Hodan is a Somali-Canadian inspirational singer-songwriter and recording artist. She is single mother of four, and her eldest child recently graduated from university. Her uplifting music is fun and includes powerful positive lyrics, but it is her journey that is most intriguing. Her story is about second chances, reviving childhood dreams and fighting for the right to define her happiness. Hodan has had to find a way to reconcile her passion and identity in an environment that constantly forced her to separate the two.
Inevitably, it was the emotional impact that the breakdown of her marriage had on her that forced her to rethink everything. She describes it as being stranded amidst a dark raging ocean of anger, all the while struggling not to drown. She had to stay afloat, be strong and present for her children, which was not easy. She wondered what path her life would take.
In the summer of 2009, like much of the world, Hodan was glued to the televised memorial of Michael Jackson. Listening to John Mayer’s guitar tribute as he played ‘Human Nature’ broke a 16 year long musical sabbatical. The beautiful melody danced in her ears, making her realize just how much she missed music. She has always wanted to sing but her family felt it to be an unsuitable career. Now, she wanted to be brave and follow her dream.
Pushing forward, she went to an ‘open mike’ session. Hodan made the decision to separate her identity as a singer so as to not ‘shame’ her faith. Removing her veil in the car for the first time in public, she felt naked, both literally and figuratively, her audience unaware of the tremendous courage it took for her to be there. Now, at the centre of the stage with her mouth open, she found herself unable to utter a word, much less sing a note. It would take time for Hodan to find her voice once again.
She found it easier to write and record at the studio, completing her first album, Realization, which was released on iTunes in the spring 2010. Once her family and community found out, calls came from all over the world. Have you lost your mind? What example are you setting for your daughters? Judgements of all kinds flew in from every angle. She actually stopped writing and singing to appease them. So much that she felt imprisoned and miserable again. Confused, she sought help from any and all resources she could access. She followed Oprah’s Life Classes, watched ‘The Secret’, listened to inspirational talks and read dozens of self-help books. Bob Proctor, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Lesser, Iyanla Vanzant, Les Brown, Lisa Nichols, Dr. Michael Beckwith, Tony Robbins, and many more all came to her rescue like stars guiding her in the darkness.
Being a single mother had taught Hodan resilience. Furthermore, the cultural hypocrisy that was over-critical of women while allowing men to get away with murder infuriated her. The limitations were cultural, veiling the true compassionate spirit of Islam. She began to understand the patriarchal nature of religious misinterpretations in her community. Men in leadership often hijacked religion to manipulate and fulfil their own desires, using it as a weapon to oppress. Unfortunately, women too, contributed to this misogyny either in silent complacency or sharp judgemental tongues against their own. Recognizing that her community has many other wonderful qualities, Hodan has learned to forgive them for their shortcomings as they are operating from habit. She hopes to be a source of inspiration and positive change for them too.
As a deeply spiritual person raised in the Islamic faith, her connection with God was very important to her. She had countless conversations in prayer asking for guidance, forgiveness and acceptance. While people judged harshly, God was her constant source of love and hope. Her journey allowed her to have an even more sincere relationship with God, void of social pressures. She learned that she was living a lie by pleasing others while not being true to herself. She learned to accept that others she loved may not understand or approve but that was OK. In kindness, she learned to say no to rigid expectations and yes to herself, finally ready to share herself with the world.
Increasingly confident that it is never too late to become the person she was meant to be, she wrote Bring Out Diva and Feeling Fearless. Fusing her passion with purpose resulted in an empowered Hodan empowering others. Her story, like a lit candle, now belongs to those seeking inspiration. Her goal: to help illuminate the path for millions of caterpillars so that they can turn into butterflies.
Today, Hodan’s dream of being an international inspirational singer songwriter is a reality. This year, she has performed at Winspiration Day in Austria and closed the event at the Modern Day Millionaire in New York. Hodan looks forward to many more performances around the world. Currently busy working on a new inspirational album and memoir to be released January, 2018, she hopes to be an inspirational voice in a world of true prosperity, after all that is the African meaning of her name. Hodan’s social media handle is IamHodan.