“Eric Obuh also known as Vocal Slender or Slender (born 1 December 1982 in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria) is an Afropop/reggae artist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He was featured on Part 1 of the BBC documentary “Welcome to Lagos” aired on BBC 2.
They call me Slender, Vocal Slender, that’s my music name. Because I’m very lean in the face, and because I’m always singing.—Vocal Slender, Myspace.
The documentary features Eric as a scavenger who works and lives in a dumpsite on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria. He makes a living by collecting recyclable materials and selling them.
He then saves his earnings to enable him to buy studio time to produce a music album. Although Eric acknowledges that the dump has been good to him because it helps him keep body and soul together and make music, he has kept the fact that he is a scavenger from his family and friends, as he wants them to believe that the only thing he does is music to gain their respect
Since appearing in the documentary, his popularity has grown, with fans setting up a support group for him on Facebook and other websites. He has been featured in articles about Welcome to Lagos in
The Observer, The Independent, and in London Metro.”
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Vocal Slender grew up in a neighbourhood called Ajegunle – Lagos State, Nigeria. A city known to harbour the poor and less privileged in the society; it is a place where most of the inhabitants are faced with a very low standard of living, little or no access to education, poor health conditions.
Life itself wasn’t fair to him as he was abandoned by his mother at a very tender age while his father was very poor and couldn’t give them even the cheapest parental care, as a result of that he needed to go all out to fend for himself first and subsequently carve his destiny.
He delved into farming at seven years old on a fallow land when all the older boys in Ajegunle who were role models to so many kids made their daily bread as bus conductors and scavengers.
The dump and bus stops were usual hangouts for some kids like vocal slender while they admired the bus conductors and scavengers because they made money to take care of themselves. They were the set of people who wore fancy clothes and also feared because of their fighting prowess and rascality.
Unfortunately, he was chased out of the land he used for farming so his easiest option was to exploit the dump as he chose street scavenging before moving to Ojota dump site.
The dump was a place where different people came to do different things even the whites came for video recordings, pictures and sometimes scoop liquids from decayed refuse which none of the scavengers knew what it was used for.
Vocal Slender was one of them but what made him distinct was his penchant for reading great books like Flute of God, Classic Greeks and the Bible which were the things that made him not subscribe to crime, coupled with his Music, Ambition and Resilience. Despite his poor background and his dirty living condition, he had dreams and high taste which had made him save the money he made from scavenging for three months to pay for a section in a state of the art studio at Egbeda in Lagos.
There in the dump, most times when they are less busy, vocal slender would engage a crowd of like 200 scavengers. They thrilled the crowd some made beats with bottles and sticks while they responded to the amazement of the white men who had been watching him secretly.
After his sterling performance one afternoon the white men met him and asked him if he was a professional artist or if he recorded songs and he was in the affirmative. Then they begged him to future in their documentary. After a month of rejecting their proposal, he finally gave in. That was how Vocal Slender featured in BBC: Welcome to Lagos Documentary which won the zeal to succeed award and British Documentary Award (BAFTA).
He uses his music to touch lives all over the World and won the Google African Connect Success Story in Nairobi – Kenya in 2014.
Vocal slender has won so many awards like Life Changers Award, over 40 interviews on Radio and TV including BBC International Live Broadcast on the landslide in Adis Ababa – Ethiopia in 2017 and his song was used as a Sound Track in an International Film called HOMELAND.
As a Ghetto Youth Ambassador and a Role Model in the society; he runs an NGO called Ghetto Love Foundation which he has used to inspire the people in the society as a Charity Organization. The NGO organises “Back to School Program” with a philosophy of giving School/Studying Materials to children and Skill Acquisition Program for Women in Ajegunle – Lagos State.
He is also the Founder and Organizer of Christmas in Ajegunle an event that provides food items for Families in Ajegunle during the Christmas period.
He is also one of the FounderS and Coordinator of Ajegunle Music Festival; an event to inspire the Youths in Ajegunle, Lagos State – Nigeria.
Vocal Slender: BBC Documentary
(Thank you Honorable Ebenezer Fowomo)
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