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| November 4, 2022 | First-year medical student Andrew Igbokidi is on his way to a promising career. But whether that career will be medicine or music – or perhaps a combination of the two – is yet to be determined.
In early August, as the 22-year-old from Hot Springs prepared to enter medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), he was also in Los Angeles auditioning for “The Voice,” the popular NBC television program. 22nd competitionth season.
He ended up on “The Voice” — from four chairs, no less — and he also ended up making it to the auditions that started on August 8.
A four-chair turn is when all four coaches listen to an audition during which they can only hear but not see the contestant, signaling that they want the singer on their team. This is the best result a contestant can ask for in their first blind audition.
Igbakidi is now pursuing both efforts. On the show that aired on October 18, he won the first battle against another contestant to stay in contention for $100,000 and a recording contract. He has booked his entry into the next event known as the Three Way Knockouts, the results of which are scheduled to be televised in the second week of November. Live competitions follow.
In the meantime, Igbokidi is focused on his first year of medical school, buoyed by previous work as a registered nurse’s assistant in a hospital, the “very close loss” of a loved one to COVID-19 at a Nigerian medical facility, and a scholarship to UAM. He was one of five recipients of the inaugural Dean’s Scholarship, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship awarded to students who have shown academic promise and met other criteria.
He said the painful loss “made me realize that more people who really care about not only the physical, but also the mental well-being of those in need, need to be at the forefront of the health care system.”
He said it made him reconsider his concerns about joining a profession that too often took his mother, a cardiologist from Hot Springs, away from his family when he was growing up.
“I noticed her absence in some parts of my life,” such as when she was on call and missed his basketball games, Igbakidi said. Although the idea of missing family events initially deterred him from pursuing a career in medicine, he said, “I soon realized that if my mom missed certain important moments in our lives, it had to be about something. which she greatly admired, and which she loved. And I kind of found my way to this passion individually.”
“My great hope and dream as a potential doctor would be to open a few clinics in underserved rural areas,” Igbakidi said. “The goal would be to help complete and develop the health care system in these regions because so many people are not getting the care they deserve and need.”
When asked how he juggles medical school with frequent flights to Los Angeles, he said that the producers of “The Voice” are “very accommodating. They are very nice and flexible and we have worked out a schedule.’
He said he can also attend many of his classes virtually.
Igbakidi graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway in 2021 with a degree in biology after attending Hot Springs Lakeside High School, where he also excelled in basketball.
He is the son of Hot Springs residents Oidi Igbakidi, MD, and Gregory Igbakidi, who owns the Belle of Hot Springs riverboat, which offers dinner and sightseeing cruises. The Nigerian immigrants met in the United States and were living in Chicago when Andrew, their third child, was born. At the time, his mother was finishing her medical residency. The younger sister followed.
Igbakidi said that while his mother’s profession played a role in his desire to go to medical school, his interest in music was definitely not linked to his parents.
“My parents don’t have a musical bone in their bodies,” he said, shrugging when asked how he and his older sibling developed their love and talent for singing. Meanwhile, his siblings are also pursuing medical careers. His brother has a master’s degree in hospital administration, his older sister is studying to become a nurse, and his younger sister is in nursing school.
He said he tried out The Voice as a “casual thing” as he had previously performed for several months on his father’s cruise ship.
“I’ve always loved music and performing and so I just wanted to try something and then it just went on and on,” he said.
Asked what he would do if he won The Voice, Igbakidi said: “I wouldn’t know because it’s a lot, you know. One of my story lines is music versus medicine. I honestly don’t know. I know I don’t want to give up my education or the work I did to get into med school, and I don’t want to give up music, so maybe I’ll find a way to do both. »