Seed Sown, Fruits Realized, Namibia’s Most Popular Artist, The Dogg, How It All Started

How I helped start a successful music career for The Dogg, Namibia’s most successful artist; all from a 3-bedroom house that I had bought in Namibia before I turned 21.

As a Sound Engineer for the past nearly 24 years, previously working for major TV, film, and music recording studios in Namibia, Europe and the US., where I engineered several world’s and sporting events as well as live TV news and face-to-face interviews with some of the world renown personalities including Former President Bush (41) (USA), Former Prime Minister Tony Blair (Britain), Founding President Sam Nujoma (Namibia), Former President Nelson Mandela (South Africa), and a photo-op with Queen Elizabeth, dining at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth, working on numerous studio and live concerts with artists such as Seal, El Debarge, Brenda Fassie, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, MC Hammer, R. Kelly, Boys II Men, Paul Simon, U2, Lucky Dube, Billy Idol, and more.

The best of all of this; it’s that in the early 90s, I bought my first house in Okuryangava, Katutura, Windhoek in Namibia. I was working for NBC then, and I had lots of music instruments such as Guitars, Pianos, etc., and when I was not at work or traveling, I would be at home playing music, mostly hard rock and heavy metals, inspired by Def Leppard, AC/DC, etc. I was just 20 years old then and there used to be a group of young teens who would come to visit me and hang out with me; to play and listen to music. I was also in a church choir at my church, Full Gospel Church of God. So music for me was everywhere; at home, at church, and at work.

One of those teen friends were Maxton Gabriel (he’s one of the best Guitarists that I’ve ever met in the world), he’s awesomely talented. I remember him well because he used to teach me how to play the Guitar, and then again, I broadened him to the world of heavy metal sound, that pure distorted Guitar sound on my “Eric Clapton” inspired Fender Stratocaster.

Among the group of those young teens were Martin Morrocky (“The Dogg”), who’s now Namibia’s most popular, multi-award winning musician, producer and actor), his sisters Monika (“Diamond”), Magano, and brother, Doe. There were many other teen friends, whom some of them have today become successful in their careers, such as Tilly, now a successful Land Surveyor in Namibia.

Unfortunately, I didn’t remember some of these kids, now that they have grown up, not until my friend Kaunda, who I haven’t seen in nearly 20 years, and my young brother, Thomas, who both came to visit me yesterday and started telling me some of the fun stuff we used to do, including some of the people I used to help.

It’s Thomas and Kaunda who reminded me of Martin, Monika, Doe, Maxton, Magano, etc. They were telling me how I used to teach them how to play music and sing; all from my 3-bedroom house. My brother Sackey has been trying to tell me about Doe and his brother The Dogg, but I just never really paid him attention, I always just tell them that I don’t remember them.

But, little that I knew then as I know now, these kids have since grown up to become what they have become today. And The Dogg is a success story in the Namibian community.

Who would have known or thought that, just by spending some time with these kids after work and school that they were actually learning and listening to me? I am profoundly honored, and I feel humble from the bottom of my heart, and very grateful for the achievement and success of The Dogg.

I will continue to share my skills and knowledge through my Meetup Series, which so far, I have held 5 different Meetup Series on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership in Windhoek, Namibia. And I have one coming up on Software and Applications Development. My next Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership Meetup Series would be in Otjiwarongo, Luderitz, and Oshikango, Namibia.

I’ve spent most of my life helping and mentoring people, especially young people, especially in the US, and it’s good to see that, some of my seeds that I have been sowing, have actually sprouted and grown into awesome fruits.

I’m so very proud to have started and paved a way for The Dogg’s music career, and his brother Doe, who’s now a successful architect. Oh, did you know that Doe is the architect designer for the building that houses the National Youth Service of Namibia opposite the Katutura Magistrate Courts?

I’m looking forward to seeing more and more great things to happen in Namibia, especially with the development of our Groot Town Center ecosystem. When people are united, they can do anything. Hence with Namibia, the birthplace of humans; as “One Namibia, One Nation”, anything is possible.

The Next Best Thing, Yet to Come, It’s The Next Biggest in Social Media!

For the past 3 years while finishing up my study at OSU; I was also busy working on setting up my start-up Kapenda Media Group, and developing some small but really cool web tools such as; RentersQ (www.rentersq.com), Wrisen (www.wrisen.com), the newly finished Ticked.me (www.ticked.me), the soon to be launched Laatie (www.laatie.com), Welated (www.welated.com), and more.

