company “Murray Pro”. It’s my first time working with him but he (Murray Pro) does good work, I’ve seen it. So I’m looking forward to working together.
TT: And what about your work with Shaka Productions?
MM: My first “Single Sprinkle the Blood” was produced by Kern Noel of Kompel Music productions. From “Spiritual Warfare” onward, Shaquille Charles has been doing my music. Shaquille is very encouraging and a good brother to be around.
TT: So that’s Murray Pro and Shaka Productions. Do you have any other collaborations on the horizon or at least, any idea of other artists you’d want to work with?
MM: Yes of course! Denecka Andrews from Point Fortin. She has a wonderful voice, truly out of this world. I noticed it when she did background vocals on one of my songs. I’d like to work with Blessed Messenger because of his energy, I really am a fan of his hype. And Jaron Nurse, I admire his humility. I think he’s a good person to relate to.
TT: And what about musical influences?
MM: Well I’m a dancehall artist so I look to Jay Prince because of his style, his music can reach anyone. And he does his own beats! He releases them under J-Lab Productions.
The other artist that influences me is Farenite who is extremely lyrical, he really knows how to write and deliver powerfully.
TT: So what’s next for Mosqkey Musiq?
MM: Well apart from the music video, I’ll be performing “Spiritual Warfare” and ministering at Joyous Celebrations 2 on June 15th, and then again on Labour Day at the Football Outreach Tournament, alongside Jaron Nurse and Yelena. I’ve also been liaising to perform at another upcoming event, but I’m just awaiting further details.
TT: And where can we find an audio file of “Spiritual Warfare” in the mean time?
MM: You can find it on SoundCloud, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram, just search the ID: @Mosqkey_Musiq
TT: Well Mosqkey, that’s it for the interview, any final words that you’d like to leave with us?
MM: Yes, this is an excerpt from my favourite bible verse, Jeremiah 29: 11-14
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
TT: So basically, leave and let God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tracy Tuitt is a Caribbean, contemporary-soul vocalist whose voice has been described as “smooth” and “honey-like.” She has been singing and performing over the last 16 years for both local and international audiences.
Her most notable performances include: The Young Singers Showcase hosted by the Picoplat Music Development Foundation and Music TT’s inaugural Music Showcase as a finalist. She was also featured on the Uncovered Web Series and Live Show as an artiste to watch. All projects took place in 2017.
In 2018, Tracy officially signed on to participate in Brian Mac Farlane’s annual production of Christmas Joy Chimes of Peace as part of the B.Macnificent Voices Choir.