| Life and music of the vanished singer of Strange World

ke strange world
Do you remember Ké? In the mid-90s he became the most broadcast artist in Europe thanks to his song ‘Strange World‘, as well as the muse of Dolce & Gabbana. After all the success, he vanished. Who was Ké? What happened to him? What is the meaning of ‘Strange World’?
CATEGORY | Artists
AUTHOR |JC Trembol

Reading Time | 6 min

Listening Time | 15 min

Trembol Card

  • 🗿 Name: Ké’s real name is Kevin Grivois.
  • 🎂 Country: Ké was born in New York, United States of America. The exact date of his birth has never been made public, although it was around 1979.
  • 👫 Genres: Pop.
  • ✍🏽 Logo:
Ké artist
  • 💿 Discography: Ké released 3 albums: I Am, Shiny and Better Way of Living.
  • 🔗 Soundcloud page: Ké Soundcloud
  • 🗣 Social Media: Facebook

There’s always a second chance. There has to be. Sometimes your purpose is to remind people, ‘Don’t give up.’

My life has taken so many different twists. I might just end up being a jazz singer in Beijing.

ke biography
Ké Facebook Image
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 | Biography and Music

Ké, pronounced “kay”, is the stage name of American singer Kevin Grivois.

Ké first came to prominence with his 1995 debut album, ‘I Am‘, which included his biggest and only hit, ‘Strange World. Although he released 2 more albums, ‘Shiny‘ and ‘Better Way Of Living‘, both had little impact and Ké disappeared from the music scene.

Although he still sings in a small band, he lives in the countryside and devotes a lot of effort to animal welfare issues 🐶

Chapter 1 | From Cherokee reserve to model

ké model
Kevin Grivois, Ké (Facebook Image)
Kevin Grivois (Ké), born in New York, USA in the 1970s to a Cherokee Indian mother and French father, would have a musical style influenced by that strong mix of roots.

  • His father and mother divorced when he was a child, and he moved with his mother to his grandparents’ home on the Cherokee Indian reservation in Oklahoma.
  • He spent his days riding horses 🐎 playing with rocks and water.

When he turned 7, his music teacher saw a special talent in him. He persuaded Kevin to join several children’s choirs, one of which even took him on tour all over the world.

  • Kevin was still too young to realise how big this was, so he took it as a game.
Tired of what he called the repressive mentality of Middle America, as a teenager he moved to London 💂 living in a government-subsidised home for teenagers and ex-drug addicts.

Thanks to his androgynous appearance, slim and with pronounced features, he would begin a career as a model. It would eventually become a steady job, which he would combine with music.

ké story
Ké (Facebook Image)
One day while playing in a north London tube station 🚇 he was spotted by Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart.

  • He was smitten with Kevin’s voice, so he invited him to perform the song he had written for the end credits of the film ‘The Ref‘, called ‘Broken Circles‘.

Broken Circles

Chapter 2 | Following Madonna’s advice

Kevin returned to the United States from time to time to visit his family on the reservation. On one such occasion he met a photographer, who fell in love with Kevin and offered him a modelling job in Los Angeles.

  • Kevin moved in with her soon after, and they became close friends, but just friends because Ké was gay.
  • The photographer was well known and had many friends in the entertainment industry, so she introduced Ké to some of them. They soon recognised his talent and encouraged him to pursue a recording career 📀

Ké used to record himself a cappella, doing the rhythm tracks with his voice and then singing over it. People liked it a lot, because it was different. That’s how Ké built up a catalogue of songs, becoming a songwriter.

Ké beginnings
Ké (Facebook Image)
ké songs
Ké (Facebook Image)
At that time he met Madonna and Sheryl Crow, who gave him advice on how to get started in music.

  • He was also introduced to the president of Sire Records, who recommended that he go for Jazz and R&B.
  • Kevin had a lot of self-confidence and didn’t want to go in that direction, in fact, he still wasn’t sure which direction to go in.
  • He kept getting offers from major labels. He finally decided to go with RCA.

Ké counted:

The nightmare started after I had made a decision. I just unfortunately went for the largest machine available, instead of understanding that sometimes the smaller one works better.

The label fired half of the company, changed direction by focusing on artists who were making music that was very much geared towards the Caucasian American audience.

  • For Kevin, they decided that the first thing to do was to change his stage name to Ké

Where does the name Ké come from?

Ké is simply an abbreviation of his name, Kevin. Some members of his label didn’t like it because they thought it sounded too gay 🌈

Despite the fact that Ké’s lyrics were genderless, the record label pigeonholed him as a homosexual artist and pressured him to sing dance music.

  • A few years later, George Michael and Elton John would go public with their homosexuality and become more accepted by the general public, but in the early 1990s, a singer with an almost feminine voice like Ké was too much for the US label bosses.


Chapter 3 | Success comes for Ké with ‘Strange World’.

refused to sing Dance at all and managed to release a record of his own called ‘I Amin 1995.

