Don Kamati might appear like an upcoming artist trying to get a slice form an industry he is not cut out for when you first meet him, but his talents contradict what upcoming musicians are usually associated with.
As a northern-based musician, he does not fall short of talent or hard work as he has pushed himself to rise from the bottom as an artist and producer. This week, he shares his journey with The Villager’s Celebsunplugged.
What music project are you working on now, or have you worked on this year?
This year, I worked on an album with Dj Laza. The album is title Mokuti, and was sponsored by HDM. It is a 15-track album that features shambo, afro-house and house. We are not collaborating with anyone on this. I am also working on a solo project called DK, where I feature Bethold, Neslow and Dj Laza.
You are a musician and a music producer. Tell us how you balance those two?
I started producing from a young age, and that is how I have been able to pay for my own high-school fees. I love my work.
Is there artwork you have that has gone unnoticed in your opinion? What track is this (that you might have produced or sang)?
Yes, there are a couple of songs that I worked on that were never published. I feel like our industry is not developed enough. And before I got the opportunity from HDM, I did not have anyone to fund my music, even though I have been doing music for 9 years. This is my first year as a professional commercial artist, and now my music is even sold online, where I get my royalties from at the end of the year.
When did you discover your passion for music?
I discovered my passion for music in 2003. I started off as a radio presenter when I was recruited as a child radio presenter for a program run by Unicef at the time. Through this, I was exposed to a lot of established artists, and I was able to rub shoulders with them. When it started off, eventually I was able to pay for my mother’s electricity bills and my brother’s school fees. It has not been an easy journey for me though.
How old where you when you first had your first stage performance, and describe the atmosphere?
My first stage performance was in 2008. This was when I was in high school, and it was not a pleasant experience for me. But with more time, I became more comfortable with the stage.
Have you experienced any blunders on stage?
I fell of the stage. That was very embarrassing, but I did not lose my confidence. I have had a lot of blunders after that, but I have learned to watch other artists’ performances, and I have learned from that.
Looking at how long you come with hip hop, would you say your music has evolved?
Music has evolved. However, the industry is not friendly for upcoming artists. Our industry is very broken. You see the same way teachers and taxi drivers have unions? Artists also need a union to project their rights. Nascam only protects the rights of our intellectual property, but that’s not enough.
If you could put a group of artists together, who would they be and what would you call them?
I would pick Neslow, Star dust, Hilfia 94, Dj Laza and Mc2, and I would call them The 18.
Would you say that hip hop beef is healthy for the growth of talent?
The way I look at it, beef is a norm in the hip hop culture. But today it’s unnecessary because we are not at that state in Namibian music to be degrading each other and calling each other names. Beef is unhealthy for the Namibian industry. Musicians need to unite.
What is the illest line you have ever heard from a Namibian musician?
From myself, the line went: I am 2 times number 1 like the number after 10. This is from my track titled Refuse to Lose, produced in 2009.
If you could produce for an international artist, who would that be?
I would produce for a Jamaican artist called Jahqcure. He is a dancehall artist. I would also like to produce for Star Dust because they have a lot of potential, but their manager does not want me to collaborate with them. They do something similar to what I do. Antonio says the girls do not like collaborations.
Do you think any Namibian artist can pull off a version of Fill up the Dome and fill up Independence stadium? If yes/or no, why?
I am positive I can pull it off. 2016 is going to be the year for me. I am open for event bookings. People can do bookings with the Manager Shauun King on 0814448403.