TAKE A BOLD STEP AT YOUR PASSION. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE PERFECT

I auditioned for a music contest in 2006. I was then a 200 level student, studying Geology in Delta State University, Abraka. Although I was a Geology student, I spent most of my time in the Music department. I wanted to study music but got a resounding NO from my family.

As regards the musical contest, thirty six musically talented youths were selected and I was privileged to be part of them. I entered the competition as a singer, guitarist and keyboardist.

It was a reality TV show and so the 36 of us were put in a house named FAME LAND. Daily, we were given daunting musical tasks which we had to present to the general public to gain votes.

Then a time came when we were asked to form 6 bands. I went through 4 groupings before I finally settled with the D’accord band. Everyone wanted that female instrumentalist in their line-up. But I had to be in only 1 band.

The game began when I discovered that my band lacked a bassist. We had 3 singers. I didn’t need to sing. Then a drummer, a keyboardist and then I was on the lead guitar.

Whenever I listened to the bass sound coming from other bands, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I had to do something. So I began to think! After a while of serious thinking, an idea came.

I approached a bassist in another band for lessons and he gladly agreed to teach me. It was my first time to take bass lessons. I was nervous. Although I knew the last 4 strings of the lead guitar matched the 4 string bass, I never thought of playing single notes. Besides, the bass guitar was super heavy. My hands went sore every time I carried It, even with a strap.

To cut the long story short, 3 bands were evicted and it was a few days to the finals. I had 3 days to learn a new instrument and practice all the songs we were to present during the finals.

I was overwhelmed! But who would I complain to? I had my eyes on the prize so I didn’t mind doing vigil rehearsals while my band members slept.

On the day of the finals all the bands presented their songs. When I heard the songs of the other bands, I gave up on the winning prize. Votes came in and the winner was announced. I was pleasantly surprised! My band won!

For the next few months, I couldn’t dare to walk on the streets. Hugs from strangers and my name flying all over the place. I was wowed! The love was awesome. Everyone spoke about the girl on low cut who played the bass.

Some mentioned that I inspired them to pick up the guitar. Honestly, I couldn’t understand why because there were better instrumentalists on the show.

Anyway, the winning band was sponsored to perform at the MOBO awards. We were also featured on the Star Trek and Star Mega Jam 2006 shows alongside Naija music stars, Akon and LL Cool J. It was all fame, fortune and fun.

It’s over 10 years now and I am putting materials together to help upcoming musicians achieve the same and even more. So when I tell this story to my clients, I want to clearly bring out strong principles that will help musicians achieve the full potential of their calling.

This is my pick:

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE PERFECT BEFORE YOU TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE TO FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. BE READY TO LEARN AND GROW ON THE JOB.

What other lessons/ principles can you extract from this story?

Meanwhile enjoy my video cover of Redemption Song by the legendary Bob Marley

Author: Laura Etemah

Laura Etemah is a Nigeria/ UK trained an award-winning and full-time Musician, Music Teacher, Author, Vocal Coach and the Director of Lee Vocal Studios and Lee Ellie Music School. As the music woman who loves children and a highly sought-after Music Teacher for children, Laura is also a strong advocate for the music education of the Nigerian child. More so, she has a passion for helping speakers, singers, musical artistes and aspiring vocalists of all styles and abilities, develop the full potential of their voices. The birth of Lee Vocal Studios came through as a result of this. Laura is also an expert in organizing fun and engaging music workshops for children in singing, piano, guitar, violin and recorder. Her multi-instrument playing skills has paved way for her in the music teaching business, making her a force to reckon with in the industry. Laura uses the Nigerian, British and American curriculum in disseminating her music lectures and this is the reason why she is the most patronized music teacher in Nigeria and across West Africa. Laura also teaches music to adults up to the age of 70! Proving to all that anyone can learn music so long as the interest, time and energy are there. The benefits of music are awesome and adults can rewire their brains for higher achievements and rejuvenate the abilities of the brain by taking music lessons. In 2006, Laura won the the Star Quest Music Reality TV Show, with her band – Daccord; and went on a tour with Tu Baba, Tony Tetuilla, P-Square, The Natives and a host of other Nigerian music stars to the UK to perform at the MOBO awards. Her band, Daccord also went for a 10-city tour with a host of Nigerian music stars (Star Trek, 2006) and performed alongside Akon and LL Cool J at the Star Mega Jam, 2006. In 2011, Laura was awarded by the ex-Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) for her successful NYSC music community projects carried out to benefit the secondary school students of the Surulere Community, in Lagos State, Nigeria. One of the projects included the audio and video recording of the popular song – Good People of Nigeria, which is mostly played on the 1st of October to commemorate the independence of Nigeria. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EOIdwOVtrc Watch the video documentary of my NYSC projects here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SncYCkyAOqg Laura is also well known for her bestselling book, Sing Like a Superstar, which has helped many singers, artistes, choristers, musicians, producers and choir directors to discover the true potential of their voices. The book is also accompanied by a downloadable voice training CD that has proved to build the voices of thousands of singers. In 2011, Laura became the first African woman to obtain a Master of Arts in Music Production from Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom. She also holds a first degree in Geology from Delta State University, Abraka –Nigeria; and a number of diplomas in music. Laura has worked in several recording studios, taught and is still teaching music privately and in many nursery, primary and secondary schools. Laura is also very much in the business of training groups of singers and choristers. Laura is currently based in Lagos-Nigeria, teaching music production, instrument and singing classes.

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