Kiki Bello, the Electric Harpist opens up to Opening Doorz about her name change, and the reaction from her parents and fans. She was once Enki Bello.
By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | March 21, 2021
Enki Bello who changed her stage name to Kiki Bello talks about the reason behind the name change she effected two years ago, the reaction of her parents and fans and also her desire to work in India. “I did get a lot of requests from Indian companies. But so far, unfortunately, the budget restrictions have not allowed me to go there,” reveals Kiki. Speaking about her images she uploads on Social Media from concerts where she has missed a note, making a face, Kiki is straight-forward. “I’m happy to share these images with the world so that they know I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect; I too make mistakes,” she laughs. Throwing light on her biggest goal, Kiki reveals: “In the next few years, I want to win a Grammy Award. I am working tirelessly towards that, 24 x 7.”
Opening Doorz to the down-to-earth always approachable Kiki Bello.
Why did you change your name from Enki to Kiki? Was it for numerology/astrology sake?
There are a few reasons as to why I changed my name. First of all, I believe that the branding and the marketing is probably the biggest and most important thing when it comes to promote your product, which in this case is me as an artist. And I believe that simplicity is the key. So, by changing it to Kiki, it is more memorable and people are more likely to remember a much simpler name.
So it had nothing to do with numerology?
Not at all! Around five years ago in 2016, a lot of my friends just started calling me Kiki. It was first one friend, and after that, everyone started calling me Kiki, because they told me (and most of them were Brazilian), that it was much easier to remember. I didn’t like it very much in the beginning; I wanted people to call me by my name. But as the years went by, I realised that when I introduced myself as Kiki, people would automatically and immediately remember who I was.
Were there issues with people mispronouncing your name?
Absolutely! Growing up, I always had a problem with people mispronouncing or misspelling my name. They would never remember it, so it was always an issue for me since I had to spell it out every single time in school, college and even during events. They would come up with names that were anything but my name, and that frustrated me. So, I started thinking about it and felt that Kiki was much easier to remember. Even now, when I’m a little more well-known in the entertainment world, specifically the harp world, they misspell my name. I realised that the human brain is designed to memorize things that are easy to remember.
Enki Bello is known world over, didn’t that deter you from changing your name? I mean you have worked hard to get where you are and now this identity crisis!
[Laughs] My fans who have been following me for a while, know that it is the same person, and most people know that it is just a stage name. I don’t think it will affect me at all. My fans know who I am and they know how to find me, and if they just type “harp” or “electric harp”, they will find Kiki Bello on the World Wide Web. There is no identity crisis whatsoever. It’s just a business decision for the better.
How have your parents taken this change in name?
My parents were kind of opposed to the idea in the beginning, and then I explained to them my reasons for doing so, because that was the name that they gave me and it has a beautiful meaning and definition. So, after explaining everything that I have explained above, and that it would be better for my career, they understood, and that it would protect my privacy too to have two different names; one for my personal life and one for my professional and career life.
My mom especially was opposed to the idea, but now she realises that Kiki is a catchy name and very easy to remember. And my dad is the type to just go with the flow, because he knows that I change my mind every two minutes. He knows that I will do everything to promote my career in the right way, so he doesn’t really care. He trusts whatever I do and speak. He’s a pretty chill guy.
And your fans; were there many questions posed to you, like we are doing?
[Laughs] Yes, there were questions as to, “Why Kiki?” because they had no idea, and then I would explain that it is a memorable, easier and generally a much catchier name and they understand. I did get a lot of questions initially, but now they all know.
You post these funny images on Social media? Any instances related to that?
Whenever photographers catch pictures of me with weird faces, it’s probably because I played the wrong note or I just got lost, like any human would do when they’re playing an instrument. Nobody’s perfect, so I make mistakes because I’m so excited, because I’m looking at somebody or because I get distracted and look around and miss one or two notes, which I think is normal and every musician goes through that. And I’m happy to share that with the world so that they know I’m not perfect. To be honest, I love those photographs.
India is a huge market, especially Bollywood (our Hindi film industry), have you thought of exploring the option?
I did get a lot of requests from Indian companies. I perform for corporate events that are held here in the US. I did get a few requests to actually travel all the way to India and perform there, but so far, unfortunately, the budget restrictions have not allowed me to go there.
What they’re looking for is not worth my time, because events are usually not just one performance of an hour; to me its 4 or 5 days of my life that I have to devote and I have to charge something that is worth my time. So far, I haven’t been able to go, but of course, I would love to go and be a part of the film industry in India. I hope I collaborate with some film production company or an artist. A lot of people suggested that I do Indian covers and I am working on that. I have a lot of Indian clients and they are such a united community, they help each other and are willing to incorporate their culture into mine.
What is your biggest goal as a musician?
I want to say that my biggest goal right now, in the next few years is to win a Grammy Award and that’s what I am working on the most. I am working tirelessly towards that, 24 x 7.
Pic Courtesy: @kikibellomusic/Instagram