Pulling strings with Imm's Nicolau

Influencing Namibian music

07 June 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Turning guitar playing into a lucrative business is a challenge. In fact, when you grow up and your options are either school, becoming an entrepreneur or working for a boss, playing a guitar is a seemingly impossible career in Namibia. But not for Imm's Nicolau, Namibia's guitar player who made it where many did not.

He talks to tjil about international shows, directing the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) and making greenbacks.

Besides playing for well-known musicians, Imm's Nicolau also teaches at On Beat Music School and tenures part-time at the College of the Arts (Cota). “I enjoy playing for artists but I do not just want to keep my skills to myself; that is why I teach and direct. I believe I can do more with my talent and pass it on to music lovers,” he said.

On being the music director for the NAMAs, the guitarist mentioned that it is a job he enjoys. He admitted that it comes with pressure considering that it is live but he excels at it anyway because of their passion and the team he works. “I have been the music director for the last two years; the first year was a bit challenging but I am not the only music director; we are two so we always figure it out,” he said. He shared that he also hosts a master class once a year where he polishes the skills of aspiring guitarists. The class only takes 20 students per year and this is to allow him to be able to give attention to all his students. “This is my way of giving back and at the same time keeping my passion alive. I am not sure yet when I will be having this year's classes but I will share that information on my social media pages,” he said.

He pointed out playing in Thailand, Bangkok with the Planet Shakers in front of 20 000 spectators as one of the highlights of his career. He maintains that he is grateful for opportunities like that because they create a platform for him to make a living by doing what he loves. He admitted that it is not easy to make it as a guitarist in Namibia because opportunities are scarce, however, he emphasised that it is possible to make it with dedication and passion. “I believe to make it in any industry you have to work hard. It is not easy especially in our country that is why I am involved in so many projects, luckily for me most of these hustles have to do with what I love.

“I am trying to demonstrate to others that you can also make a living from playing guitar if that is your talent and you are serious about it,” he said.