Even if you’re not a devoted listener of jazz tunes, you’d most likely recognize jazz vocalist Sharon van Rooi’s voice upon hearing it.
Sharon possesses a warm and flexible tone, which compliments her well in her spontaneous choices of contemporary and jazz music.
She has been a main feature at corporate gigs and events, but has for some time now been absent from the music scene. New Era Weekend spoke to Sharon on where she has been and what she has been working on. She says she is working on a new album.
“I am currently studying, lecturing at College of the Arts, in the Modern Music department, teaching vocal training. I started this year,” she says.
She has also ventured into business while studying and says: “I have being doing corporate gigs, which is good and reliable. I am not commercial out there, because of my studies and I had to minimise to focus on my family as well,” she said.
She said being married, having children and building a family is hectic, but worth every minute, because she plans on building a strong foundation for her children and to teach them the importance of family.
“I have two kids, my daughter’s name is Zoey and my son is Yannik. Most of the time if I am not studying or working then I am with my family. Marriage life is amazing. Family plays an important role in my life.
“I come from a family of six, so I have grown up with the ethic of having a big family support system and that’s something I want to pass on to my kids as well. To be family-oriented and loving,” Sharon acknowledged thankfully.
Asked whether she has abandoned her music career for good, Sharon was quick to say music is her passion and she will attend to it soon, but with a major change in genre.
“[By the] end of next year I hope to complete my album that I’ve been working on for so long. I will be doing gospel and jazz for the love of it. I have come to a point in my life where I need a certain change. I grew up in a religious family and God is calling and it’s time for that change,” she says.
Sharon also commented on the current state of jazz and live music in Namibia, saying that it is developing and that there is a market for jazz and live music shows. Her biggest worry, though, is whether enough is being ploughed back into the industry in form of grooming new talent.
That is largely the reason she chose to teach music. She feels there is a great need to groom and teach young people who aspire to be tomorrow’s musicians.
“I feel everybody deserves a chance but there is a certain time for everything. Once you have developed and groomed potential musicians, give them the stage. I wish we had more jazz artists, because our community is misguided on what jazz is about,” she says.
“I have also always had a touch for live music, because there is a feel and emotion that you share that cannot be compared,” she said.
She points out though that in Namibia a musical career can barely sustain a person. And musicians always have to have additional source of income to sustain themselves.
“What people don’t understand about being a musician is that it’s a lot of hard work. Commitment, discipline, drive and passion should be a part of you. It must be a lifestyle,” said Sharon, advising aspiring musicians to follow their dreams and to never give up.
Sharon hopes to complete her studies and drop her long-awaited album, ‘Take Me Away’ next year.