Young Samoan dancing his way from the bedroom to the world stage

 

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 11 JANUARY 2017: Naldo Clarence is 15 years old and has been dancing around his bedroom for all he could remember, until last month when he danced all the way to the top winning America’s Performing Arts Program in Orlando, beating hundreds of competitors from around the world.

A son of a Samoan mother and former Caribbean football star Fernando Clarence, Naldo was one of a few Australians selected after auditioning for the finals in Orlando, America last month. He also scooped the Top Dance Award and also the Honorary Mention Award for his acting abilities.

“I was nervous because I had not done any acting or rapping before, and I was competing against those who had years of practice,” he told Talamua in Apia where he is on holiday with his parents a brother and sister.

For his performance in Orlando, he  “dubstep dance” his way to the top  in front of managers, and agents of the American Acting Industry who were scouting for new Disneyland  young talents.

Winning the awards has paved the way for Naldo’s future, especially with Hollywood as the next possible platform.

Parents encouragement put son on spot
Naldo’s mother ,Sophia Clarence said she was unaware that such a program existed until she saw an advertisement on TV, and asked his son to try it.

“In Australia, Naldo was always mucking around in the house, and dancing in his bedroom, so when I saw the advertisement, I asked him to go for it.”

His father former Caribbean football star Fernando Clarence supported his wife and together they let Naldo do what he feels good at.

He auditioned with 100 other Australian kids and was selected, said Sofia, so the family packed up and went to Orlando where the big event was happening. Naldo was amongst the best selected from other countries.

According to Sofia, if a competitor did well, he would get “call backs and Naldo got 14 callbacks after he competed.”

“We were really excited because he has never done this before, and since Orlando, Naldo has been getting requests from managers to listen to the song he wrote and recorded called “When I get Famous”.

It’s a rap song with a twist which will be launched in Australia later this month.

“He discovered rapping on the way to auditioning, and the finals in Australia, he decided to rap and dance,” said Sofia.

Six months later, Naldo was in a studio recording his single. He has also written a Christian rap song which he hopes to put the final touches to soon.

He loves it and six months later, went to a studio and recorded the song, and he could be the first Samoan/Caribbean rap artist.

The song was inspired by the thought that what would happen if he became famous.

Asked which he would choose as a long term career, dancing or signing, Naldo said “whichever opens the door  for my performing career.

As a young boy, Naldo still needs approval of his parents when it comes to invitation such as touring with a group.

“It has to fit with our criteria, that is has to be safe and the contents to be appropriate and has to be positive,” said Sophia.

Sophia and Fernando Clarence with children (l-r) Sophia, Sebastian and Naldo, in front of the Sheraton /Aggie Grey’s Bungalow Hotel, Apia, Samoa.

Bright future
As the family is holidaying in Samoa, messages are already coming from interested agents and one of the messages was from an agent wishing to meet with Naldo in Australia.

“We will meet with this agent when we get return to Australia,” said Sophia.

“I want to be in front of the world, and it’s all happening now, I’m excited and still lost for words since Orlando,” said Naldo.

As far as music is concerned Naldo believes that their son has natural talents.

“With the “When I Get Famous Song” I had the beat so I decided to put words into that beat,” said Naldo.

There is also the possibility of fusing Samoan music and Caribbean beats.

“Being part Samoan and part Caribbean won’t alter anything, it’s just who I am and I can use it to my advantage,” said the 15 year old.