Windhoek-Max Hashoongo, better known as ‘Max The Don’, was an artists whose music dominated the airwaves almost seven years ago, having not only released hit tracks but also bagged local music awards.
So what drove him into the driving seat of a taxi? The Don is now a taxi driver in Windhoek, and can be seen on the route between the University of Namibia and the city centre.
New Era Weekend managed to have some quiet time with him amid Windhoek’s busy traffic. It turned out that music never put sufficient bread on his table, let alone enough food to feed his family.
So he chose to become a taxi driver, while at the same time exploring other business opportunities.
“I needed to grow up and fix myself. I have a family that I need to take care of and I needed to start from scratch, but the music industry never provided enough income,” he explained.
In hindsight, Max The Don says his finances are now better compared to when he was a fulltime musician. Today his daily income can average at N$1 000 – a figure he says is eons away from when he relied on singing to make money.
“I am doing better and I hope I will grow bigger in coming years,” he says.
Even the release of his first ever album ‘Thru-pass’ in 2008, which was well received, did nothing for his income. In fact, he says, music and performing are hobbies, and from the time he first started singing in 2003 they have never netted him enough income.
So he went into the taxi business, starting with one taxi in 2011. He is proud to say he now has three taxis on the road. In addition, he is also venturing into construction and retail.
“I am trying to do the best so that I can satisfy myself and my family,” he says, adding that he hopes that in five years time his business ventures will have grown to an extent where he can employ people, and he no longer has to drive the taxi himself.
But he wants to make one thing is clear: “I did not quit singing. I have just stopped being a fulltime musician, but I am still recording songs with Arafat of Triple 7.”
“When growing up, you have to venture into other businesses to meet your expenses,” says Max The Don.
After the former award-winning artist released his last album between 2010 and 2011 titled ‘Pain of Hustling’, he seemed to have disappeared from the industry into thin air.
Pain of Hustling included hot singles such as ‘Vandalize’ featuring prominent South African House singer Biblos and ‘Haihombola’ featuring Ricardo.
Since then, no one has ever heard from him, despite radio stations playing his music here and there.
Even though he won two awards for Best Afro Pop song at the NBC/Sanlam Music Awards and Cell One Namibia Music Awards in 2008 with the song ‘Tutyapuleni’ featuring Tequila, Max The Don still decided to become a taxi driver although he claims he never quit music.
Max The Don explained that he still goes to the studio to record songs in his free time. Meanwhile, he gave the public a tip to watch out for his hot singles coming up this year.
Max The Don was born in Lubango, Angola, on July 28 in the early 80s during the liberation struggle. During his school years – before joining the music industry – he used to be a poet and wrote many poems while schooling at the Augustineum Secondary School and at Ella du Plessis, where his passion for music started.
Having been a musician for a quite some time, Max The Don sees the music industry as a ‘tough game’ full of challenges.
He is known for working with the likes of Tequila, Qonja, Tre, Jwelz and Biblos.
He says this year he has pulled up his socks so he can do even better. He has so far worked with Arafat and DJ Style, who is one of the greatest house singers in South Arica.
He also plans to work with Zanele, a female singer known for working with The Matongo Family years back.
So far he has up to 20 songs ready for release. But first, he only wants to release two or three singles, as people have apparently forgotten about him.
Max The Don did not stage many performances when he was a full-time artist, but did perform at different events such as the cultural festivals at the Unam and the Polytechnic of Namibia (now Namibia University of Science and Technology).
He also performed at the Windhoek College of Education, Ongwediva College of Education, various music festivals and clubs such as Chez Temba, Club Heaven and the Warehouse Theatre.
His achievements in the music industry so far include releasing two successful albums, ‘Through Pass’ and ‘Hustle of Hustling’, which made him famous as well as won him awards and nominations for NAMAs.
*This story was originally published in New Era Weekend.