Medicine student

UAMS College of Medicine student shines on ‘The Voice’

Enlarge image

Andrew Igbokidi takes a break from class and sings to pose in front of UAMS.

In early August, as the 22-year-old from Hot Springs prepared to begin medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), he was also in Los Angeles to audition for “The Voice “, NBC’s popular TV chant. competition now in its 22n/a season.

He ended up making it to “The Voice” — with a four-chair bend, no less — and he also ended up making it to class, which began Aug. 8.

A four-chair turn occurs when the four coaches listen to auditions in which they can only hear but not see the candidate’s signal that they want the singer on their team. This is the best result a candidate can ask for in the first blind auditions.

Now, Igbokidi continues to pursue both efforts. On the show that aired on October 18, he won the first singing battle with another contestant to remain in contention for $100,000 and a recording contract. He has registered his participation in the next competition, known as the Three-Way Knockouts, the results of which are expected to be televised the second week of November. Live competitions follow.

Meanwhile, Igbokidi is focusing on his freshman year of medical school, spurred on by a previous job as a certified nursing assistant at a hospital, the “very near loss” of a loved one to COVID-19 in a Nigerian health institution and a fellowship at UAMS. He was one of five recipients of an inaugural Dean’s Scholarship – a full four-year 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 who need it need to be at the forefront of the healthcare system.” .

He said it made him reevaluate his worries about joining a profession that too often alienated his mother, a Hot Springs cardiologist, from the family as he grew up.

“I noticed her absence in certain parts of my life,” like when she was on call and missed her basketball games, Igbokidi said. Although the idea of ​​having to miss family events deterred him from a medical career at first, he said: “I soon realized that if my mother missed important moments in our lives, it was surely for something that she was very passionate about and loved. And I kind of found my way into that passion individually.

“A big hope and one of my dreams as a potential doctor would be to open a few clinics in rural and underserved areas,” Igbokidi said. “The goal would be to help supplement and expand the healthcare system in these areas because so many people are not getting the care they deserve and need.”

Igbokidi outside UAMS

Igbokidi outside UAMS

Asked how he juggles medical school and periodic flights to Los Angeles, he replied that the producers of “The Voice” “are very accommodating. They are extremely nice and flexible, and we have established a schedule .

He said he could also attend many of his classes virtually.

Igbokidi graduated in 2021 from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway 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 Oyidie Igbokidi, MD, and Gregory Igbokidi, owner of 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, her mother was completing her medical residency. A younger sister followed.

Igbokidi said while his mother’s profession played a role in his desire to go to medical school, his interest in music certainly cannot be attributed to his parents.

“There’s not a musical bone in my parents’ body,” he said, shrugging when asked how he and his older brother and sister developed love and talent. for singing. His siblings, meanwhile, are also pursuing medical careers. Her brother has a master’s degree in hospital administration, her older sister is studying to become a nurse practitioner, and her younger sister is in nursing school.

He said he tried out for “The Voice” as “sort of a random thing”, having previously performed for a few months on his father’s cruise ship.

“I’ve always loved music and performing, so I just wanted to try something, and then it went on and it went on,” he said.

When asked what he would do if he won ‘The Voice’, Igbokidi replied, “I wouldn’t know because it’s so, you know. One of my storylines is music versus medicine. I really do not know. I know I don’t want to give up my studies or the work I did to get into medical school, and I don’t want to give up music, so maybe I’ll find a way to do both. ”