The success of artistes like Gazza, The Dogg, Tate Buti, PDK, Lady May and Promise has often been trumpeted as if such is intrinsic to the beholders or to themselves.
But behind their success has been an unobtrusive figure in the persona of sound engineer Solani “Glo” Zulu, who rose to fame when he released Gazza’s Afro-dance song ‘Seelima’ in 2011.
Born in Lusaka, Zambia, Glo became an inspirational music producer to many young people when he initiated his Glo Production, which was behind almost every successful artiste in Namibia. Glo was raised by a single mother, and says he never met his dad because he passed on when he was very young.
“Growing up was another experience in life. I got to see the bad and the good,” says Glo, adding that his childhood life was not impressive, as his mother was very young and jobless, resulting in his difficult upbringing.
His mother and he were under the care of the late Patty Geingos, while they were all in Zambia, before moving to Namibia in the 1990s. “Although my mother was just offered a job by the late Geingos, the relationship became very strong and we became part of the family. She had been taking good care of us ever since.”
Moving to Namibia was another story, as Glo had to grow up in a hostel while attending his education at the People’s Primary School in Katutura. “This is the time life taught me not to be selfish and to appreciate everything I get in life.”
Glo furthered his secondary schooling at the Jan Jonker Afrikaner High School in the capital.
In 2001, he could no longer continue with his schooling as he was compelled to financially sustain himself and to help his mother with some earnings as well. “I had to look for any kind of job, knocking doors house to house, even just to clean yards and it was never working out,” says Glo.
After much trials and tribulations, he eventually landed at the College of the Arts (COTA) where he learned more about music skills while at the same time struggling to land a decent job. He later met a friend who offered him a job at the airport selling books, magazines and travel and tourism pamphlets. “After sometime I got another job at NamPost at the airport and worked there for two years. There I got experience and some sort of training.”
In 2009, his friend had to leave the country and he ended closing his businesses and Glo found himself jobless once again.
“I had to start from scratch, trying to find another job to put bread on the table. But with the experience from NamPost, I started helping one of my aunts with administration work at her office.” Glo had to face yet another challenge in 2009, having to move out of his mother’s house to live on his own since he was a grown up now. He could not fathom overcrowding his mother’s small house. With his experience from COTA, he started selling beats for N$300 to different artistes. “People realised that I was that good at beats and they kept buying from me.”
Same years later, he met Elvo who eventually opened his eyes to the world of music production. He had been helping him to produce and record for different artistes parting ways in 2012, when Glo joined the Omalaeti Music Production. He worked as a fulltime sound engineer and it is there where he produced all the albums that have since been released under Omalaeti to date.
After 2015, Glo says he needed to grow and left Omalaeti to start his own Glo Music Production, which is currently making waves. Going solo was never easy thus he had to team up with Arrafat of Triple 7 and Antonio of Deal Done Records as his business partners. As they say, the rest is history.
His studio is on the corner of Jenner and Pasteur streets in Windhoek West. This year, Glo made another headline when his partners and he established My Ongoma Media, a company that united all female artistes and produced songs for one album.
“By creating this company, we wanted to bring unity and peace among female musicians and for them to start working together,” he says, explaining why they chose to target women artistes. Glo adds that My Ongoma is his new future and will take the Namibian industry a step further.
In five years’ time, he sees himself a married man with children and two branches of Glo Music Production thus creating employment for fellow Namibians. He advises the youth not to give up, and to stay strong despite all the setbacks.