I’m not going to create any more new web tools, instead, I will now focus on growing them. But the whole deal behind developing these tools was, to gain more traction with social media. Because, I have a project that I came up with in 2004, has been under my desk for all this time, but when it is done and launched, it will be bigger than the much-anticipated Google Wave, bigger than YouTube, and bigger than Twitter (yes, I’m not kidding). It’s the next Skype of social media, and Skype currently has over 500 million users worldwide.

It’s the kind of the web tool that will change the way you and your family watch web videos and play music online. And I have a great and talented team of developers in Russia working on this project.

So, be prepared to have more fun and the best experience in social media. Look out for this new platform. It’s going to be the Biggest and the Best Thing in Social Entertainment Media. It will be ready for private beta use by mid 2010.

Now, please go check out my new tool, Ticked.me at http://ticked.me and please let me know what you think about it. And yes, now that you ask, I need funding for this project. So, contact me.

African Prince, the New Reality TV Show

African Prince - the reality TV show
African Prince – is a reality TV show that I’m creating and will be working on as soon as Welated and Wrisen are fully operational, which should be in the next two weeks.

This show will be fun, entertaining, tantalizing and heart throbbing. As a sound engineer, who has spent years in music, TV and film production, I want to do something I know very well and enjoy the most, and this is it, it’s going to be fun…!

Just stay tuned, more info will follow soon.

Adam Lambert, the Next American Idol Winner and Best Selling Rocker of His Generation

From the first day Adam Lambert stepped on the stage in the audition room, looking all weird with his colored hair, like a sick, wet bird, I knew there was something real weird about him, but when he opened his mouth and blared out that high pitch note, I instantly knew he was going to sail all the way through.

Most of us have seen his magnificent transformation, from looking like a silly, surly looking, skateboarding homeless kid, to a unique, star in the making. Since Elvis Presley to Freddy Mercury, there has never been any other rocker, who has the charisma, talent, and all the stuff to cement him as the best and genuine male rock singer than Adam Lambert.

Even the American Idol, since its debut in the US, it has never produced anyone, who is as good as Adam Lambert. And, he’s going to be one of the best selling and biggest rockers since the invention of rock music. He’s got everything needed to be a rock star, he’s got the look, attitude, and the best thing about him is that he’s still humble and down to earth.

As the show progressed. I stopped trying to figure out who’s going to be the next American Idol, because my mind has already been set on Adam Lambert. This year, there were lots of contestants, some seemed to have great talent and some are just stagnant frogs made to make Adam Lambert sound even better.

There is no doubt in my mind that Adam Lambert is going to be crowned the next American Idol. And not only that, he’s going to fill concert arenas, and will become the next biggest and best selling artist, and I’d love to record engineering one of his songs.

So, please, just stop the show now, and give Adam Lambert his prize and send him to the studio to record his new single and subsequently, the next best selling CD.

Are ‘Music’ Record Labels Still Needed?

When coming to the Internet and music, there has been a long history of disruptive innovations, which some have caused controversy in online marketplace, but most of them have changed the music business and its revenue flow model.

In April 2000, Prince, also known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, became the first subject ever, to trade music online, in terms of pay-to-download. He released his remix album, “Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic”, exclusively through his NPG Music Club. That was in the year 2000, and the music industry should have seen this coming, but they stayed asleep, while the online music marketplace moved forward, evolved, and embraced the new business model, a no-revenue generation model as opposed to the traditional brick-and-mortal music stores.

The article, How Much Music is Worth, which was published in the Newsweek magazine, of October 29, 2007, further describes the disruptive online marketplace for the music industry. The article talks about the British rock band, Radiohead, which caused even further controversy in online music marketplace.

The band produced its much anticipated new CD, “In Rainbows”, but didn’t release it in the old fashion way, but made it available for download online. Not for-pay to download, such as what Prince did in April 2000, but for Radiohead, anyone could download its newly produced CDless music from the band’s official web site, and the twist to this was; there was no price tag on it, for what the user should pay to download the music.

The band left the price field empty left it up to the user to decide how much to leave in the band’s eshopping cart for downloading its songs. That’s right, you could download the entire new CD, without paying a dime, it’s up to you to decide how much to pay. But to get an unprotected code, a user is required to pay only $0.90, so you could download and play the songs on any device such as iPods, Zunes, and PCs.

The article reports that in the first few days of the band releasing their new eCD, over 1.2 million visitors to its web site downloaded “In Rainbows”. The article further states that consensus survey found that many customers paid $5 to $15 to download the band’s music, while some paid nothing.

