Namibian artists: trendsetters or followers of fashion?

THE one question I’ve been asking myself for many years is whether Namibian entertainers, specifically musicians, creative thinkers and innovators, are able to see what is on the horizon and create something people will adopt or follow, which leads to the progression of trend-followers?

What I am trying to establish is whether local musicians are able to create a unique locally rooted music that will make the country’s cultural offerings stand out by originating authentic music?

It’s not a secret that a few local artists feed on the foreign music and simply copy and Namibianise other people’s sound without any shame, but I believe there is much more to music than just following a trending sound.

I have reached a point where sometimes I get confused when a Namibian artist releases an afrobeat song that makes me question whether it’s the younger version of Davido. Or there are times I would listen to local house tracks and be like ‘Is this Maphorisa?’ until someone says ‘No it’s a Namibian song’.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all local artists copy foreign sounds, I am simply trying to stretch out my concern towards those who cannot express their creativity through music.

Of course, current music trends seem to be always changing and new marketing ideas need to emerge and classic methods evolve, however it is evident that many creatives are simply copying what others are doing and in a competitive music industry as ours, this behaviour has certainly proven that the art industry is still struggling to emerge.

When will Namibian artists start getting calls from big foreign cats wowed by our sound and requesting a collabo? The question is: until when are local musicians going to continue flashing money begging for international collaborations with artists who are sometimes just one-hit wonders in their own country?

We simply copy trends, music and even culture. So, it’s high time we find our own identity. Even popular musicians have lost the creative drive and emotional connection with their listeners. Music has become more of a competition to see who can sign the largest record deal or get the most views on YouTube.

I honestly believe that today’s popular music has crossed a line from being a money-making industry to a selfish, purely commercial art form.