Kamanjab-DJ Alba Nalo, one of Namibia’s first crop of female deejays, says promoters are one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of both artists and DJs.
“Promoters will forever be one of the biggest problems DJs and artists will have to deal with. They would rather pay an outside artist large sums of money but refuse to empower their own. I keep saying exposure will not pay my bills,” DJ Alba Nalo states.
The 26-year-old says there are a few professional female DJs in the country. She and DJ Maggz started around the same time in 2012 when women handling the DJ deck were unheard of.
“We built a name for ourselves as the years went by. The music industry is very welcoming to female DJs too,” she says.
Working hard and staying consistent is the only way to keep the spot in the industry. DJ Alba Nalo advises that one cannot wake up today and decide that they are a DJ and by tomorrow they feel like: “‘This is not paying’. No one will take you seriously and I have seen quite a lot of that. People forget that nothing comes easy. How badly you want it will show in your dedication,” she reflects.
DJ Alba Nalo grew up listening to radio because she was never fortunate enough to grow up in a household with a DSTV. So Channel O and other music channels where a luxury. She still has a portable cassette player her aunt bought her. So, DJ Alba Nalo would sit in front of the radio and record her favourite songs.
“Radio was my only refuge. I remember my aunt buying me a portable cassette player, which I still have by the way,” she reminisces.
Her career highlights include DJs playing at the 2017 Namibian Music Awards nominations party and DJing at Kuisebmond stadium for Casper Nyovest. DJ Alba Nalo also last year performed at the Harders Cup in Lüderitz.
They have established a female DJs support network, supporting other women who want to become DJs, but forewarns them that the Namibian entertainment industry is still a ‘baby’ and is not a walk in the park either. “One thing I want to highlight to you (female DJs) is that you need a tough skin to survive,” advises DJ Alba Nalo. According to her female DJs need to work ten times more and harder and just like any other DJ they need to offer something different.
About the Namibian entertainment industry, DJ Alba Nalo says it is still a baby compared to South Africa that is literally in its adult stage, running the African music scene with Nigeria, according to her. DJ Alba Nalo has not crossed the borders yet, but her ultimate dream is to play at DJoon a club in Paris, France as well as at the Tomorrowland events in Europe. She loves listening to European music like Dub for inspiration and one day will like to work with DJ Juicy M.
She advises fellow DJs to ensure that their music is up to date. “When I am booked for club events I always play RnB and hip hop as well as house music. For corporate [events], you need to bring out all your guns. So, I take my whole collection because you never know,” DJ Alba Nalo advises.
Last year, DJ Maggz and DJ Alba Nalo released a single titled ‘Get Lifted’ featuring Erna Chimu and KpIllest and now the pair is busy working on a new project with the assistance of DJ Kboz and Sally. During the week, DJ Alba Nalo is preoccupied with her jewellery line at the House of Nalo and takes to the deck over weekends.