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 has been serialising this autobiography each Friday.
My second album, entitled Take Out Yo Gun, is a masterpiece. Once more, it was inspired by my love for guns. Come to think of it, the album showed a reflection of what I was going through back then. Some upcoming artists were dissing (disrespecting) me right after my first album. In a way, I wanted to address that as well. My way of addressing this was by talking about real issues instead, especially in the song My Life. Not surprisingly, this is one of my most controversial albums. Also, the industry was growing and artists were singing about petty things like Oshikundu (a traditional brew), and I wanted to change the way music was being perceived locally. In addition to that, controversy sells. Not that I appreciate this concept, but this is unfortunately how it is.
A practical scenario is that of Jesus Christ. All the children know who he is, what He stands for and His message and principles. But if He is to be on a certain TV channel and another channel is screening MacGyver or Batman, heroes known to glorify violence and everything opposing Jesus’ message, kids would normally prefer watching the bad guys instead of Jesus. In the end, this is just entertainment though.
Music is a business and marketing is key in this industry, it is no surprise that I scooped the Best Kwaito and Artist of the Year Awards with this album at the Sanlam\NBC Music Awards in 2005. In the end, Take Out Yo Gun got me the attention I wanted from the fans, the media and the girls too. But the title track, Take Out Yo Gun, was one of those old tracks from my entrance into the music industry. I recorded it and planned to include it on my first album, but I was not happy with the final product, so I excluded it from my Simaliw’ Osatana. After the release of my first album, I worked on improving this track for about a year, and the end product is there for all to see and acknowledge.
My manager at this stage was Isack. He had a full-time job in the fire brigade or emergency service of the City of Windhoek. I think this contributed to the complacency. I recall times when people would call him for questions and he would take two weeks to provide the quote. When someone asks for a quotation, you should make it a point to provide the quotation at the earliest convenience. If you cannot do it right then, ask someone else with the time to just fax it through. These delays affect you as an artist and as a professional. In a young industry, this is not good for business and to make things worse, he lied too much.
Another setback is that I found him lacking a business mind. I think that, when you are in the music industry, you should hang around business people in order to network and build connection that could come in handy. Isack was not doing that, and, as a result, I suffered as an artist under his management. Instead, I found Isack to be a very superstitious man who believed in witchcraft. I did not want to surround myself with this kind of hype.
He focused on petty issues such as telling me not to hang around Sunny because he would bewitch me, or something, and when he met Sunny, he told him not to stay with me as I would bewitch him. It was like the divide and rule strategy of the Apartheid era. I could sense my career was going down. People were complaining about the poor service associated with the way I was being administered as an artist. He couldn’t keep his hands off the money either. There were numerous withdrawals from my account without my knowledge and permission. This gentleman did not have respect for the rules of the game. He would show up at music stores where my album was being sold and just collect the money for his own purposes. There was little consultation between the two of us regarding things that mattered. Isack’s period as my manager was quite short. Two days before the release of Take Out Yo Gun, we parted ways, I could not take any more and he had to go.
On the family fronts, despite my giant leaps into the music industry, my uncle and Magano never stopped insisting that I still go back to university to get a degree. Ndiina, who is based in the UK, would make time to call me and encourage me to go ahead with music if it was really what I wanted to do. This meant a lot to me. The younger generation within my family and relatives were quite supportive and encouraging. To this day, they always take cognisance of my success, encourage and congratulate me throughout. The older generations do not really congratulate or show much interest in my music ventures and progress, except for the charity work I do, such as paying school frees for orphans. This has prompted my uncle to at least come up to me and say, “You are doing a good job.”
It is with great appreciation that I keep track of these matters that may seem trivial to the next man. It means so much to know that you are making a difference in the life of someone else. I have committed myself to paying the school fees of a young boy who lives in the informal settlement of Okuryangava. His name is Ephraim and his school fee will be my duty for as long as he is a scholar. At present, he is a learner at Dr Frans Aupa Indongo Primary School.
I was actually kind of surprised by the way it all turned out. My friend’s cousin works for the Catholic AIDS Action; we met sometime last year and I asked her to find me someone in need whose school fees I could pay for. Time went by and in 2007, she called me to say she found a child whose parent had passed away due to HIV and AIDS.
For my family members and elders, even winning an award at the Channel O Spirit of Africa Music Video Awards could not get them to say anything to me. This is a continental recognition of artist in Africa and the biggest award I have scooped to date. It means so much to me, but it would mean even more if I just heard one of my older relatives comment, congratulate or encourage me in this regard.
Sunny released his find ever album, Young, Black and Gifted, in December 2005 under my label, Mshasho Records. The album is a collector’s item and announced Sunny’s arrival on the music scene. Mshasho’s performances were in demand. Two of the country’s top artists, under the same record label, had good albums in store and the publicity was major. Take Out Yo Gun outsold my fist album. Our friendship has grown from strength to strength, and even after he left my stable to form his own record label, Greenhouse Entertainment, we remain close and I still produce some tracks for him. In all honesty, I do not really miss Sunny since his departure from my record label because we are still very good friends in and outside the music industry. We make time for one another, and I still work on some of his tracks, as well as produce some songs for artist under his label. OmPuff is an artist under Mshasho Records and features prominently on Greenhouse Entertainment’s music productions. In addition to that, our relationship has always been good, and openness is key in all our dealings. That’s why Sunny informed me well in advance about his idea to form his record label. So it came as no surprise to me when he left Mshasho Records.
Any reports or suggestions of him having left the record label under a cloud of misunderstandings, or some form of conflict are totally unfounded and false. In fact, if you look at the music industry, that is a sign of maturity for an artist to own and distribute his intellectual property and provide a platform for other upcoming artist as well. Sunny is doing just that. This is a blessing for us at Mshasho Records to see him manage and produce for other artists under his label. Music is a business and artists should look at these things seriously.
OmPuff has been with Mshasho for several years, and he and I are long serving soldiers under the label. He released his first album, titled Phone Call, in December 2007. OmPuff is special within the Mshasho set-up and in the Namibian music industry, given that he speaks Portuguese. Angolan citizens form a large number of the music fan base. Locals appreciate Kwaito so much. Adding Portuguese lyrics to a Kwaito beat is something only Mshasho Records can do. As a record label, it is important for us to reach out to Portuguese-speaking people as well.
I believe that great minds think alike, and as a result, associate with each other because of common interests. This is what I can say about Tre Van Die Kasie joining Mshasho Records; he is a talented and hard-working individual who will go places. I signed him because he brings something new to the music industry and, I must say, he has impressed me with his educated lyrics. The guy is smart and he reads a lot. That comes through in the way he lays down his lyrics. Van Die Kasie, as we affectionately know him, launched his first album, Bible and My Music, God and me, on Omshash’s anniversary, 5 May, 2008.
On 5 May, 2007, I broke the record of attendance at the Zoo Park for a music show. This was the much anticipated Mshasho anniversary celebration. My managing company, Kool Production, under the arm of Mr Jay Malgas collaborated with Mshasho Records to stage a show of all shows ever held at the Zoo Park. My daughter was present, this is a blessing, and friends came in numbers to support me. (To be continued next Friday)