Ayanam Udoma performs on ITV’s 'The Voice'
Ayanam moved to the UK from Nigeria and joined Stud House at Bede’s in the Lower Sixth in 2007. He studied Business Studies, History and Media and left in summer 2009.
Although Ayanam didn’t study music in school he had always enjoyed singing, and one day Mr Walker (then Housemaster of Stud) heard Ayanam singing in a friend’s bedroom and asked him to perform at an upcoming Elvis-themed, House Music event; he sang some solo parts in Return to Sender in front of the whole school! This was an enormous confidence booster and, despite having no formal training, Ayanam went on to perform at two of Stud's House dinners. By the time he left, he knew that he wanted to do more with his music and do it in front of the world.
Almost 10 years later, his dream came true! Having competed against 15,000 people auditioning for The Voice (a talent show contest on ITV), including getting through three non-televised auditions dating back to February 2018, he was one of only 80 people to be chosen for the televised Blind Auditions aired at the start of 2019. Ayanam sang Wonder Wall by Oasis and was picked by Sir Tom Jones for ‘Team Tom’. Ayanam’s success continued, winning the Battle stage and taking him as far as the Knockouts last month. A huge achievement!
Ayanam remembers Bede’s as a place where everyone (Headmaster, teachers, staff, fellow pupils) wanted everyone to succeed: “The teachers were like older brothers to me,” he says. “They recognised the unique qualities of each individual and worked around you in whichever way you were able to learn.” Ayanam has dyspraxia and learning difficulties and, before Bede’s, had not really enjoyed school but by the second year here he felt very comfortable in his surroundings.
He has very fond memories of his favourite teacher Mr Jones, as well as his tutor Mr Jackson, who were both highly influential in helping Ayanam find his inner confidence. He also fondly remembers his Housemaster, Mr Walker, who encouraged him to chase after his passions – including nominating him for multiple House Poetry competitions. which helped foster his lyric writing abilities. He admits he didn’t fully appreciate just how important his experience at Bede’s was until after he had left.
Ayanam’s final school report was the best he’d ever received in his life. The teachers said more than was needed, recognised personal achievement and growth and saw things in him that he couldn’t see. It even mentions his dream of being on a show like the X Factor. He still goes back to the report now when he needs an uplift.
After Bede’s, other than his amazing performances on The Voice, Ayanam has completed a degree in Consumer Behaviour and Marketing, a Masters in Marketing (both at Reading University), worked in digital marketing and performs several times a week at different open mics in his spare time!
He is focusing on his music right now, making the most of the exposure The Voice has given his talent, and will be starting a Masters in Advertising in September this year.
Huge congratulations to Ayanam for all his achievements and we wish him all the best for his future in music and beyond.