Keisha Patterson mourns loss of dad
ON Boxing Day singer and actress Keisha Patterson made her way back onstage for a role in her third Jambiz production, Frank the Freak, which is playing at the Centerstage Theatre in New Kingston.
The day before opening night her father Horace, who was battling cancer, gave his baby girl the usual ‘break a leg’ pep talk and lamented the fact that due to his failing health, he would not be able to make it to the theatre to see her perform as he has always done throughout her performing life.
One week later, on New Year’s day, the older Patterson lost his battle with the dreaded disease.
Every night since his deathPatterson has had to suck it up, take to the boards and deliver for her audience.
“It is very, very hard. Actually, it’s unbelievable,” a sombre Patterson told the Jamaica Observer. “ My relationship with Daddy was such that I either visited, called or WhatsApp’d him every single day, so it is so hard to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer here. I am absolutely a daddy’s girl. I am the baby — the last of five children. He took me everywhere — to piano, singing and dance classes — and came to pick me up when I was done. He never allowed me to find my own way. He was truly my best friend and I was always his baby.”
Once her father died, Patterson messaged her cast mates advising them of the situation, noting that she did not want to speak of it once she got to the theatre the following day. Instead, she just wanted to focus on her character.
“It has been bittersweet. I really just want to stay home and cry, grieve and be with family, but having to go out every night be on stage and remained focussed has become a blessing. It gives me somewhere to go every evening and something else to think about. When I am on stage I immerse myself into the character, and my father’s passing has caused me to focus even harder. But it sometimes gets difficult as I am playing a character who is always talking to and about her daddy, and some of the experiences mirror my own with my father,” she noted.
Patterson further explained that she plays Cutie, a sheltered child who yearns to spread her wings and fly, but is being constrained by an overprotective father.
“I too had overprotective parents. However, unlike Cutie, I did not yearn to ‘bruck out’. But my father was always there for me and supported all my ventures.”
Following her work in Frank the Freak, Patterson will take some time off to deal with her recent loss before returning to her first love — singing — and prepare for the local release for three of her singles.
“I have three singles which have already been released in England... Fall in Love, Baby I’m Yours and
Bye Bye Boy. These have a contemporary reggae, rocksteady and ska sound and feel. It is all my original work, so I am very excited. We will be working on videos for them. But that will come after everything is done. I will need some time before I take that on.”
But, for now, her next musical performance will be at her father’s funeral set for the St Andrew Parish Church on January 17 at 10:30 am.
“Daddy told me that I absolutely have to sing at his funeral. It will be difficult, but he told me to look down and know that he is there. I am still undecided as to what I will sing, but he has a few favourites and I will definitely choose from those.”