A Samoan artist on the rise

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi ,

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THE CLARENCE FAMILY: (left to right) Sebastian, Sophia, Mom Sophia and Dad Fernando with Naldo in front of Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel where they spent their time in Samoa.

THE CLARENCE FAMILY: (left to right) Sebastian, Sophia, Mom Sophia and Dad Fernando with Naldo in front of Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel where they spent their time in Samoa.

Lyricist, dancer and now rapper Naldo Clarence is taking the stage by storm.  

Having won the top prize at America’s Performing Arts Programme in Orlando and catching the eye of a number of talents agencies, the 15-year-old is definitely a name to remember

On holiday with his family in Samoa, the Samoa Observer caught up with the rising star. Of Samoan and Trinidadian bloodline, Naldo hails from the village of Fugalei.

 He was absolutely ecstatic to be present to witness the amazing talent Samoa has to offer and perform in front of his people at TV1’s Samoa’s Best Dance Crew last Saturday. 

 “They actually impressed me, the competition was really high quality.  I didn’t really expect that. I’ve seen dance routines and it was really good.  They did really well,” he said.

The young star performed his single “When I Get Famous” during the event which had the crowd up on their feet grooving to his creative rhymes.  

 “It was a different crowd.  I couldn’t really see them.  You don’t really see crowd when you perform especially because I had shades and it was dark.  The vibe was good.  When they were cheering, it was really good.”

About the song, he shared with the Samoa Observer the creative process behind it.

“I couldn’t find a subject because usually you find a subject before you write a song.  I was kind of stuck with an instrumental.  

“Then I came up with I’m going to tell the world what I do when I become famous. So then I decided to name the song, “When I Get Famous” and I wrote off that and tell the world what I’m going to do when I get famous.”

Naldo says he pulls his influences from 90’s rappers such as legendary Tupac, Notorious B.I.G as well as underground artists.  

“In terms of rap, I like TuPac.  I know he can get a little explicit but he’s poetic with the way he writes so I just try to follow that into rap.  

“I also like some underground artist like Hobson, he’s another inspiration.  Eminem and Biggie Small, they’re my inspirations.”

And just like the title of his song, the main goal for this young teen is to become famous. 

“In terms of goals, I want the whole world to know my name.  I want to get to that point where everyone wants a photo, you know how like all the superstars are. 

 “I think my main goal is to make steps from here to be famous. I want to go out into the street and everybody knows you, that kind of famous. I want to be known as a lyricist as well.  I want to inspire through rap.”

But being an artist wasn’t always at the top of Naldo’s agenda.  

 “It wasn’t my first route. I started playing sport and dancing was my secondary and just like a hobby. I just naturally turned to dancing. Whenever they started playing music I just danced to it but then I found out sport wasn’t for me and I didn’t know what to go into and then I started writing these diary entries just to express my feelings.  And then I started writing to rhyme. 

“I wasn’t planning to head into a career in dance. It was just that I can dance and when a gig comes up I‘ll dance there.  That’s where I started, I entered Talent Quest as a dancer and then I made it to the grand finals and I did rap because I wanted to give it a go and that’s the first time I ever rapped in front of an audience besides my family which was really cool.   

But I wasn’t really thinking about dancing as my future career but now turning to rap, I think they can go together and that can be my career.”

Still in school, Naldo explains that his life does get a bit hectic at times as he tries to balance schoolwork, writing and dancing.  

However, studying online allows for flexibility.

Now heading back to Australia with his family, his parting words for aspiring artists in Samoa is: “Just practice.”

“That’s all you really have to do.  Practice and perfect your craft and enter everything you can.  

“If you have dance competitions, or anything just enter it.  

“You could want to be a dancer and not practice and then the opportunity comes and you’re not ready. 

“Just practice, practice, practice and then when the opportunity arrives and then you can really show what you have.  Then you can really branch off from there but that’s really all you have to do is practice and be a master at your craft.”  

© Samoa Observer 2016

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