Music is the food of love for former CANDI students

Two former music students have found perfect harmony by getting married 17 years after they met at CANDI. Hearts skipped a beat as Steve Mckenzie and Kersha Bailey tied the knot at Muswell Hill Baptist Church surrounded by family and friends on 18 September.

Steve, 35, is a session musician with a background in youth work who founded London Urban Arts Academy last year, while Kersha is a professional singer-songwriter and musician.

Between them they have toured, performed and collaborated with artistes including Emeli Sandé, Sam Smith, Ms Dynamite, Bashy, Naughty Boy, Toddla T and Wretch 32.

The couple studied at CANDI from 2004-06 where Steve, upon seeing his future wife in the first few weeks she started college, told friends “one day she’s going to be my wife”.

They did not date at college, but Kersha admitted being attracted to Steve’s big and bold personality and being quite shy when they would head home from college.

Steve and Kersha went their separate ways for a few months after leaving CANDI until he called and asked her if she would like to audition for his hip hop band Shynenville.

He said: “When we left college we didn’t see each other for a while but then I called Kersha and asked her to join the band. When she came to the first rehearsal of Shynenville she was wearing a headwrap and was looking really good, and I was like wooooo!”

Kersha had recently broken up with her then boyfriend and Steve was already in a relationship, which came to an end before their romance began.

Kersha, 33, said: “Our first dates were in the studio and at rehearsals. I began to feel more and more connected to this guy and that there was something there, but there was also some shyness and we didn’t immediately share how we felt about each other.

“Being in the band singing and doing what I love rekindled the feelings I had for Steve. I thought he was kinda cute. So, we thought let’s do this, take it slow and see where it goes.”

Steve added: “Her voice really impacted me. She had something very special. I felt her voice had a healing quality. It took me to a place of reflection, which gave me warmth and comfort. I felt like I had a duty to help bring out her talent.”

Kersha recalled being attracted to the way the sun made Steve’s black skin look “so golden and rich”, his long eyelashes and big smile, and that his thoughtfulness and selflessness “made him different to other boys”.

She said: “He was a gentleman and always put me first, which was something I was not very familiar with at that time. My experience of boys back then was that they would see their needs as more important. I knew he was going to look after me.”

Steve added: “Kersha used to always wear her hair down over one eye, and one day I asked her to move her hair away from her face and told her she had beautiful eyes. 

“She’s much more confident in who she is now than at college, but she still has those shy moments. She’s still the girl I met at CANDI all those years ago.”      

The couple studied at the college’s Centre for Business, Arts and Technology in Camden Road where Steve got down on one knee and proposed in May.

“I was so happy and elated and full of joy. Then I got emotional and felt I wanted to cry, as I began to think this was actually happening,” said Kersha.

“I never thought he would propose at the college where we first met. It was so thoughtful, and having my family and friends there made it so special.”

The newlyweds celebrated their marriage with a reception at Core Clapton in Hackney and will be spending their honeymoon in Jamaica in December.

Maybe you too could find love on one of our Music courses; click here to find out more and apply.

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