South African singer-songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Kenneth Butler told VIBEZ! that Namibian artists who like or are in the jazz genre should own the sound, make it their own, and remain consistent.
“Please find your own tone, find yourself and your sound within the industry. It is tempting to want to write a song like Beyonce, but is that really who you are?” questioned the 62-year-old.
He said it is time for artists in South Africa, Namibia, Ghana and Nigeria to be robust and start owning up to their legacies and sound. “We need to start developing that because our sound is resonating all over the world”, he added.
The energetic, soulful singer said he does world music because he has been able to expand from it just being R&B, with jazz and African melodies.
Coming from a Korean and South African background, Butler, commonly known as Uncle JB, said he has been able to incorporate those cultures without any pushback.
“You would be surprised that people who are culturally hungry in America are enthusiastic and curious about what I do. That’s why it was necessary for me to evolve into a South African artist who plays world music,” he stated.
Butler also pointed out that he transfers knowledge to artists who aspire to do jazz or music in general because as musicians, people do look up to those who have laid the groundwork.
He was the main act at the recently- concluded Windhoek Jazz Festival, hosted at the Vegkop Stadium. It had roped in local jazz proponents like Erna Chimu, Najah, Esme Songbird, Bonganisoul and The Yesterdae.
The Yesterdae feel that being part of the jazz festival is the best thing that could have happened to them, as it opens opportunities.
The group’s bass player and vocalist Misael Cambinda concurred with Butler that Namibians need to own their sounds.
“Sometimes, we tend to sound like the South Africans. So, I fully agree with Uncle JB that we need to own our sounds. We always try to incorporate different elements of genres to make our own sound,” said Cambinda, who also composes for the group.
He added: “I am not saying that we already have our sound. We are still in the process, trying to find new things, new sounds and genres to incorporate and integrate.”
Their main aim as a band is to create something new, refreshing as well as something that has never been heard of or listened to before, not just in terms of music, but also concerning concerts, and everything they form part of.
“If you are looking for something new, fresh and refreshing for the soul, it’s us you should listen to. We always try to tell a story behind everything that we do. We believe that everything is storytelling; it’s something way more meaningful, not just for us,” continued Cambinda.
He said they play music for the people because music plays a role in people’s lives, as it can heal and save them.
The City of Windhoek’s Harold Akwenye said this festival holds significant importance for the City and its partners, who view it as a powerful marketing tool.
“It not only serves as a platform to showcase local artists, but also offers an invaluable opportunity to connect them with international counterparts, ultimately bolstering the local entertainment industry,” he added. - firstname.lastname@example.org