North Preston singer, songwriter and performer Keonté Beals says he was a quiet child growing up, with people finding that as weird “because they never know what you’re thinking when you’re quiet.”
“Fast forward to now, and I find that all my differences and the things that people saw as weird are actually what’s inspiring people,” the multi award-winning musician said as he reflected on what motivated him to write his first book, ‘I Am Perfectly Me.‘
Beals and his 10-year-old brother Antonio, who helped in the creative process, announced the release of the self-published children’s book on Feb. 2.
The book, Beals said, “highlights kids from minority families in hopes to empower them and let them know their differences are what makes them unique and special.”
“For me as a kid, I didn’t get to open up a book and see myself, so it was important for me to do exactly that,” Beals said.
He hopes his book will inspire children to be confident in themselves and feel empowered.
“They’ll see like somebody like me can do something like this so you guys can go on and be even better than this.”
Beals said he and his baby brother Antonia started the book in 2018, from planning and writing the storyline to drawing all of the pictures by hand and colouring them digitally.
“It was so much work but it was so worth it. You can do anything you put your mind to, I am a living example of exactly that. Adding being an author to my list.”
He said the book was ready to be released in 2020, but because of COVID-19 he decided to hold it off and this year felt like it was a good time to announce the official release.
“(Antonio) has been waiting a whole year for this to finally touch soil, so he’s pretty excited about it now,” said Beals, who always had a goal to write books and tell stories.
From grade four through six, Beals wrote books all the time and it was one of his “favourite things to do.”
“So it’s always a goal to write books and tell stories. I think the transition came once I started music and it just kind of turned into song writing and that was my version of storytelling,” he said.
Besides music, Beals has other artistic outlets as shown by his production company, KBeals Entertainment, which produces a variety of different forms of entertainment including music, film, fashion and literary arts.
“I’ve always wanted to have other artistic outlets besides just music in itself. So for me, it kind of comes second nature. And like right now is probably the most exciting time in my career because I’m now doing everything I wanted to do since I was six years old.”
The book is directly available for purchase from Beals’ company website, which can be found here.