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#MusicExchange: Music as healing with Urban van Halen

Urbano B Nobela, also known as Urban van Halen, is a self-taught lead guitarist and vocalist from Soweto.
Image supplied: Urban van Halen
Image supplied: Urban van Halen

He is one of the most in-demand players in SA and plays for both Lira and Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse.

Urban is also a regular contributor to the in house bands for reality TV shows. On Freedom day last week was on stage with Zoe Modiga at the Lyric Theatre.

Come and see this magic player when he performs with Sipho Mabuse at the Daisy Jones bar in Stellenbosch on 15 May from 1pm.

I caught up with Urban in between rehearsals…

Bizcommunity What is your job description?

I am a musician.

Bizcommunity What does music mean to you?

Music means life and joy - it is spiritually a healer to me.

Bizcommunity My music is about…

Connecting people from all over the world.

Bizcommunity What is your motto?

Love what you do and do what you love.

Bizcommunity Fame is about…

Having the opportunity to positively influence and shift people’s mindsets.

Bizcommunity Retirement will happen when…

Only and only when I die.

Bizcommunity I don't do…

Negative energy and arrogant people.

Bizcommunity I would love to co-write with…

Greg Howe and Quincy Jones

Bizcommunity Where do you go for inspiration to create?

Different spaces where there is movement, Soweto and quiet spaces.

Bizcommunity What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

Performing with legends around the world and travelling.

Bizcommunity The song you must do during every show?

Soweto and Tata Hotstix loves the solo I do during Burnout, a blessing indeed.

Bizcommunity Any funny moments on stage?

My string broke during a show and I missed playing a melody - everyone laughed!

Bizcommunity My heroes are…

My dad and all the silent givers.

Bizcommunity My style icon is…

Tom Ford

Bizcommunity Which living person do you admire most and why?

John Mayer, he modernised old guitar playing into new guitar playing.

Bizcommunity What is your most treasured possession?

My guitars.

Bizcommunity It's your round; what are you drinking?

A cold beer.

Bizcommunity Dream gig to do?

Sharing the stage with Greg Howe and George Benson at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Bizcommunity What makes you stand out?

My sound and tone.

Bizcommunity Any nicknames?

Van Halen and Urbie Handcock.

Bizcommunity If you were not a musician, what would you do?

I’d be a doctor healing is my passion.

Bizcommunity Pick five words to describe yourself?

Passionate, fun, enthusiastic, observant and crazy.

Bizcommunity What are you streaming?

Podcast and chill

Bizcommunity Greatest movie ever made?

Apocalypse Now

Bizcommunity What book are you reading?

Act like a lady, think like a man by Steve Harvey

Bizcommunity What song changed your life?

Samba Party by Carlos Santana

Bizcommunity Who do you love?

My wife Nolwazi Ngidi

Bizcommunity What is your favourite word?


Bizcommunity Top of your bucket list?

I want to do the Naked and Afraid show.

Bizcommunity Your greatest achievement?

Sharing the stage with my dad

Bizcommunity What do you complain about most often?

Bad sound at a gig.

Bizcommunity What is your biggest fear?

God almighty

Bizcommunity Happiness is…


Bizcommunity On stage, I tend to…

Smile a lot. I usually don’t do that, but the stage is my happy place

Bizcommunity The best life lesson you have learned?

Inner peace.

Bizcommunity What has been your favourite journey so far?

Joining the Hotband with bra Hotstix.

Bizcommunity Do you do charity work, and if you do – what do you do?

Not yet but I want to give back.

Bizcommunity Wishes and dreams?

To be the best version of myself and have the best relationships with my friends.

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About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

Let's do Biz