Posted on 12 August 2011.
One of the most unappreciated gifts is that of talent. When it is taken away from you, what you substitute it with, will not give you the same fulfilment. My journey in the music industry has been challenging to say the least. My name is Noban2 and I am the lead vocalist for a band named Passport.
Like many music die-hards, my journey has brought me such joy and pride, and yet as much heartache and pain. When I’m on stage I am strong and confident… It’s about the music and the lyrics as I bellow out a tune with the band in a musical trance.
We live in a society where our families and communities view our forms of expression as hobbies and insist that we redirect our passion to finding a job… any job! Am I rebel for going against the norm… the status quo? Am I a rebel for believing that I can pursue this dream and make a career out of being a vocalist? How many creatives, be it singers, dancers, poets or musicians, can relate?
I was never really interested in becoming a musician. I only ever saw myself as an actress or a teacher. But a jazz, funk, hip hop, soul singer? Nah! That was just not it! When I was younger, I quickly came to the realisation that when I sang, people would pay attention; they listened! My first experience performing on stage in front of an audience was at preschool. I remember that day so clearly. I was in a white frock with heavily padded shoulders and my hair was in pigtails. I had a microphone and singing on top of the backing track of ‘Daddy’ by Ricardo. I didn’t know it then, but I was talented! I loved reading and writing my own stories and that’s where my passion for writing started.
High school is a place where you discover yourself. You try to fit in with the cool kidz but only end up with the bunch that never gets invites to the coolest parties or hang outs. Well, I ended up in something like that. Nevertheless I plucked up enough courage to enter a school talent show in the dramatized poetry category. In the history of Germiston High, I was the first Grade 8 learner to win in that category. It was my small singing group’s victory the following year as the overall winners of the same talent show that made me realise there was something in me that was more than the writing… more than the acting. I had a great talent that I had been taking for granted… my voice.
My family’s move to Vosloorus introduced me to a life where art was respected and embraced. I began singing at jam sessions and I finally felt I had found my place. This was short-lived. My mother was against my new-found passion and this started our sometimes turbulent relationship. She kicked me out of home. All I wanted to do was sing. I stayed at a friend’s house for a while and eventually returned home after she’d asked me to return. Shortly after that, my band let me go because my mother had paid them a visit. I broke down and was depressed for a while. With guilt, my mother took me to a school where I could study music the following year and that brought ease to my soul.
It was difficult moving from a normal school to one where people were free to express themselves. I had to adjust to a new life that thankfully turned me into the Noban2 that I am. I met people with the same dream of becoming successful musicians. In my first year I took part in a cultural exchange program named Umoja Cultural Flying Carpet, which allowed me to travel to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. This opportunity opened up my eyes and I learnt to be appreciative of what I have.
As an ambitious vocalist – yes that is the right term… vocalist, not singer or any other name – I started putting up adverts to market myself, but that didn’t go too well! I once received a meeting request when all I had was just money to get to town! Intrigued and eager for a successful outcome, I also hoped that the person I was meeting would help me out with my taxi fare. His music was dreadful and I could tell that he knew nothing about music. In my disappointment after the meeting, I modestly told him about my taxi fare problem. He said he’d walked from where he stayed and didn’t have any money on him. I had to walk to the taxi rank and wait with the hope of bumping into someone I knew. At some point an old man kindly approached me and offered me taxi money. I couldn’t say accept his offer. Eventually, a friend who lived a short distance from my home came to my rescue. This incident made me I realise that wanting to be a musician and wanting to be a successful performer had its own drama.
On a night out in 2008 I was approached by a guy who was starting a band and needed a vocalist. I went to the first rehearsal with his band with my bass guitar and amplifier. They knew very little about music and were preparing for a show a couple of days later. We came up with the name for the band… and so ‘Passport Featuring the Republik of the Universe’ was born. Since then we have grown, enduring the hardships of life in the music industry and searching for deals and any gig that could make us successful.
I believe that God does not bless you with something you cannot use. There is a purpose to all of life’s experiences. Occasionally I meet someone who will say, “Hey, are not you that girl who sings for the band?” That always humbles me. There is so much to accomplish. I can touch people with just a song.
My wish is to stay on top of my game and make the best of my abilities to inspire those who, like me, have an interest in being great performers and motivators. Keep shining.