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What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Music Icon, R&B Singer Tamia

Kizito Okechukwu

Kizito Okechukwu | July 11, 2023

I have always regarded myself as a great singer, yet many in my high school will definitely dispute that, saying that I switch too easily from tenor to bass and then to soprano. But I knew that I sounded pretty good.

 

I also sang in the school shower – with my naysaying critics having a good giggle at my ‘questionable’ vocal talents. But I remained unperturbed and maybe they were just right but I believed I really made some effort.

Long story short, I needed to really practice to make it as far as many legends that we adore in the industry – and even tried piano in school, but failed dismally. This was a wake-up call and I eventually hung up my singing mic and closed the piano lid for good! Actually, I soon realised I was really only good at soccer and playing the church drums in school…

 

Fast-forward many years, now my daughter is nagging me to get a piano, so maybe she can try achieve what I couldn’t.  Going back to music legends, many of us grew up listening to the likes of Maria Carey, Destiny’s Child, Madonna, Usher, Cisco, Backstreet Boys, Fela Kuti, Westlife – yet people like me will say Tamia. The ‘This time it’s love and Into You track’, with lyrics such as “I think you’re truly something special, just what my dreams are really made of”, was one of the songs we, as young boys, used as soul food for the heart, as we planned to court our favourite female peers.

 

Enough about my singing and early romantic courtships. Today, one cannot but marvel on how 48-year-old Tamia still looks so wonderful and her singing voice hasn’t ever broken a note. I recently attended her concert at Sun Bet Arena in Pretoria and her performance was everything a super-fan like me could wish for.

 

Her staying power is also incredible. Her career started when she signed for Warner Bros 29 years ago and she has remained consistent and unfaltering – and is one of the very few global entertainers to remain scandal-free. Her gospel upbringing flows into everything she does as evidenced by her aura on stage. By choosing Lloyiso who rose to fame from Idols to open the concert for her, also shows how appreciative she is of developing young talent.

 

She is truly something special and epitomises what dreams, passion and persistence are made of. It was one of the best concerts that I have ever attended. Her humility is also something to emulate, like the way she praised her two back-up singers, urging them to become the best they can be – and that they could sing even better than she can. She’s the ultimate living legend and I believe she’s still the queen of Soul and R&B.

 

As someone in the entrepreneurship ecosystem and dedicated to it, I learnt a lot from her. Such as modesty, praising others, encouraging those close to us to never stop dreaming, even acknowledging that people one works with could be smarter, giving opportunity to young talent and the consistency to always give the best – no matter what – will always pay off.

 

To all entrepreneurs I say, borrowing from her lyrics, ‘we are truly something special and we’re just what dreams are made of’. So, let’s keep on showing our light to the world, to our community and never ever stop believing!

 

Kizito Okechukwu is the Executive Head of 22 On Sloane and co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa.

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