• February 22nd, 2020

Rise of a ‘township talent’

 Donna Collins

Young Odette Ochs is part of a culture of rising “township talent” in Swakopmund, who despite being unknown to the mainstream music scene has what it takes to become Namibia’s next “starlet”.

There is also something to be said about having a natural gift to sing, and who through the sheer love of the arts lets it all shine on stage. Such, is this 21-year-old songstress and self-confessed poet who was spotted by the New Era during a recent gig at COSDEF Arts & Craft Centre, where she is doing a leather craft course this year.  Wearing bright red lipstick, a bleached blond bob, and a long flowing emerald green dress with plunging back that showed off an intricate tattoo that travels the length of her spine - she held her own on the large outdoor amphitheatre platform.

With a performance inducing spontaneous “encores”, Odette is still working on building up a repertoire that can carry a full show, but with songs such as - Black Dress (Reggae), Mr Operator (jazz/Soul), Losing my Mind (soft rock), there is a lot more to look forward to. She started singing in a school choir from a young age, and has dabbled in home studio recordings, whilst exploring the avenues of writing original material, which combines her poetry. Not settled on any one genre, she fuses her strong Reggae influences with a touch of rock and lounge jazz, but says Sade is one of her idols. Apart from having notched up some live music experience performing with the fabulous Wakambi, Ras Levi as well as a Song Night’s Lize Ehlers - her solo style has grown from her grass roots influences. 

Last weekend Odette performed a solo set and with two bands, at the “Free Show” open music session hosted every second week in Mondesa, which is cultivating the rise of some unique and diverse music talents. “I like to try out different sounds, and collaborate with other artists who define their own genre, because by adding my own style I am able to bring a whole new feel to the song,”, says Odette, confessing to singing being her passion and right now she is enjoying the freedom of expression to perform as many gigs that come her way.

“We’re performing music that grows its roots from the heart of the community, which is why the sounds are so authentic, but not necessarily that well-known,” she says, “Reggae music is very dear to my heart, and even though I am not a full time Rasta I fully supports the culture and the people.”

Meanwhile, whilst Odette is following her dreams to continue an active music career, and even form a band, she is also excited about the prospects of being involved with the leather craft business. “I am looking forward to see how far I can go with leather making, because ultimately I want to set up a stall at COSDEF and sell my items,” she concludes. 

New Era Reporter
2019-03-15 11:17:30 | 11 months ago

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