Nº21: EGO




NEW YORK-— Filled with talented individuals. Many of them sharing their gifts with us through passing.. Using the streets as their own personal concert hall putting on a show for anyone who takes a moment to stop and appreciate their skill. We had the pleasure to get familiar with one trumpeter at Grand central station, whose name is  Eganam Segbefia, goes by Ego for short. A stylish, charismatic and humble character. We listened to Ego play a few songs, including a favorite to the frequent travelers at Grand central “Fight OF the Bumblebee”. As so many people stopped by to listen and paid respects with claps of appreciation and by dropping money in his bag. From first glance, I  admired the T-shirt he was wearing, with the words FEAR KILLS DREAMS, a motto that firmly fits his brand, that he has worked so hard to perfect.  

In order to do that in the best of your abilities, your mind has to be centered, and you have to love what you’re doing.

It takes great courage and confidence for anyone to perform In front of hundreds of folks, especially in a crowded train station like Grand Central, a place he mentioned that the crowd is very hard to please.  Very difficult to believe that it was once a very humiliating thing for the young trumpeter to do, he spoke on it saying “ It took time for me to get to this, at first i was horrible, missing notes and stuff.” “People use to walk pass with their heads down, because i did not sound good at all”  “ after putting the time in, just three years later i was able to perfect my craft, people now listen to me, their heads turn and to me it makes me know that my music has reached them.” “it got to people’s hearts. Does not matter if the notes are fast or slow if it's an emotional piece or not, it caters to the heart. And in order to do that in the best of your abilities, your mind has to be centered,  and you have to love what you’re doing. I was able to develop that passion at a higher level when i started playing at the subways.” 

Ego’s love for the trumpet and music began as a place of comfort, and to find the confidence he now acquires. At the age of 5yrs old, his parents migrated to America from Ghana. He explains to me that he was born in Nigeria, however, he was raised in Ghana, as his parents are from Ghana. Coming to America was a culture shock for 5yr old Ego, with a strong accent and the fact he’s  African, made him a true target to get teased by his peers. This led to him losing confidence in speaking aloud in class, he figured it was the right thing to keep to himself so he can avoid being teased. That eventually raised questions to his teachers, thinking that he may have had some learning disabilities, which he later proved that they were wrong, through his remarkable scores on his advanced placement test. He later got introduced to music in the 5th grade ,through his music class,  once he realized in order to play the Instrument, he would only have to blow in the horn and not have to utter a word. The trumpet became his escape and comfort zone not just from his horrific experiences in the classroom but from a now crowded household with 9 siblings. Moving from a two-story house in Ghana to a 2 bedroom apartment, Ego mentioned that he no longer had a place to keep to himself, at home. With his music class, he had an escape to field trips to other states, being able to compete with other bands and being with friends helped with his ambitions and increased the love of his music, which he took joy in. 



With his dad being an entrepreneur from Ghana, that helped and pushed Ego to know that he would want something for himself. His parents always stood behind him and encouraged him to study what he loves. Work hard, and make your way through school, where they would not have to spend a dime. Ego and his siblings did exactly that, being established in their own rights. Ego remembers his hard knocks, being that he took 7 years to finish his 4-year undergrad program, having to hear his mom ask him everyday when will he finish school, questions that started to daunt him every day. He began playing at the subways from that time up until now. With a super determined mindset and a really strict schedule, he has made a way for himself to be great at what he does. He is now part of the United Nations Orchestra,  studying at MSM ( Manhattan School of music) where he will soon receive his masters. 

The years that he's been playing at the train station, lead to many opportunities, playing at holiday dinners, birthday parties and a fashion runway,  held by the CAAFD, to him one of his top greatest performances, he calls it from “subways to runways”. Ego is working on his album and very excited to be able to share it with the world.



seanella abraham