Article By Tyra Wright // EEW Magazine Gospel News
One of Capitol Records’ newest signees, Queen Naija, an urban singer and YouTube star, has been accused of stealing the melody and music of one of Gospel’s most respected artists.
When the 22-year-old released her newest single, “Karma,” some folks noted that it sounded just like Pastor John P. Kee’s 2012 mega hit “Life & Favor (You Don't Know My Story).”
His song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs charts and went on to spend 52 weeks on the charts. The discovery of the songs’ similarities was first made by a YouTube pair that goes by the name “TnK SQUAD.”
EEW Magazine editors reached out to Capitol Records for a statement regarding the matter, but a representative did not immediately respond for comment.
When Kee, an eight-time GRAMMY® nominee and multiple Stellar Award-winner heard “Karma,” the 56-year-old noted that the key and tempo are, in fact, the same as “Life & Favor.” Some of Queen’s fans began attacking Kee for weighing in.
Those that do not know Kee is considered legendary among Gospel fans. were disrespectful, dismissing him as a “hater,” insulting him, and accusing him of going after the young breakout singer.
“Never would I try to shame a young artist! But be advised I’m not just an old Gospel artist! I’m a business man,” he replied. “I’ve been a publisher for over 35 years. This is bigger than her. Staff, producers, management, agents, etc. should have handled this properly out the gate!”
In a Twitter rebuttal, Queen denied stealing Kee’s song, but did not deny that the two sound similar.
“First of all, while I was writing ‘Karma’... that gospel song was nowhere in my mind. Y’all act like people can’t think of the same melodies, and trust me that melody ain’t nothing crazy. People will take anything and run with it,” she wrote.
Though Kee is clearly not thrilled about the situation, the longtime hit-maker, who said he had not heard of the Detroit native before this controversy, has been gracious. He publicly stated that he has “nothing but love for Queen,” who grew up singing in the church and shares her Christian faith openly.
Though there has been no official confirmation of plans to sue for infringement, Kee did tweet that his “amazing legal staff” met up and “came in the office on an off day.”
He added, “I've been in this business for close to 40 years. They've always had my back! We're winning. Great things ahead...”
The graphic he posted with the tweet showed his team and the title of his song written in bold print, “Life & Favor (You Don’t Know My Story).”
This saga may not be over.
Queen found YouTube success with her former husband, Chris Sails, before the couple split last year due to his infidelity. The scorned ex-wife wrote a song about the heartbreak titled “Medicine” and released it on her YouTube channel to instant success.
“Medicine” debuted at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100, has been streamed on Spotify more than 13 million times and the official video has exceeded 40 million views.
Listen to the hook of "Karma" starting at :47 seconds and compare it to the hook of "Life & Favor."