Namibia: Upcoming Artists Struggle to Earn a Living... Is Music a Career to Pursue in Namibia?

3 February 2020

Windhoek — Looking at a country such as South Africa, music is one of the prominent careers with upcoming artists growing rapidly, but it is quite the opposite in Namibia.

Entertainment Now! sat down with few of the upcoming artists, to hear their views on the music career in the country.

"Growing a career in music in our country is such an uphill climb. One does not only start making money from music instantly; you must have connections for you to make it big in the industry and being known as an upcoming artist is also a struggle because we have limited exposure," Tashen told Entertainment Now!.

Tashen started making music in 2013 and due to finance, he gave up on music and returned in 2019 when he got a stable job, saying he is now taking his career seriously because he has money to fund his music.

According to Tashen, one cannot only focus on music as a source of income because what they get is minimal compared to how much they spend on creating music.

He said, "the main challenge in the music industry is finance and support from corporates. Individuals, when they see a new kid on the block, they don't pay attention to what they have to offer but they mostly focus on established artists."

Kinzzo is also an artist who has been in the industry for over a decade but still considers himself upcoming.

Despite releasing five albums and being nominated for the Namibia Music Awards 2019 (Namas), the 'Eendjo' hitmaker claims he is not well established and people are yet to know him.

"Since the beginning of my career, I have not achieved much monetary wise and the support I get is only from people who are close to me. The only way one can earn from music is through shows, which are also hard to get invited to because of preferences," he complained.

Also talking to Entertainment Now!, Music trio Omshandies from Kavango West region complained of the same issue, saying after failing grade 12, they ventured into music to make ends meet, which is not paying off, as they spend more than they get from music.

"Namibians don't buy CDs anymore and when there are preferences at radio stations, they only play some music over and over again. Upcoming artists are neglected and the problem is we are not even given chances to prove ourselves," said Pain, one of the members of Omshandies.

Irrespective of the fact that most upcoming artists have lost hope in the industry, music business consultant Fidel Nambundunga, who has been working with artists since the 90s disagreed, saying music in Namibia can be a career, but the problem is there is no structure in the music industry.

"Artists don't have managers, agents, publicists and image consultants. How does one expect to grow when they don't have a team? If you don't have a team, you will be doing everything on your own and that's how artists don't make it in this industry," said Nambundunga.

Nambundunga further complained that artists also don't read, he said: "A lot of opportunities for artists are found in newspapers or on social media but most artists don't read at all. If only they could start creating opportunities for themselves by approaching the right people and getting serious with what they want."

Among many things he mentioned, Nambundunga who has worked with music giants in the country, such as Gazza, King Tee Dee and many others said music consultants, experts and managers also need to play their part and assist upcoming artists to build their brands and shine beyond borders.

"I am certain this country has talented artists, but their marketing and work ethics are weak."

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