Not all heroes wear capes; they sometimes wear scrubs and speed walk through the hospital corridors during the day or hold a mic, making someone’s night better with just one song. Eben-ezer Angula fits this description pretty well. He is a 20-year-old student nurse by day and a singer by night known as Vocalfront.
Eben-ezer Angula graciously allowed me to pry into his personal life and was more than excited to answer my questions. Scroll down to see how our low-key hero balances being busy and talented.
“Dreams are valid. Do not be afraid to dream big.”Eben-ezer Angula
Did you always know you wanted to be a singer and what got you into liking opera since it’s your preferred genre to sing?
“Yes, indeed! Music has always been a part of my life . I believe that it’s part of my genes as both my parents loved to sing in their youth and so does my sister. Growing up, I loved listening to opera. The greats like Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti greatly influenced me, as well as Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. I feel that opera and classical music really have something special to them such that they made me feel so many emotions in one sitting.”
What are the misconceptions that people have regarding being a singer in Namibia?
“Well, I think that people think Namibian singers and artists are limited to the kwaito and local genres of music; they don’t really see how much raw talent we have. People also don’t think Namibians dare to tackle genres that are more western, but artists like myself would like to change that.”
How do you balance being a student nurse and a singer?
“Honestly, it is not easy, but music is sort of my coping mechanism. Being able to sing and connect with people on a deeper level is something else, entirely. I just have to sort out my schedule to ensure that I finish my schoolwork and organize my gigs properly.”
What are three things that you have learned while studying to be a nurse and being a performer?
“The three things that I have learned while performing and studying is that firstly, dreams are valid, do not be afraid to dream big. Secondly, do what you love while you still have the time to do it. If you’re studying something, give it your all, however, do not overwork yourself. Thirdly, I have learned to appreciate the gift I’ve been given and I believe that by performing I’m giving back the happiness I feel when I sing.”
Which events would you like to perform at now since you’re getting booked more?
“I honestly would love to perform more at weddings, as well as these Namibian artist events. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Lize Elhers and Café Prestige at their Drag events and I loved the community there. I also would truly love to perform at more corporate events.”
What do you think is the difference between the music scene in Namibia, other countries in Africa and abroad?
“There’s a huge difference. Abroad, they are more developed and have more platforms for performers. They expose performers to a wide range of crowds which in turn truly grow artists. In other African countries like South Africa, they also take music and performers very seriously compared to Namibia. Although our Namibian artists work hard to accomplish their endeavors, our country limits them.”
“This can change if more programs that allow young people to practice music from an early age are introduced. Implement music as a subject from primary school or something.”
What has kept you motivated throughout your journey?
“I believe my dreams play an important role in keeping me motivated. I know what I want and I will work to get it. The fact that more platforms are opening up here in Windhoek to allow more artists to practice their craft also gives me hope. There are events such as Song Night Sessions (which I’ll be doing soon as the next upcoming artist), open mic nights at Vinyls and so forth. I can’t forget my friends and family; they keep supporting all my endeavors and that keeps me moving.”
As a singer, what are the three things you should always have with you, be it a way of thinking or physical objects?
“A singer must own a mic, be able to at least play one instrument and have a passion for music while being confident in their craft.”
I saw that you perform with your friends. How does that work? Have you planned on becoming a band or are you still going solo?
“Yes, I perform with my band (Revolution By The People) sometimes. Our band was formed back In high school, we started as just friends jamming out, but now we do some gigs for places such as Avani hotel and The Wolfshack. I still do my own gigs for my brand, though. I am Vocalfront (which means ‘until now the Lord is with us’ in case anyone is wondering) and I perform as a solo singer for hire, but also a lead vocalist in the band.”
What advice would you give an aspiring singer?
“In all honesty, be passionate about your music. Don’t be too stubborn to refuse constructive criticism. Don’t think you’re always going to be great, seek help vocally. Always try to create your own sound and try to not sound like something you’re not; be true to yourself.”
“Try to not sound like something you’re not; be true to yourself.”Eben-ezer Angula
Nothing is impossible with the right mindset and a proper support system; Eben-ezer greatly epitomizes this. Despite the challenges he is faced with as a male nurse, he doesn’t let them get the better of him. He is currently pursuing his Bachelors Nursing degree and aspires to study medicine in the future. Make sure to check out his performances and take tips with you!