Haludonga Stephanus aka Lil Steve is the personification of ‘talented but unconnected musicians’.
Hailing from Oshakati, the hikwa artist has dumped his string guitar for a shot at music the big-city style. His music encompasses traditional rhythms and will have you dance bare foot in hot sand. Notably, he comes out more as a kwaito than a hikwa artist, musically, of course.
Without anything to fall back on, music remains his only shot. His musical career has since been inspired by local artists, such as Ras Sheehama, Hishishi Papa, Omidi da Afrique and Gazza, he submits.
But things have not turned out as lavish as he had anticipated since his arrival to the city. Today, he is one of the few local artists who still do hand-to-hand CD sales.
“It has been hard for me to be recognised as an artist. I lack the proper connections and sufficient money to put together my albums,” he says.
He currently works on a 15-track album titled ‘Now and Forever’, which he points out focuses on uplifting fellow Africans.
“The album urges those who are well-off to lend a hand to those who are still underground but are trying to emerge as ‘people’ in the society,” he explains.
His album features songs, such as ‘Omwene’, ‘Omkwaita’ and ‘Calling’. ‘Omkwaita’ through which he expresses his pain and struggle, is dedicated to his hometown. “It’s where my music career started,” he quips.
‘Omwene’, on the other hand, is a gospel song in which he praises to the Lord for seeing him through his troubles.
“I wrote ‘Calling’ to express my view on two-faced people; backstabbers,” he adds.
Some of the 15 tracks titled ‘Territory Girl’, ‘95%’ and ‘Paife’ have so far got him a fair share of airplay on Energy 100FM.
“‘Territory Girl’ speaks about a girl I admire, a girl I once knew,” he says, adding, ‘95%’ represents the number of questions he has for the world. ‘Paife’ touches more on tradition, as per its rhythm.
He has waited to be heard for so long and has, in the meantime, grown musically and thinks it is time he was noticed.
Last December, he released an 11-track mix tape he dubbed, ‘Pandja Litivali’. It did receive a good amount of airplay on Energy 100FM too.
He considers himself a diamond in the rough and we think if pushed in the right direction, he could take his traditional hikwa music to places.