All his life, Hiram Koopman has been surrounded by music in one way or another. It has been a life-long love story for him with a musical family, and joining his church band at only seven years old. But while it may seem like serendipity, the road was paved with hard work and an unwavering commitment to his passion. For International Youth Skills Day this year, Hiram shared his lessons and advice with young creatives looking to enter the industry.
“I joined the church band when I was seven,” says Hiram. “My dad was the principal alto saxophone player, which I admired so much. At 13, I joined the band’s brass section and became the principal player at age 15.” After completing school, Hiram pursued music full-time. Over the years, he’s had the opportunity to connect and work with many musicians and tap into many different genres. “Eventually, I landed my first solo performance in the Bahamas in 2001 and toured the US for the very first time.”
It wasn’t long until audiences were in rapture, and he went on to win the coveted National Yamaha Young Talent competition in 2005 and 2006. And from there, there’s been no stopping the young performer. “To date, I’ve performed in 34 countries worldwide, spreading love through music.” He also started a music school, which allows the youth in his community to enjoy the wonders of music, despite their difficult circumstances. Having these years of invaluable experience about what it takes to be a musician, Hiram shares his thoughts with young aspiring talents looking to enter the industry.
To break into the industry, one should be open to all kinds of music,” advises Hiram. “And with that, discipline is a major factor in respecting the type of music you’re playing, whether it’s jazz, punk, or rock.” Hiram also believes in other skills, like punctuality and committing to keeping practising. But at the end of the day, no matter what, he says it’s also about the love of what you do. “The most important thing is enjoying and loving what you’re doing. You’ll never work a day if you’ve got that.” This is the key to success for Hiram, no matter what field you’re looking to enter.
Hiram recently shared more about his life as a musician in a video series called #LoveWhatYouDo by South Africa’s oldest workwear brand Sweet-Orr. Here, he shares more insights for creatives and what keeps him inspired to keep moving forward as a musician and creative.