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Freeda,Oteya beginning or the end?

Tue, 27 May 2014 05:10
by Charmaine Ngatjiheue


Recent exploits by the once Gal level duo, Frieda Haindaka and Daphne Willibard in their solo careers has seen former entertainment journalists expressing  mixed feelings on their future as individual artists.
While some Journalist believe the two have what it takes to reach the climax they once touched as Gal Level others simply do not agree.
Daphne recently released her solo single titled Ethimbo under the brand name Oteya and stuck it out with her long-time boyfriend and manager Sula Kyababa while Frieda now preferring to call herself Freeda released her solo album titled Just Freeda late last year under Deal Done Records.
Prominent former  Entertainment Journalist Conrad Angula has since cast his doubt on whether the two will reach the twilight zone in their solo careers as they did under Ogopa Butterfly as a duo while former renowned Entertainment Journalists, Theresia Tjihenuna and Selma Kaulinge who also hit the twilight of their journalism careers between 2008 and 2011 when Gal level was the talk of the town winning international accolades at the Channel O Music Awards and sweeping anything that came their way in the local music industry  believe recent solo performances by the two at the Namas are reminiscent of the good days of gal level.
“It is difficult to say because it depends on how the public will accept them. Let’s look at the lead singer of Cool and the Gang, James Taylor, who left the band to pursue a solo career but ceased in the industry whereas Lionel Richie left his band Commodores and he became one of the most successful recording artists,” said Conrad Angula. He further added, “This can be made relatable to the former duo. Will the former girl band members work hard as individuals? So far I like Freeda; she is on the right path but Daphne only has one song out. If it was my choice though, I would want them as Gal Level but now as individuals it will depend on their talent as solo artists.”
On the other hand Tjihenuna said “I think they will both thrive in their solo careers because of the experience they have. They clearly proved this with their performances at the Namas.”
Gal Level has even been compared to the US girl group Destiny’s Child while together.
In mid-2004, Gal Level dropped its first single ‘Shake It’ and it gained popularity to music fans. Thereafter they dropped a single titled “Go Back To Her’ which was a huge success as it earned them a Channel O nomination. During 2004 and 2005, the songs were anthems locally hence they won separate awards Best New Comer and Best R&B at the Sanlam-NBC Music Awards.
In 2007 the duo was nominated for the Channel O Music Video Awards in the Best African Group category and in 2008 at the Channel O Music Video Awards they were nominated in two categories which were Best Southern African and Best R&B Video (which they won with ‘Falling In love’).
In 2009 Gal Level scooped the Best Afro Pop award for their song ‘Touch Me’. In 2012, after their break up, Gal Level was nominated for the Channel O Music Video. Their luck did not end there; the group got nominated for Best Female Group in Southern Africa at the Kora Awards.
Meanwhile Kaulinge who is now a regular music critic in a local daily and also doubles up as the PR for the National Art Gallery of Namibia said, “Both Freeda and Oteya proved at the Namas with their performances that they can elevate their careers as Gal Level did but as solo artist. They bring diversity to Namibia”
While the challenge has been for the two to win fans’ hearts and appease the critical showbiz industry the two told The Villager in separate interviews that they are optimistic of their solo careers adding that the separation was reached mutually without a pinch of salt on either side.
“I’m really enjoying myself and I am establishing myself as an individual. I’m also having a show every week and soon I’ll be going to perform in the US, I never had such exposure as Gal Level. I’m going far and beyond” boasts Freeda.
Daphne also said, “I’ve explained why we took a break and at this point people know. Currently I’m busy with my singles and videos until I feel I’m ready to drop an album.”
Although there is much focus on their ability to attract interest from a diverse crowd like in the golden days the two are playing hide and seek with the public on whether they will ever re-unite.
 “Five years is a long time and anything can happen. As for now I am enjoying a solo career” said an excited Freeda. While Oteya said, “only God knows what can happen tomorrow. We can only do our best and I am not a psychic to tell what’s going to happen next”.
The glue that kept them together and worked the magic out of the two Kyababa also said, “That is for God to decide, we did Gal Level as our work and on behalf of Oteya, we will use the same approach we used on Gal Level and I presume she will enjoy the same success Gal Level did.”