Trainee chef writes song to defy his critics

Friends in his native Malawi told Carlos Kalowekamo he would never be a sailor - or if he did that it would put an end to his music career.

Instead, the 40-year-old has proved them wrong on both counts, writing a song to help inspire others – as he completes his chef training in the Royal Navy.

The infectious pop/dance tune Going to the Top – with an accompanying video filmed with shipmates at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint – is his response to the doubters, containing a simple message: follow your dreams.

Carlos came to the UK in 2003 and studied for a foundation degree in musical production, but three years ago changed direction and, as a Commonwealth citizen, volunteered for the Royal Navy as a steward.

The Navy's taken me to lots of places and given me lots of opportunity so I’ve now written a song, Going to the Top, which I hope will inspire other people to pursue their dreams

Able Seaman Carlos Kalowekamo, HMS Raleigh

“I’ve always been interested in the military and music," he said. "I joined the Royal Navy because Malawi is landlocked, so it’s something that we don’t have back home.

"A lot of people tried to discourage me from joining and said I couldn’t do it - they said it would be the end of my music production, but three years in I’m really enjoying it.

"It’s taken me to lots of places and given me lots of opportunity so I’ve now written a song, Going to the Top, which I hope will inspire other people to pursue their dreams.”

Carlos plays the drums and the piano by ear. He set-up a production studio before joining the Royal Navy and as well as recording music himself, he has recorded others and produced music videos to accompany his recordings.

“I can’t read music, but when I hear sounds in my mind, I can put my hands on a piano and play it," he explained. "Music keeps my mind working and I have to be creative always.  It’s in my blood and when I talk about it, I feel complete.”

Since joining the Royal Navy on his 37th birthday Carlos has served on assault ship HMS Albion and the new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

He's now improving his skills at HMS Raleigh to become a member of the new combined catering services branch.

“This training means I can go even further in my Naval career," Carlos added.