‘God wants us to serve Him through our talents’
Naga Idol to record album in local dialects of State
In a bid to promote the local Creole of Nagaland, popular singer Z Renbeni Odyuo is planning to record an album in different local dialects of the State. The album will also feature many other popular singers of the State. The winner of Naga Orpheus 2010, formerly known as Naga Idol, Renbeni had released her debut album, Essence, last year.
Influenced by international pop stars like Gwen Stefani and Amy Lee, Renbeni had earlier collaborated with a number of other local and national artistes. But one of the most special moments in her life, she feels, was when she collaborated on an album with Grammy-award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Naga singer Kenei Chalei. “The album is a fusion of Bhatt’s Mohan Veena and traditional Naga folk songs,” she says.
The Naga Idol’s debut album, Essence, falls under the alternative-pop genre with the songs centring around her personal life experiences. The title track, Essence, is also the most popular among all the other tracks, which are all varied from one another. “While I would describe my music as alternative/acoustic/pop, I love to experiment and would not like to restrict myself to a specific genre. All the songs are derived from personal experiences and I hope they allow the listener to connect with me and my thoughts.”
Like many other singers in the region, 23-year old Renbeni had started her singing career performing as part of church choirs and special church services. Besides these social get-togethers, she also performed widely in a number of concerts organized by local students organizations. While Renbeni continues to sing in church gatherings, she feels that her singing career took off only after she won the Naga Orpheus.
“Winning the Naga Orpheus crown was definitely the defining factor of my life. Besides giving me a huge platform to demonstrate my abilities, it has also helped me network with other musicians of the State and enrich myself,” says Renbeni, who was the brand ambassador of the Nagaland State Aids Control Scheme Rockaware competition 2011.
The NSACS RockAware was part of NACO’s Red Ribbon Superstar multimedia campaign and was organized by the Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) under the patronage of Music Task Force (YRS), Govt. of Nagaland. A State-wide band competition with an aim to create awareness about HIV/AIDS, it also provided a platform for local musicians to showcase their talent. As the brand ambassador of Rockaware, Renbeni had toured along with the NSACS team to various parts of the hill State, spreading the message of HIV and AIDS.
“Working with the NSACS (Nagaland State Aids Control Society) has helped me to be more supportive and sensitive towards charity works. One of the major objectives in my life now is to continue with the charity works and spread positive message through my music,” says Renbeni, who hopes to live to the expectations of the people in her role as the Naga Idol.
A God-fearing Chrisitian who is thankful for getting the platform and exposure as a singer, she says, “We need to realize that God wants us to serve Him using our individual talents. I think the key to success is to work really hard and to never give up on your dreams.” The singer is looking forward to more national and international tours in the days ahead.