  • His label, RCA, only released it in New York and Los Angeles, not in the rest of the US.
  • Kevin decided to go and promote it internally to the RCA subsidiaries in Europe. They loved it and decided to release the album in several European markets.
  • Ké put up his own money to hire a band and went with them on an extensive promotional tour of Europe, where his androgynous voice and almost feline stage presence charmed the audience 😼
ke i am
Ké ‘I Am‘ cover

Strange Wolrld

The single ‘Strange World‘ was played continuously on Spanish, German and Italian radio stations, selling more than 3 million copies.

Strange World is a song against war, or in other words, an anthem for peace ☮️ as the lyrics say:

Strange world people talk and tell only lies

Strange world people kill an eye for an eye

Strange world dream one-day we’ll see the light

Strange world believe and everything will be alright

With success and credentials under his belt, Ké returned to the American branch of the label, but they decided not to go with Ké, releasing only a dance remix of ‘Strange World’ by Junior Vazquez.

  • The remix reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Dance and Club Play Charts in 1996.

Ké’s modelling career also continued, so much so that in the mid-1990s, he would become Dolce & Gabbana’s muse.

  • He would also earn the title of ‘Uomo Vogue (Vogue Man)’ 👨‍🦰
ké model
Ké modeling (Facebook Image)

Chapter 4 | The disappearance of Ké

Ké discovered what the world of fame was like, and was very disillusioned by the falsehood it concealed.

Despite the bad taste in his mouth, his first album had been a hit in Europe, with ‘Strange World’ being the most requested song on the radio in the UK, Germany and Italy in 1996, so in 1998 he released his second album, ‘Shiny‘.

  • The album included songs such as ‘Can you hear me‘ and ‘Ave Maria‘, the main singles being: ‘You don’t know me‘, ‘Sounds of Silence‘ and ‘Believer‘.

You Don’t Know Me

Once again the record company didn’t bet big on the album and Kevin had to pay for the music video himself.

  • The sales results were poor and RCA (the label) ended up firing him 😞

Three years later, in 2001, a part of a small label called Schizo Music, he managed to release his third album, ‘Better way of living, with the single of the same title in a duet with Macy Gray.

  • Other notable songs on the album include: ‘Believe Me’, ‘You Walked Away’, ‘Dancing With the Moon’ and a cover of ‘Aht Uh Mi Hed’ by Shuggie Otis.
  • The album had no success and disappeared almost as quickly as Ké from the music scene.

Ké ft. Macy Gray Better Way Of Living

Ké turns down Coca-Cola

A few years after leaving music, Coca-Cola offered Ké to use ‘Strange World’ in a promotional campaign, but he turned it down in order not to lose the essence of the song, the fight against war and for human rights.

strange world meaning
Ké ‘Strange World’ cover

Chapter 5 | Where is Ké now?

Time and friends encouraged him to pursue music, albeit as a free agent and for small audiences. He did so, releasing a remastered version of ‘Strange World’ in 2008 and starting to collaborate with artists from all over the world:

  • He supports Italian artists to enter the American market.
  • He produces Chinese artists such as High Team and Miriam Yeung.

He also gives his own concerts filling small venues, as well as continuing to compose songs such as ‘Reason 4 Being Alive‘, inspired by PJ Harvey and the transsexual and transvestite community, or ‘Requiem for a fool‘.

With the explosion of streaming platforms, many people discovered Ké, generating a new audience for him and with it, new income 🤑, as Kevin retained all rights to his music.

  • As a result, he released a streaming-only compilation called ‘Best of Ké‘, the proceeds of which he donated entirely to animal rights organisations, something he himself fervently supports.
where is ké?
Ké at present (Facebook Image)

Matmata ft. Ké Strano Mondo (Strange World)

In 2013 joined an Italian band called Casa de Mirto to create the Polaris project, with whom he plays electronic music in small clubs in Los Angeles.

Despite the disappointments, Kevin Grivois, after 15 years out of the spotlight, still has projects for the future and as he says:

There’s always a second chance

In 2015 was introduced to an Italian band called Matmata, with whom he began writing songs and with whom he would cover ‘Strange World’ to celebrate the song’s 20th anniversary.

Ké at present

Kevin Grivois (Ké) lives in Florida, surrounded by palm trees, waterfalls and above all animals, which he adores. He likes to get up early (6 a.m. 🔅), walk, feed his pack of dogs and then spend the day painting, writing poetry and, of course, composing music.

what happened to Ké?
Ké at present (Facebook Image)
Ké one hit wonder
Ké (Facebook Image)

Ké is the stereotypical One Hit Wonder artist for the huge Strange World, although he now enjoys music more out of the limelight, being true to his ideals and his art.

ke strange world
ke strange world

Tell us, did you like Ké? 🙂

1 Comment
  1. Linzer Pope

    A great inspiration with a good sense of values great guy!


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