By RON FANFAIR
She can now manage a full smile and feel good about herself. That was not the case four years ago when Toronto singer/songwriter Kim Davis was trapped in a violent relationship that led to her abuser murdering her estranged husband.
The recording artist is busy in the studio these days completing her first 14-track self-titled album to be released on February 2, which is her 27th birthday. She also enjoys raising her two children, seven-year-old Jazzmyn and five-year-old Kareem Hussein, whose names and birthdates are tattooed on her left bicep.
It bothers her that their father, Sudanese-born Mohamed Hussein, is not around to see his kids grow and she has pledged to be the best parent to them.
Davis, who was born in Toronto to South African parents, and Hussein – he migrated to Canada at age 13 — were high school sweethearts who began living together when she was just 16. They got married two years later. The relationship, which lasted nearly five years, ended following a religious conflict.
“The split was mutual and we remained good friends,” said Davis who spent 10 years in Capetown before returning to Toronto to complete high school at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School. “In fact, after we separated, he tattooed ‘Family First’ on his back. That alone said how much he cared about his children.”
At around the same time, she began pursuing an entertainment career that led to a friendship with local rapper, Clinton “Mikey G” Gordon.
“That was a mentally, physically and emotionally abusive relationship,” recounted Davis. “My father had never touched me and to have this happen made me alienate myself from my family and friends because I did not feel good about myself in this state.”
In the wee hours of Nov 26, 2005, Hussein showed up at Davis’ residence, thinking she was in a violent conflict with her boyfriend and the kids might be in danger. (He had missed three urgent text messages and couldn’t reach Davis because she’d turn off her phone ringer to enable her young son to sleep).
Hussein, who graduated from Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute and was an auto mechanic at Ford Motor Co., and Gordon got into a physical altercation during which Hussein was stabbed seven times, including once to the heart. Davis, who tried to break up the scuffle, was stabbed three times and had to undergo reconstructive surgery to repair a shattered cheekbone.
“That was the worst day of my life,” said Davis who testified at Gordon’s trial (he was sentenced to six years for manslaughter). “Looking back, Mohamed helped save me from a bad relationship with his life and that’s something I can’t repay him for.”
Davis holds her parents, Trevor – he plays several musical instruments and opened doors for his daughter to explore her musical career – and Desiree, in high esteem for their support in her darkest hour.
“They sat me down after Mohamed’s death and told me in no uncertain manner that they believed in me,” she said. “That meant a lot to me and that was the reason why I started to aggressively pursue a music career. Mohamed’s family has also been supportive.”
In an attempt to advance her music career, Davis spent several months in New York in 2007 performing with Jamaican reggae musician, Sizzla. Her single, Hush, that featured Sizzla was a hit on New York’s hip hop station, WQHT 97.1 FM (Hot 97) and it was given continuous air rotation in several markets.
She also performed solo on a major stage for the first time at the Hot 97 Summer Jam at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in the summer of 2007.
“That was my coming out party,” said Davis whose songs are inspired by her life experiences. “To sing before thousands of people and be on the same stage with artists like Chris Brown was huge.”
Though submerged in music, Davis said she wants to return to school and pursue studies in criminal law at York University.
“Before I got into singing, I wanted to work with children and then go on to study law,” said Davis, the second of three children, who pursued Child & Youth Worker studies at Centennial College. “I want to have another career option and be qualified.”
She will appear on Saturday night at “The Live and Now Concert Series” show at The Sound Academy, 11 Polson St. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show starts two hours later.