R. Kelly’s daughter, Joann Kelly, believes her music career has struggled as her father has become increasingly embroiled in public controversy. The 24-year-old singer goes by the stage name Buku Abi, but the moniker has done little to shield her from the scrutiny of the disgraced singer.

For over a decade, the aspiring artist has been trying to secure a record deal to no avail. She claims that when things finally seem to be going in her favor, she ends up back at square one. While speaking with radio personality Ryan Cameron, the singer said her father’s tarnished image has cost her major career opportunities. When asked directly if she had been turned down because of the familial association, she said, “Absolutely, simply based off of my last name.”

With her mother, Andrea Kelly, by her side, Joann continued to explain how deep her love for music goes. “I think for me, especially for people who don’t know, like, music is my first passion. Like, I love music. I’m a singer, songwriter, I, like, I love music.”

The “Swift” artist further shared that she began songwriting at the age of 13, and for the past 11 years, she has been trying to step out of R. Kelly’s shadow. “I have been trying to get into the music business. Trying to get into the industry and all those years, it’s either been, ‘You’re getting it because of who your dad is’ or ‘You’re not gettin’ it because of who your dad is.’ I’ve been this close to a record deal, and when they found out who I was, it got swiped away,” she explained.

In June 2022, R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Last year, he was convicted of multiple charges, including sexual exploitation of a child, racketeering, bribery, and sex trafficking. R. Kelly, 50, is currently on trial in Chicago.