Namibian musicians are constant topics of discussions, sometimes bullying from the public and media scrutiny ranging from song composition and its relevance, stage performance and lack of dancing abilities to the mere judgment surrounding vocal ability and allegations of auto-tuning or lack of creativity in general.
Entertainment Now! wondered how some personalities who took part in the MTC Knockout Project felt like being musicians for five minutes on stage and what it took them to perfect the moves of the musicians they were performing as.
MTC’s Chief Commercial Officer Melvin Angula stressed the music industry is not given the credit for the work it does to entertain the nation at large. He was teamed up with his colleagues, CEO Licky Erastus and Chief of Human Capital and Corporate Affairs Tim Ekandjo, performing as PDK.
Angula said he has learnt how much work musicians put into performing just a five-minute song. “After the sessions with choreographers and artists, I now understand why they demand such high-performance fees. I would say the toughest thing for me is being able to remember both the lyrics and dance moves at the same time,” shared Angula.
He said for a non-Oshiwambo speaker, it was a daunting task to learn the vernacular and the way PDK does it. Since we are talking about the trio (PDK), being fit is a must.
“Being able to stay fit during the dances was also hard for us who have not been to the gym in months,” he admitted. Angula said there are professional, energetic, and passionate artists in the market who are not being given the platform to showcase their skills more. “From choreography to directing and vocal coaching, we need to invest more in these skills and recognise them as paying career paths,” he expressed.
Owner of Namibia Media Monitoring Natasja Beyleveld, who performed as Ghetto Ballerina said going through the scary thought of performing for a crowd was overwhelming as it took getting rid of the fear and attaining the courage to perform.
Beyleveled said: “I have gained a lot of respect for musicians. One has to be super fit. And since I was representing Ghetto Ballerina, I was like out of breath now and then and they do dancing in between, grinding. I had a little hip stroke with hips. Artists have to stick through with this and you have to be confident. 90% of the performance has to do with your attitude and hype regardless of the personality, you have to live it out.”
Being part of the Knockout project has made Beyleveld realise the extreme talent Namibia has. “I am in awe, the lyrics, the beats, the composition, style, diversity in local languages is amazing,” expressed Beyleveld.
Standard Bank’s Isack Hamata had many years of his life stripped as he went all kwaito, performing as Vickta Juiceboy. He said the stage was surprisingly not a strange place for him as he has had previously worked with artists.
“I have a friend who used to manage one of our leading artists and I used to assist her in the background. From that perspective, I had a fair understanding of the music industry. But this knockout project opened my eyes to different other things in the industry, especially show preparation. There are many individuals with important responsibilities. They all play a critical role to ensure the success of a music show. I learned that patience and understanding are key ingredients for the success of a show,” shared Hamata. He said: “I’m more into dancing and not a singer naturally but I knew at the back of my mind I had to do this for our homeless compatriots. It seemed difficult in the beginning to learn the songs but we worked around it beautifully. The vocal coach, the choreographer and the backup dancers were helpful and understanding during the practice sessions. I had to learn the difference between a note and a key and whatever else.”
Hamata hinted they (he and Vikta Juiceboy) have unofficially agreed they will either do a full album or few songs together as Juice Boy and Juice Man in support of Hamata’s foundation that he intends on launching next year.
“That is how our relationship has come so far. Vikta Juiceboy is a young artist who is slowly establishing himself in the industry. He is very soft-spoken, a respectful person who was ever ready to ensure that I learned his songs in the fastest way possible.” - firstname.lastname@example.org