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Former ‘Voice’ contestant echoes music on campus

The Student Activites Board (SAB) hosted singer and former “The Voice” contestant Nelson “Nelly” Emokpae, also known as Nelly’s Echo, at the Pirate’s Cove on March 20.

Through a mixture of covers and original songs, Nelly’s Echo opened up to the audience and cracked a few jokes throughout his performance.

Emokpae explained how much he enjoys coming to Seton Hall as a performer and how practicing his music has shaped his life altogether.


Former “The Voice†contestant Emokpae performed at the Pirate’s Cove and said that pursuing his music dream has shaped his life. Luke Tyler/Staff Photographer

“I love it,” Emokpae said. “Now, I do what I do well.”

Emokpae said he began by picking up a guitar while he was a graduate student in Virginia. After performing at local pubs, he said he gained some recognition that helped him begin to take his talents further.

“I would regret if I didn’t take the chance and explored the world through my music,” he said.

In 2010, Emokpae said he quit his job as a physical therapist and began pursuing music full time. He then auditioned for and was selected for “The Voice” as a contestant.

Since then, he has been performing private shows in casinos and other universities, such as Long Island University and Penn State.

Allison Kroeger, a senior economics and finance major who was the co-chair of the event, discussed what makes Nelly’s Echo so different than the other musicians and entertainers. “He’s really good with the college student crowd,” Kroeger said.

Kroeger also emphasized how easy it was to organize the event. She said since Emokpae usually brings his own equipment, it made it much easier for the event to be set up. Kroeger also described how much of an enlightening experience it was to have him come to campus.

“He’s very charismatic,” Kroeger said. “He’s a really positive energy to bring to campus.”

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Throughout the show, Emokpae picked out someone from the crowd and used his lyrics to make them a part of the show. “I attach the melody to what I see and reflect that back,” Emokpae said.

Emokpae explained that he wasn’t always the most outgoing person. He attributed his time as a physical therapist to helping him open up to people.

He said it ultimately lead him to get rid of any nerves he had before performing a show.

Rachel Szeliga, a sophomore business major, talked about how Nelly’s uniqueness added more to his performance. Szeliga explained that the twist he added to some of her favorite songs encouraged her to listen more to his music and even endorse him.

“I absolutely loved watching him,” Szeliga said. “I will recommend his music to everyone I know.”

Emokpae said he will continue to be an example of pursuing what you love to do, simply because you love it. He added that his experience as a contestant on “The Voice” helped him realize he must continue to pursue his dreams in music.

“If you want to do something, just do it,” he said. “It’s in the act of asking and seeking that you get the weeping and rewards.”

Ronald Castaneda can be reached at


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