One of Namibia’s leading Kwaito stars, Morocky Mbwaluh, aka The Dogg, recently published his autobiography titled,Ther Dogg: Untold Story. As part of the reading culture campaign launched by the New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) in conjunction with the Minister of Education, Honourable Dawid Namwandi, Artlife is serialising this autobiography each Friday.
I am passionate about music and would do anything to succeed in this game. During my stay at Killa’s room on campus, I managed to steal his keyboard, although, I must confess, I could hardly play a keyboard at the time. My skills on the keyboard have greatly improved thanks to this keyboard I have kept for myself. My heart was not at peace. I was a teenager longing for success and all the things that come along with it, such as money, clothes, cars, women and so many others things that I could not have at the time. Financially, I had to hustle for certain items I craved for, and at some point, I started feeling my family was not supportive enough. Deep inside me, there was this belief that I could at least be in control of some aspects of my life if I went into music.
I got paid. Yes, my first pay cheque was about N$ 1 500 from the University of Namibia. This was for a performance at the cultural festival in 2003.
I bought myself some clothes and spent some of the money on groceries for our house in Grysblock. This was big bucks at the time, considering that when I submitted my quotations for performances, I would be given beer or whatever they could think of to substitute money because, for some reason, they had no money to pay me. I remember getting a six-pack of beer for performances. The music industry was not for the soft-hearted at the time: it had little money and you needed passion and genuine love for music to stay in it. At times when I look back, I am grateful to have pioneered the Namibian music industry to where it is today. I am able to make a living from music, and so are some other artists, but we paid the price for the game to be where we are some other artists, but we paid the price for the game to be where we are today. I sacrificed a lot, including my family relations and so many aspects of my youthful years, and worked hard to be where I am today.
A cheque of N$ 5 000 put an even bigger smile on my face. This was the biggest pay cheque I got in the first two to three years of my career.
In December 2004, Castle Lager had a tour and I was among the fortunate artists contracted to this countrywide event. This was around Christmas and we had a blast. I spent about N$ 1 000 on clothes and went on an unending party spree with the rest of the money, only to wake up three days later in some stranger’s house without a single cent. The money was largely spent on booze. This was a learning curve for me.
People do not know that, when I was crowned Sanlam/NBC Music Awards Artist of the Year for the first time, I was still sleeping in the kitchen at home. This was also my bedroom when my first album dropped and I started making a name for myself.
Enter Gazza. I met Gazza in 2003. I was under radical Entertainment back then, and we were looking for a lift to the North, while he was also driving there. DJ Mo asked him to take us along. I think I had a performance there.
He was also an upcoming artist at the time and we became friends and music partners instantly. We did not have personal problems back then and all we did was music. What made our combination so great that he could put something in my songs inasmuch as I could put into his. We grew close and I prefer to put it this way: I was everywhere he went and he was everywhere I went. Despite our conflict now, he was a nice guy to work with.
During one of my performances in Ongwediva, I think this was the New Year’s Eve Bash of December 2003, I was approached by a lady who introduced herself as Ma Rihana. She was impressed with what she saw and wanted to buy my music. Sadly, at that time I had no album out yet.
As fate would have it, this was not the last time I would hear from her. Ma Rihana called me up the next day and we met, and RC Ghetto Records was born. Initially, I had the idea of forming my own record company, which I was going to name Ghetto Records. Ma Rihana and another fellow, called Charlie, partnered. In the end, RC was derived from Rihana and Charlie’s abbreviations – I came up with the term Ghetto for the label. Ma Rihana became my first manager.
As indicated above, Gazza and I were close at the time, and so he ended up at RC Ghetto Records as well. We were the only artists at the label.
The first song I ever did with Gazza was either “Om China’’ or “ Ghetto Life” on his album Tanauka. I had already written the song “Ghetto Life” while I was still doing my Grade 12 at Augustineum. I did the melody and chorus to the track, while he wrote his lyrics. The industry was young but still growing and I dropped my first album under this label in 2004. I should say that owing to my resourcefulness, I managed to collect funds for studio time to complete my first album. RC Ghetto Records only paid for the CD duplications and organised shows. I have fresh memories of myself and Ma Rihana calling CDT ( Compact Disc Technologies) in South Africa to obtain quotations for the CD duplication.
To date, I think Namibian musicians and entrepreneurs alike need to come up with an enterprise that will venture into CD duplications in the country.
The music industry is growing and we can only benefit from keeping the money inside our borders. (To be continued next Friday)