As the head producer of Omalaeti Music, Solani Glo has been responsible for producing the majority of the tracks that have had fans sweating on the dance floor for a few years now. He sat with The Villager to talk about his swift rise to prominence in the music industry.
You’ve only been in music production for about five years, how did you rise so quickly?
Every artist is unique and I just try and make sure that uniqueness comes out. I like to listen. I listen to music, I listen to what people are listening to and also what people don’t like to listen to. This way I can see what people like and grow. It also helps having a mentor like John Walenga. He always motivates me to reach the top.
What’s the hardest part about being a producer?
What I hope to achieve with each project is that we’re all happy with the song at the end of the day, but getting there is tough. Being content with the song I guess is the hardest thing to do because it takes a village to produce a song.
You started as a singer. Do you ever plan to take that more seriously or will you just focus on production?
Producing is my job and singing is a hobby. As a producer, you’re a director, but the artists don’t always get where you’re going. Before I started producing, I was a singer in a band. I always thought if I was going to sing, I should know a little bit about production so I know what to tell producers when they make my songs. Then I ended up being a full-time producer and barely singing. [Laughs]. I still sing here and there. In the future I might release an album just for fun.
You had some big shoes to fill taking over from Pedrito. Did you feel the pressure when you started?
I can’t say it was pressure. I was always a fan of Pedrito. He brought something different to the music scene. I studied his production. People were used to a certain feel in Omalaeti music. Not just the fans, but the artists as well, especially with Tate Buti who had a very specific sound, Kwiku which he started with Pedrito. I had to continue that unique sound. I had to empty myself and fill myself with that new sound. I wasn’t easy, but it was fun.
You said you studied Pedrito. What did you learn from Pedrito?
He knew the type of music to make the people out there dance. He took elements of Rumba from Congo, Kwaito from South Africa and Shambo from Namibia and mixed them into one song. I’ve learned to do that, while adding my own touch as well. But Pedrito was a very unique producer.
How do you think you have fared since?
I’m not the type to blow my own horn, but I would say so far so good. But I’m always ready for more improvement. With production in Namibia, you have to be both a producer and a recording engineer, whereas in other countries those are two separate jobs. But we’re headed in the right way. By God’s grace I think I have done well.
As the exclusive producer of the Omalaeti artists, how do you keep things fresh and not monotonous?
I study every artist. I don’t do music to keep a certain touch. I make sure each and every song is unique. In a day’s time I will make five beats and let people hear and critique until we have the perfect working material. It might look easy, but it’s not easy. It’s not always hard, but it’s always fun.
Besides Promise, for obvious reasons, which artists do you enjoy working with the most?
[Laughs]. Everyone has their own flair. PDK remind me of the fun, outgoing stage of life. They remind me to just go out there and make the most of your life. Tate Buti always has jokes. He makes it seem like it’s not work and we just came together to hang out. Kamati is always striving to be unique, which always makes me grow and expand my horizon.
What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?
I would say the first time I started hearing songs I produced in Taxis, on the radio and shebeens. I was hearing my music all over Namibia. I would go to Katima and there was Kastoma Seves, which I produced, pumping. It was a great feeling.
What was your worst subject in high school?
Biology. Which is weird because I loved Math and Physics but Biology just didn’t connect with me. I wasn’t into hearing about the intestines and all.
What was the naughtiest thing you did as a teenager?
I once disappeared from the house without telling my parents for two whole days so I could chill with my friends. I got the beating of my life when I got back.
How has fatherhood treated you?
I’m proud to be a dad. I couldn’t believe it when she came. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure my kid gets everything I never had. Raising her will be a joy.
I noticed a bit of house in the new albums. Is that were you want to go with your production or was that requested by the artists?
We work as a team and as I said earlier, I study the market. I suggested it to the guys because this is the kind of music people are into these days. I hear some fans say, ‘We want to see if Tate Buti can do house’ so we gave them a sample. Depending on where the market is going, people should always expect the unexpected.
The year is almost over. What would you say is the most significant thing you’ve achieved this year?
I’m a father, which has been an incredible feeling for me. I think I gave my best with my music this year. I don’t have any regrets professionally speaking. One of my greatest assets is Promise pushing to always strive for the best and be on top.
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
I don’t know if I should get into politics, but I’m looking forward to having a new President. I’m glad that he won. I’m looking forward to giving my all in my music again and making sure people enjoy our Omalaeti music.