This spotlight is a bit different than our typical posts that focus on an injured musician. We believe it’s important to support all professional musicians, and that rings especially true for those who aren’t able to dedicate their full time and attention to the craft they love so much.
Zoiea Ohizep is an experienced R&B and Jazz musician who has played with some of the best in the industry. He’s been obsessed with music ever since a drum break in a James Brown song grabbed his attention when he was only 5 years old. Ever since that day, he’s been in love with music. He may play the keyboard but he’s truly a percussionist at heart — he describes himself as a “funky pocket drummer who loves all music.”
His personal inspirations include:
Elmo Palamino – “He has always encouraged me to continue with my music and writing.”
Craig Derry and the rest of the Derry family – “They taught me to sing and harmonies.”
Sophia, Beverly, and Beulah James – “They taught me how to overcome my shyness and helped me improve my harmonies.”
One of Zoiea’s biggest musical inspirations is Billy Joe Dowdy, a songwriter for the Sound of Philadelphia in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Although he worked with larger producers and writers at the time, his name was not always captured in all the credits. Zoiea draws on him for inspiration whenever he writes and even inscribes his initials at the top of the page.
Zoiea has played for the past 44 years and shows no sign of stopping. What’s amazing is his unwavering commitment even though he is unable to fully dedicate himself to his music. He’s a full-time surgical technician with a family. On a good week, he can set aside roughly 15 hours for his music which, in his own words, “just isn’t enough.”
The biggest struggle for Zoiea as a part-time musician is not having the money and time to work on his music full-time. Zoiea works a full-time job to support his family and take care of their needs. And when you have responsibilities beyond your own, something has to give.
When asked if he has any advice for other professional musicians with limited time to dedicate to their passion, Zoiea had this to say: “if it is truly your passion, devote as much time as possible to better your craft and push to get yourself visible.”
Zoiea is currently working on a song written and produced by Bob Baldwin, an American musical composer. He’s also the drummer for the band Crown Heights Affair. They have shows scheduled throughout the summer and an upcoming mini-tour through France. You can check out his music here!
As a non-profit, we at the Musician Treatment Foundation are dedicated to the healthcare needs of professional musicians. While we provide surgical and related care at no cost so that they can keep the music playing, we also want to shine a light on those who work so diligently on their craft and deserve recognition for their contributions. We will continue to share both the stories of the musicians that your dollars are directly supporting and those that we have yet to treat but will happily share their music.
If you are a musician in need, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate to our organization, please visit mtfusa.org/donate/.