But that’s not the whole story; the music industry has long been faced trouble, with users downloading songs online for free. It all started with the then Napster, which allowed the sharing and downloading of music online by anyone, anywhere. This led to the music industry scrambling to file lawsuits for anyone and everyone who downloaded their music online. To which they had no success, because two weeks ago, the music industry organization RIAA announced that it will no longer file lawsuits for sharing and downloading songs online for free.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, seemed like he was the long awaited savior of online music, with his introduction of IPod and iTunes Music Store.

However, to make it even worse, Steve negotiated with the music record labels to sell songs on Itunes Music Store for a flat fee of $0.99 per each song and only $10 per each CD download. This price is rather ridiculously low compare to the traditional CD pricing, which can rack up to $17 per CD, but with that, you get a CD with all kinds of songs, even those you don’t like. But, with online music, you get to pick which one you want and don’t want. The music industry went along with Steve’s proposal. However, they became unhappy because they realized that Steve was making more money selling iPods, than they do selling songs.

The article asks if $0.99 is the right price paid for each song on Steve’s iTunes Music Store. The answer is no. But it caused a high price elasticity of demand for online music trading.

“In general, as the price of a good rises, consumers will usually demand a lower quantity of that good; they may consume less of that good, substitute it with another product, etc. Actually, the greater the extent to which demand falls as price rises, the greater is the price elasticity of demand. Conversely, as the price of a good falls, consumers will usually demand a greater quantity of that good: consuming more of that good, while dropping substitutes” (Wikipedia.org).

In this case, as the price of music falls due to the downloading and sharing of songs online for free, the greater the demand, causing the price elasticity of demand to skyrocket. This in part is due to the fact that, even if consumers have no substitute for music, it’s not like, when the price of music rises, that consumers will replace it with something else, they just stop demanding for more. But now, they have more option on where to buy or share their music, or rather, where to download, at the lowest price and sometimes for free. And, free is always better when coming to music.

Newsweek Magazine should not have asked how much music is worth, but whether Record Labels are still needed, given that any artist can now release an album or in this case, an eCD, and make it instantly available to the general Internet users, without involving the Record Labels’ bureaucracy.

How to Produce a Successful Music Concert

There are some people who constantly ask how does one become or organize or plan to produce a concert?

Well, here is what you may do;

You already know most of the artists, you listen to music all the time, so you basically know which most people, your audience like and listen to most; so that’s who you want to focus on booking for your next concert.

The type of the artist you are considering has to be able to fill the venue you have in mind for the concert. I have worked in the past on concerts with artists like Seal, Boyz II Men, Simple Minds, Paul Simon, etc., so I don’t really know how to book an artist, not so huge for a small concert. The type of the artist you are considering has to be able to fill the venue you have in mind for the concert.

I have worked in the past on concerts with artists like Seal, Boyz II Men, Simple Minds, Paul Simon, etc., so I don’t really know how to book an artist, not so huge for a small concert. I am currently in the middle of the negotiation to produce a great live conference event and music concert with some of the world’s best acts in Sandton, Johannesburg in October 2009.

So, this is what I usually do when I plan to produce a new live concert; I first figure out the type of music I want to have for the concert and the artist(s), and then I check out the venue, it has to be the appropriate venue, the venue that my prospective artist(s) can fill out at full capacity.

And then I check out if that artist is on tour and if he or she is, if she or he will be in the proximity area. Because if they are on tour, you’ll get her or him cheaper, because they already are scheduled to be in the area.

And once I check out their tour schedule, and even if they are or not on tour, then I contact their management. You can find their management contact information everywhere, CD covers, official web sites, etc., and if you can’t find his or her management contact info, I usually just contact his or her record company, and this is what I say when I contact his record company.

Hi, my name is this and that, would you please give me the booking contact info for your artist “artist name”. And they will be gladly give it to me, no further questions asked.

And then I contact their booking agent, and this is what I say. I am this and that, “my name”, with “company name” and I am interested in booking your “artist name” for a show in “city name”, and then they may cut me right off and ask me, what venue, and I tell them the venue. If they are not familiar with the venue, they will ask me how many audience does it hold, and then I tell them because I have already checked it out and know it well.

And then, they may ask me what is our budget, and here is where I don’t tell them how much I have, because they are simply trying to figure out how much to charge me. And I simply tell them that I’d like to know their fees, and they will ask me how much will I sell the tickets for, and then I give them a bulk figure.

Then they may ask me if the artist will be the headliner and or will there be other artists and I tell them yes or no, depends on what/how I am doing the concert.

