"11 year-old balances music and school"
LIKE any other 11-year-old boy, Raymond Whippy loves to play marbles and roll tyres around the neighbourhood with friends.
But there is one other thing that sets this youngster apart from his peers - he is a travelling musician.
Raymond is a member of the Raikivi Boys band and he plays the keyboard and sings as well.
Last weekend, Raymond and the band were at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort and Spa in Sigatoka, performing for guests.
The budding musician was quite the attraction on the keyboards as he entertained to hit songs like Tina Turner's Simply The Best, Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, and various mixes of rock, reggae and vude music.
"I describe music as a passion because it relaxes me at home, after school every day, he said.
"My father teaches me how to play the keyboard. He taught me a lot of things and rewards me for my achievements," he said.
Raymond said he would listen to his dad playing a tune and would try to pick up on it when when he was alone at home.
"I started practising this year and later my dad asked me to play in Savusavu a few weeks ago which was my first live concert," he said proudly.
Raymond said frequent practice led him to grasp musical chords and sounds faster.
A class six student of Suva Methodist Primary School, Raymond said he was able to manage school life and music because he always took time out to study.
His father, Jojo Whippy, also a music figure in Fiji, said he was proud of his son.
"Raymond is a very talented boy and I know he has a long way to go; he's only 11-years-old," he said.
"It's amazing how he picked up the chords and tunes, he knows how to change the chords and it sticks to his head."
"I taught him at home and reward him when he succeeds, and this keeps him interested to learn more. I also encourage him to balance his passion for music with his education. He is a very bright boy in school."
"The talents of children should be nurtured and supported by the parents. Children need this kind of support. Fiji is full of beautiful voices but it has not been unveiled and this is where parents come in. It's not just music but also other talents," Jojo said.
Raymond's older brother, Nestor Whippy is a singer and drummist.