analysisBy Kevin Kamati
Born in the north of Namibia 20 something years ago, Maria Lisa, ML, had the privilege to travel at a very young with her family, schooling in Belgium and South Africa in her travels. ML and her family soon settled in Namibia before she was due to start high school in Walvis Bay.
"My uncle was an ambassador and at a young age and I had the opportunity to travel and school in Belgium and South Africa for certain periods. The opportunity was an eye opener and till today I carry memories and the cultural exchange, I was exposed to."
ML went on to the University of Namibia (UNAM) where she enrolled in the science field and went on to major in Economics and Agriculture. She currently works for the Meat Board of Namibia as the Chief Information Systems Officer, where she sits and rubs shoulders with the movers and shakers of the meat industry in Namibia. "Having worked for the Meat Board for three years now, and with my degree behind my back, I feel very privileged to be working here as I am still learning on a daily basis and the experience is invaluable. Being a female and young has its challenges but I always let my work speak for itself."
Music has always moved ML and during her Unam years met Exit and Mushe. At the time still unknown, they would write songs and record numerous materials together. During this period ML made it a point to balance her school work and her ambition to pursue a musical career. Behind the scenes ML learned a lot with the rise to fame of her duo friends, Exit and Mushe. "At the time we were unknown and we would record and record material in Mushe's studio, and at the time we would perform for free starting off shows and really just getting exposure. I was very careful in maintaining a balance between my music and school work."
With the rise to fame of her close friends, ML decided to take the back seat and enjoy the experience, and after graduating, she released her first single, Kushiinge.
"For me, at the time I was out of school and unemployed so I tried to explore. I shot the music video for Kushiinge with Lazpak and it was aired on both NBC and One Africa receiving massive airtime. With marketing in terms of radio there was a loop hole there as I was signed under Blend Productions but they did not really release the song on radio at the time. It was being broadcast on television, and with fans missing out to request the songs, I surprised myself and believed the song was received well and did well."
With the recording of more songs, ML found herself more on the business side of the music industry, inputting and giving a helping hand when needed to her friends Exit and Mushe. With the success of the duo, ML gained invaluable experience and knowledge of the music industry. ML soon found employment at the Meat Board of Namibia and less time to record music. "Once I started working, recording was just for fun but there was a time where I thought I was ready to release an album but things did not just materialise.
Being involved in the administration side of things even before the duo got famous, I would be booking gigs and taking bookings for the guys."
When the duo parted ways to concentrate on their solo projects, Mushe later approached her with plans for an album. With good songs already recorded just needing the finishing touches, they joined forces and pushed his album into stores. With the hard work behind then Mushe would then went on to sign under Hella Investment"
Meanwhile, having picked up the expertise and know how, ML would not idle, and with Exit first solo album out although not a sparkle due to poor management, the two would later sit down to form a partnership under Rockas Entertainment. The task of managing the label and handling more of the administration fell to her.
Exit would go on to record his second solo album under Rockas Entertainment called I am Rockas, which catapulted the artist to greater heights. And with a need for proper management of artists in Namibia, ML has made her mark in the trade. "Initially when I broke through the entertainment business I was known as ML the artist, and when people saw or heard that I am Exit manager, it baffled them but as a manager I worked as Maria and the artist is ML. Being a female, and the driving force behind an artist male or female, I believe the acknowledgment comes as your artist(s) progresses) and grows musically and personally"she adds
With a blooming career at the Meat Board,plans to obtain her master's degree in International Trade and other business ventures that have caught her eye, ML is out to make waves and move to greater heights. Meantime, Rockas under sound management and new members are set to be announced in the not-too-distant future, while she is still recording and polishing her skills in studio.
"A manager is responsible for bookings, looking for gigs and attracting endorsements for your artist and positioning your artist in the right strategy or image. Sitting down and understanding what the artist wants to accomplish in the music industry and guiding him to his fullest potential but most importantly is a mutual respect, understanding and believe between the artist and manager," she summarises the duty of a manager.
"As youths we need to take what our parents have taught us and compliment that with yourself. Do not let external factors influence what you have planned for yourself, importantly set for yourself standards and then look to yourself worth and work towards improving it to a point you are happy with yourself and do not give up until you have done so!" she concludes with an advise to her young peers.