The local music scene is laden with many challenges as the field is congested with a hoard of established and aspiring musicians all trying to get a piece of the cake in the industry where the money is not growing proportionally.
The constant hustling for cab money, the sleepless nights in a studio or going into debt to try and release an album are constant givens in the very competitive industry.
Given these state of affairs one would assume that many aspiring musicians, especially those with an established career outside the industry, will think twice before venturing into the sector.
Not so for upcoming artist Gravey Mubonena, a teacher by profession, who is one out of many who surely has managed to prove that one cannot only depend on music for a living as the industry is mostly dominated by well-established artist who have reaped the fruits while music and talent in Namibia was still recognised by the majority.
Speaking to The Villager this week, 25-year old Mubonena, known by his stage name Omcee, takes us into his journey in the corporate world and music industry.
“I am a teacher by profession currently teaching in the Erongo region and doing music part time, because I believe one cannot only depend on music these days, but rather have something to lean on in case music is not working out for you,” he said.
Although Mubonena believes that having qualifications is the only way to make it in Namibia, he argued that the reason why musicians are not making in the industry is because of lack of support from the corporate world.
“Many depend on music for a living but the market is small and the support from our people is also very low in comparison to other countries like South Africa. It’s very hard to make it,” he said.
One would agree with Mubonena if you look around and pop into a club like Monaco Lounge or DMT on a busy weekend and hear the type of music local djays play, as compared to other African countries were local djays focus mostly on promoting local content.
He stresses that, “Even radio stations don’t play a lot of local music anymore but rather play international music. So, there is no more money in the music industry but at least we benefit a little from selling albums even if many wouldn’t really buy our albums.”
With House genre considered as the in thing now in Namibia, the young musician focuses more on doing house music and kwaito and he will be releasing his first album on the 28th of October after years of trying to push for an album.
The album, which is named Chill/Out, consist of 10 tracks, of which seven are recorded songs and three are made of instruments only.
“I decided to name my Album Chill/Out because the songs that are on the album are mostly party songs. They are songs made to relax and just have fun,” he said.
During this time of the year were many musicians are rushing to release albums to be able to participate in the Namibian Music Awards (NAMA) but Mubonenwa explained his album was long coming and not because of the NAMAS although he would like to participate.
Although many artists enter the music industry with high hope of making it one day, many become as good as their first song and disappear from the industry, while others get destructed by fame.
Mubonenwa said: “I know that when many artists go into the industry and become famous after one song, they tend to lose focus because when they become famous they tend to get a lot of friends, girls and start using drugs.”
Moving into the direction were many are today is not part of Mubonenwa’s plans; he aims to produce another album next year and hope to feature other international artist from South Africa (SA) like AKA.
“I have always been an AKA and Professor fan and that is how I started music because they inspired me,” he said.