Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

18 January 2013

Namibia: Lets Talk Music

As business activity resumes in Windhoek, the Franco Namibia Cultural Centre hosted their first general public event. The Namibian singer and songwriter, Elemotho, winner of the 2012 Radio France Internationale Discoveries Music Award, spoke at the Art's Talk event about his journey in the music industry.

This event served as a platform for artists and managers to learn about the music industry from an internationally recognized Namibian artist. The event was also graced by his partner, Silvia Sala, who is just as much part of Elemotho's success story, having organized his international tours for the past years. Hailing from Spain, Sala spoke about what it takes to break into the international music market and what goes on "behind the scenes".

In an interview with the Economist, Elemotho gives an overview of some of the pertinent matters affecting artists in today's era. "The music industry is changing with most artists posting their music online for recognition. With online services such as sound cloud or even Facebook, artists have to fight hard to stay relevant especially with thousands of songs coming out on a daily basis."

He states that the music industry is one facing various challenges."I would not explicitly say that it is easier or harder for artists to enter and make it in the industry now as opposed to ten years ago. It all boils down to passion of the individual and how ambitiously he pursues his dreams. What I have noticed are the various changes in the industry which in my opinion make it relatively hard for many artists to pursue their art purely as their sole career."

Elemotho corroborated his argument by adding that "Financial support is not readily available within the music industry. I was fortunate enough to have my first 2 albums sponsored by the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre. This may not be the case for other local artists."

The artist's extensive tours and professional exchange with other musicians from around the world have lead him to value his studies in music. "I personally have a degree in music coupled with training in guitar from the University of Namibia. This has allowed me to be an artist that can focus more on live performances." His in-depth knowledge of music still left him at awe of the variety of music available in the global market. "During my tours in America I realized the vast number of genres in music. Certain genres have sub -categories such as rock which can have soft rock, hard rock or electric. Additionally I found that this has lead to specialization within the industry though there are still a select few artist who chose to remain true to themselves."

Touching on their future plans he said his group intends to tour 25 countries from March this year. The countries visited will be in Africa. Niger, Ethiopia, Angola and South Africa are some of the countries the artist is excited about. The aim of the tour is to learn about different types of music but also to popularize Namibian music in the rest of Africa.

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