As part of the St Andrew’s Healthcare End of Summer festival for patients – a week-long feast of entertainment – we had the pleasure of welcoming Okiem to our Northampton site.
An award-winning pianist and composer, Okiem entertained our patients with a medley of his own compositions and chart hits. Here, Okiem shares his thoughts on the day…
“I loved performing at St Andrew's Healthcare, it was really good fun. In some ways it's quite similar playing at St Andrew's to playing other gigs because I'm still giving my all in the performance, and hoping that the audience connect with it.
“I've been at St Andrew's once before, playing in the Workbridge Coffee Shop, providing some atmosphere. Everyone was engaged and loved the music, and I really enjoyed it, so it was great to return. There's some amazing work going on within the charity and I'm happy to be a part of it, if only for a day.
“It's great to perform in a more intimate venue with a smaller amount of people. It's amazing to see people light up and get into the music, even when it's just in their own small way. I asked people to close their eyes, and they were happy to do that and get into the music, enjoying the session - that's what I love seeing.
“I find music hugely important to wellbeing. It's one of the most universal things. No matter who you are, what your background is, or where you're from, there will be some form of music that you can connect with. Music is a massive part of human life. It may make you happy and give you some escapism, or give you energy, calm you down, or even make you cry, I hope the music that I create provides those range of emotions.
“I felt the sessions I performed at St Andrew’s were important to the audience. We had a short space of time to talk to each other, get to know each other, and experience music together, so when I saw the patients get into it - whether that be singing or another physical sign, it was amazing. That's the biggest buzz for me. In regular gig venues people come expecting a great show, and expecting great music, ready to have a good time, but the audience today had little to no idea what I was going to do. But they came, the music began, the interaction started, and we had a great time.
“The fact that my music has no lyrics makes me believe that it's more universal. I don't need to be able to sing, the audience doesn't need to be able to sing, it's almost like it creates another world for each person, because the music is open to interpretation. Some people may think about family, friends, nature - the music can take you anywhere, and nothing is lost in translation.
“I also played some more well-known songs in my performance, and that's always the common denominator. It's the hook. Everyone can get involved and sing and dance if they want to. My own music is quite inner, it takes you into your inner world. It can be quite intimate, but a pop song gives you the chance to let loose, let the tension go and have a good time.
“I have toured with Tinie Tempah in Australia, Malaysia, around Europe including some UK arenas, and then I had two or three months off, giving me time to make my own album. It was a pure passion project on the side, but it's taken over now and I focus on composing my own music and performing.
“I've played on huge festival stages, performing high energy music in front of 50,000 people, but I prefer what I’m doing now, playing my own music and seeing people enjoy it, including everyone at St Andrew’s Healthcare.”