And then they give me a bulk figure of how much the artist charges, including lodging and air fare and ground transportation. Then if the price is reasonable, I may proceed. What they will need from me from there on is an official offer from me stating exactly my offer to the artist, fees, etc, for the artist to do the proposed show.

This is where the catch comes in. Your letter has to be worded professionally and on a company letterhead. Because they will take that letter and evaluate it and then decide whether to accept the offer or not.

If they accept the offer, they will contact me, and if they don’t contact me sooner, then I contact them to follow up in a day or two. Then once I or they call me back, then they will, not me, draft up an Agreement with all the details; including their Rider Agreement, which simply details their production requirement and stuff, such as their sound, lighting requirement, etc.

They will likely require a deposit depends on your letter offer, they may require 50% up front and the rest on the day of the show before the show or a few days before the show, this is really just depends on how they trust you and or believe in your financial ability.

But before you sign and pay your deposit, make sure you also have talked and secured the venue for the exact date and time.

There are many details and stuff that follow and leads up to the show. I used to do this full time for a minute. I am a certified audio and multimedia engineer, worked for a major TV network and other Film companies around the world doing live TV news, ENG, live sound, studio recording, engineering, mastering, sporting events production, etc., and concert production. I co-founded a record label and production studios, I have worked on many numerous concerts around the world, at one of the worlds’ largest out door concerts with The Rembrandts, and many other acts. So, I have the experience and skill in doing this.

I still do that, but only part time though, because I love it and now, I mostly volunteer doing sound at my church, The Potter’s House, and yes, it has one of the finest sound and TV production equipment. Feel free to come visit with us and check out our system.

So, if you need help in producing your next show, feel free to contact me. And boy, typing these long stuff is just too much time consuming, but I don’t mind helping out. And I am located in Columbus, Ohio and I go back and forth to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York. So, if I can help, just let me know.

Hopefully this helps a bit and good luck!

Saddened by the Sudden Death of My Friend, Lucky Dube

Today, the whole world is greatly saddened by the tragic loss and sudden death of one of the world’s greatest musicians ever, Lucky Dube (www.luckydubemusic.com).

Lucky Dube, 43, was shot last night by three hijackers in Rosettenville, just south of downtown Johannesburg, as he was dropping off his teenage son at his brother’s house. Check out some of his music at Free.Napster.

As a sound engineer, I had the honor and pleasure of spending a great deal of time with Lucky Dube in the 90’s, working and doing live sound for his concerts in Namibia and Europe. I grew up listening to Lucky Dube’s music in Namibia; he’s one of my favorite artists of all time.

But before I met him in person, I used to think that he was like most other Rastafarians; smoking Marijuana and drinking alcohol, but to my surprise, the first time I met him in around October 1991, if my memory serves me right, at Katutura Stadium, where he was performing and I was assisting with the Front House sound.

During the break, we all left the stage and went inside the room, underneath the stage to get some snacks and rest up a bit, and one of the promoters asked him if he smoked Marijuana and drank alcohol, and Lucky Dube softly and gently answered him that he never smoked Marijuana or cigarettes and he didn’t drink alcohol.

But by the way he looks, like a Rastafarian; anyone who didn’t personally know him would undoubtedly conclude that he smoked Marijuana and drank alcohol and worships the Rastafarian religion, but he said that he didn’t believe in smoking or drinking and that he was a Christian and strongly believe in Jesus Christ, son of God.

I was sitting there starring at him with my eyes wide open; I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, because I have always thought that Lucky Dube was like every other Rastafarian such as Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, and others, but not Lucky Dube.

I usually really didn’t care too much about who I was working with at any time, but I instantly liked Lucky Dube even more, not only as an artist, but as a person and a friend. He was real in his music. Most artists sing about things just for the sake of selling records, but Lucky Dube believed in what he sang.

He was a true comrade; very kind, generous in terms of just talking, giving advices, and helping others, and all he talked about was about how one can make it in life, for anyone to take care of one’s personal responsibilities, family value, friendship and good citizenship.

After that concert, we ended up being good friends, and although I haven’t seen or talked to him in years, I’ve always thought that may be one day, we would be doing some stuff, like business, together, but I guess I had forgotten that time was not on our side.

Now he’s gone, gone but not forever. His physical being might have gone away from this earth, but his spirit and music will always live forever. Lucky Dube was one of the nicest and kindest persons I have ever met and known.

Let your spirit and music live forever, Lucky Dube. Let Jah live!