Many in the creative industry face a grim future as Covid-19 pandemic continues to threaten their livelihoods.
While fans might be missing the creative atmosphere of live music, the artists themselves are missing out on a vital part of their livelihood.
With entertainment events postponed or cancelled, artists and event organisers are feeling the heat of Covid-19 outbreak.
A 26-year-old upcoming artist Fesse Amunyela well known as Fiddy the Rapper said It has been a challenge as artists are not allowed to go to the studio as per lockdown regulations, and this was the perfect time to be releasing music in this digitally connected era.
“Obviously I couldn’t miss the trend so I started my own personal daily rap challenge which allowed me to sharpen my skills while interacting with my fans,” he said.
He further added that if lockdown is to be extended, he wouldn’t be able to provide for his family as his brand isn’t sustainable enough for him to not be performing.
“Streaming doesn’t earn nearly what is required to support a family yet, although it is important to note that lockdown will eventually end and I simply need to keep entertained in order to take advantage of the opportunity artist have during lockdown to grow their fan bases,” he concluded.
Namibian performing and recording artist Big Ben said that at this point he can only beg his fans and music lovers, in general, to hang in there, be ready to hold the hands of artists and help all of them recover from the pandemic when it is time. He added that through this thick and thin times, they will overcome and rise again.
“This time we will surpass ourselves and rise higher,” he said.
He further said that government only pays special attention to specific industries and that the creative industry is also a specific interest group with unique needs and needs a tailor-made response, therefore most importantly, the government has a responsibility to consider everybody in relation to the little resources available to them.
“I suppose only a few of us with proper business structures and records can even bother to apply for that, the remainder of my peers will still be stranded with the rest of the informal business sector,” said Big Ben.
2019 Namibia Musical Awards female and artist of the year winner, Lize Ehlers said she has been hit hard emotionally and financially, however, she has been doing online live streams every weeknight from 19:30 to 20:00 to interact with her fans and to sing her original music from her 6 albums including various singles.
“I have been speaking to fellow creatives about how we need social security of our own in times like these and how we can possibly set up a fund that acts as an insurance in times where artists are unable to get an income, it is a slow process but it is in process,” said Ehlers.
Ehlers touched on the matter of artists not seen as an essential service, although everyone is enjoying the effects of creative relief through movies, puzzles, music and more at home.
She emphasised that artist offer valuable emotional escape and should be seen in a more positive light in Namibia.
“I really hope the ministry creates a performance platform that will pay artists of various disciplines to perform live online and to pay artists directly from the ministry,” she concluded.
Lahja Haufiku who is the newest Manager of Wise Music, managing Samuel Shines a musician and entertainer said that during this pandemic, she has gotten enough time to study and master the skills of being a good artist manager. She added that Covid-19 has affected her life as well as that of shines.
“It is really an unfortunate and sad reality to all entertainers who are left with no alternative way of making ends meet, online concerts only serves a purpose of meeting fans demands but hardly contribute to fundraising unless booked by a certain organisation”, she said.