99FM – Your Inspiration Station

#TheTribeExclusive featuring Vernon Barnard

Vernon Barnard stepped into the spotlight when he took part in the South African version of the popular TV singing competition, ‘The Voice SA’.

Born with glaucoma – a disease that damages the optic nerve and sometimes causes blindness, Vernon became completely blind at the tender age of six despite being born with relatively good vision. 

But his condition has never stopped him from pursuing all his dreams and this is how he ended up on one of the biggest shows in South Africa. Vernon is the latest international star to step into TheTribeExclusive, talking music, connecting people and living his dream. 

When did you discover that you have a talent for singing?

I always loved music from a young age but I never pursued it. The whole singing in the shower like we all do – I did that.  It’s actually amazing how your passion finds you and at the age of 19 when I was in matric I took part in a talent competition with one of my friends and we were the MC’s, so we wanted to you know to encourage the learner’s so we did a rendition of ‘Lean On Me’ by Bill Withers.

After that, not thinking anything of it, people came up to me and said: “Listen here dude, you actually have something, you should try and develop this”. So that was a good indication for me to know that people actually enjoy my singing.

Tell us about your journey after ‘The Voice’. What doors and opportunities has it opened up for you?

It was wonderful.  I got the exposure I wanted and worked very hard. It’s also been a lot of traveling wherever I can and sharing my passion with people and giving a message of hope and self-worth to others. You know, a lot of the time people put limitations on you and that doesn’t have to be your limitations for yourself, so I just want to put that message out there.

Have you worked on solo projects since leaving ‘The Voice SA’?

I did an album that came out in 2018. It’s about time for a new one I guess. I did some Afrikaans music but also English because I grew up with English music. Obviously, there’s a big Afrikaans market in South Africa but for me, it’s just about bringing people together, so the more languages I can do, the better.

I actually sang at a corporate last year for a client and it was such a fun experience because I had to learn a Zulu song, ‘Akanamali’ by Samthing Soweto. It was so cool to experience that vibe with everyone there and challenging myself.

Music is about bringing people together and that means doing so in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese whatever it might be. I want to learn to do that because the more we can make people feel good and make them feel that there’s something to relate to, the better.

Is this your first time in Namibia?

It is my first time. The fact that it’s raining here is so good because I’m from Cape Town and we’ve been having a hectic heat wave there.

Are you working on any projects here, are you here to tour the country and share your music?

So we did one big gig, which is the main thing that we came to, which was ‘Camp Rock’. I’m doing a lot of media interviews too and partnering up with people for future projects.

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