Meet Karaoke Kid Princeton Ugoeze Aguocha | Verve Magazine
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June 26, 2016

Meet Karaoke Kid Princeton Ugoeze Aguocha

Text by Simone Louis. Photograph by Tejal Pandey

Embracing his roots with gusto and even having a bit of fun with them along the way, Princeton Aguocha’s star is on the rise

Step into any of Mumbai’s top pubs on a karaoke night and you’ll find yourself mesmerised by a voice that demands adulation, coming from a young man with a larger-than-life personality. Towering over the throng of people, Princeton Ugoeze Aguocha impresses the young and old with unique renditions of popular English hits. This is not the only place where you’ll bear witness to his artistry — the Indian-African performer is making waves on the Internet with an interesting YouTube venture. Going by the name Gangsta Gudiya, a group of music aficionados create parody music videos, each with a positive social message.

“My mum raised me to be a good person and to speak the truth; that’s all one really needs. What continue to matter are the values that you learn and apply.” Spend a day with the 23-year-old and you’ll be amazed at how well rounded he is, and it’s most likely because of his multifaceted childhood. Born in Delhi to a mother who is a native of Mumbai and a father from Nigeria, Princeton spent a while in the West African country before moving back to India with his mother after his parents separated. With regards to racism, he’s learned to either ignore it or face it head-on with the quick wit he’s known for. “Most people here are such great examples of what not to do in public,” he laughs. “But I can deal with it, because it leaves a lot of prank avenues open!”

Whenever the fiery dreamer notices someone ogling him, he listens in to hear the inevitable comment on his appearance. It’s usually in one of the many local languages he knows, allowing him to enjoy their expressions when he responds. “This game taught me that ‘Bob Marley’, ‘Malinga’ and ‘Carlito’ sound the same in any language!”

Having appeared in numerous ads, he has recently been signed on by one of the top modelling agencies in the country. Wise beyond his years, the go-getter quips, “I get to flip between being foreign and local here; it opens up a world of new connections, which is what the world runs on. I just thank the universe for putting me in a setting that I can grow in exponentially — a privilege not many can afford.”

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