Onwards and upwards

25 October 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Let's just get this out of the way: The music industry in Namibia is fruitful for many artists right now and might remain that way for the foreseeable future.

You may disagree with me about the industry being fruitful, and that is okay. You are entitled to your own opinion. Most of the content I write about in my column is inspired by conversations I have with musicians and industry peers.

Today I just want to share means and ways on how I believe musicians can keep their careers thriving.

If you are established or just getting started, there are a few essential truths when it comes to keeping your music career alive.

Firstly, it is important to allow yourself to grow and evolve as a musician.

Many artists who enjoy long careers reinvent themselves often. Just look at Sally Boss Madam, Exit, Gazza and PDK; the music they make now is very different from what they used to create when they started.

Although they have their set of classic songs, they understand that creating new music is important to keeping fans interested. Maybe even more importantly, exploring new musical ideas and genres will help you maintain your passion for music.

Secondly, because our music scene is relatively small, artists are forced to get day jobs, which is okay. My advice if you want a full-time job is to get one that helps build your network.

I must stress that there is nothing wrong with taking a day job, but make a conscious decision to find work that will make it easier for you to still have time for the studio, other artistic commitments and networking.

In Namibia, word of mouth can help you find out about gigs that never get publicly advertised, and personal connections can help you land gigs that you otherwise wouldn't be considered for.

You may call it corruption, but who you know in this industry, to a certain extent, determines the amount of times you get booked. That is just the sad truth.

Still on the subject of performance, this year we have had some of the best music concerts, and it is commendable that our musicians are working together to make this happen.

However it is disappointing that many artists perform the same songs at every show. For instance, if Gazza and KP Illest are in the line-up, just know Penduka and Okay Okay are going to be performed. That's just an example. Maybe it's because my job requires me to be at so many shows, but I honestly know the sets of so many artists, and it's not encouraging.

[email protected]; @MichaelMKAY on Twitter

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