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Rising Stars: Meet Namakula

Today we’d like to introduce you to Namakula.

Hi Namakula, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Hi, Voyage Tampa! I guess I’ll start by saying that my story, my journey,  has been completely authentic and unforeseen.  I always had an overall vision, but no concretew “plan” as to the “how”. I attribute much of my free spirit and confidence to being a 1st generation American, born to strong Jamaican and Ugandan parents who created a dignified, safe, abundant and loving home for my sisters and me. I was an odd, fanciful child who had big (lucid) dreams and artistic aspirations in many areas. And, who truly believed anything was possible. This led me to NYU”s Tisch School of the Arts.

But, after college, I was offered an editor apprenticeship. This led to a 10+ year detour from acting, to (happily) work in advertising as a commercial video editor, creating campaigns with top ad agencies, creatives, and directors on low to mid range to multi-million dollar accounts. I went on to help launch the UK based award winning, editing house, Final Cut’s first US office, in Chelsea, NYC. For years my home base had been NYC while working as an editor throughout the USA, the UK, and Spain.  I eventually left my “stable” editing career to pursue my fervent childhood dreams of being a creator /performer/musician/Super Hero.

I went on to book roles in theatre, TV, filmscommercials and VO. In addition to penning scripts, original characters, web series, digital content (see photos: “Kate & Kula”“Ariel Tech Blerd”) of my own. While also producing projects for fellow talents. Much of my work has been dark comedy, with the goal being to make people laugh, reflect, critically think, and uplift.

And during these years, I’d spent a lot of time in Tampa, visiting my sister and exploring creative opportunities. Cosmically, the first O/C principal commercial role I was cast in, was for a Publix Supermarket spot–shot right here in Tampa! I had always been hoping to somehow make a go of it here, while still maintaining my artist life. I loved experiencing the creative community here and seeing the emphasis on “live life” instead of “live to work”.

In recent years, the concept of working remotely has become a viable reality. I’ve taken this opportunity to make Tampa a significant home base for myself, now that it’s truly possible to be anywhere in the world and still pursue one’s passions. I’m thankful that I have people that love and support me and that I’ve been blessed with a robust and exciting life and career path, so far!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road hasn’t always been a smooth one–but it’s never been dull! Honestly, at times it’s been downright treacherous and heartbreaking. Keeping one’s morale up and staying present and positive, while dealing with the ups and downs of this profession, has had it’s challenges.

When rejection and uncertainty are a regular part of one’s life passion, it can really test one’s faith. The journey can be a lonely one, fraught with struggle. But it also has it’s many rewards. Living the “artist life” and often jumping into the unknown and moving forward with blind faith and determination, has been exciting, terrifying and self affirming.

Looking back on some of those experiences that felt punishing at the time, were actually sheer blessings, protections, and lessons that have not only armed and fortified me for the next challenges, but have enriched my life and character and have helped me maintain my humility, faith, and joy. I have to say, all the things that I thought were going to happen, in the way I’d envisioned, didn’t necessarily. And I wouldn’t wish it any other way!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’d say, one of the things I’m most proud of is never being afraid to challenge myself and possibly “fail”.

Whether it be exploring a foreign country, delving into unchartered waters as an editor, embracing a different way of thinking for a role or coming up with fresh perspectives for scripts and characters I’ve written, or stories I’ve narrated–I don’t shy away from pushing myself and getting out of my comfort zone.

During my days in Barcelona, as an actor and video editor, I’d interviewed with the EP at a prominent editorial house there. The entire time, he spoke to me in Catalan… I don’t speak Catalan. But being able to rely on my instincts, while leaning into my Spanish language skills, I was able to get through it. That was a great victory! When you say “yes” to the unknown, no matter what the outcome, the fact that you’ve tried–you can never “fail”. 

In recent years, I was invited to join a band of pro musicians who were looking for a bass player. I’d played electric guitar as a kid–but never the bass. Within months, I’d learned to perform songs on the bass, as my alter ego: “Nasejje Bass”. And I was not only playing live gigs in cool NYC and Bklyn spots, (a childhood dream) but I was also composing original bass lines and entire songs.

My inner voice mantra to MYSELF and to EVERYONE is: ”YOU CAN DO IT!”

What do you like and dislike about the city?
What I like about Tampa: The warm, sunny weather, the palm trees, the boating culture, seeing cranes and chickens walking about residential streets, Ybor City, Riverside Heights, Bayshore Boulevard, the Tiki culture, the open vibe, and happy people.

The dislikes: The humidity. The lack of multicultural integration amongst people in the city–(but I think/hope it’s slowly changing). And the price hikes–it’s like living in NYC sometimes. Outrageous!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
David Noles, David Griffiths, Kamran Khan, Ryan Nach | Knock It Out Music

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