Kwaito musician, Exit, talks openly to New Era Weekend about his feelings towards the elusive Namibia Annual Music Awards and his solo music career.
It was exactly 10 years ago when new kids on the block, Exit na Mushe, made a grand entrance on the music scene. The debutants were hot and fresh, and so were their kwaito beats on the airwaves. That was until they parted ways in 2010, with each going solo. It was here that the music careers of Exit (real name David Shikalepo) and Mushe (real name Albert Uulenga) took different trajectories.
Since then they each have been working hard to prove who between them is the best.
Mushe would go on to shine in the 2012 Namas, where he was nominated in six categories – Best Afro-Pop, Best Collaboration, Best Kwaito, Best Single, Best Song of the Year and Best Male Artist of the Year. That night he walked away with the Best Male Artist of the Year and his song ‘Wumwe Otati Kalako’ won the Best Single Award. From then onwards Mushe would dominate the Namas.
Exit, however, has not won as many Namas. Exit did surprise many when in 2013 he won the Most Disciplined Artist of the Year Award, but declined to accept it. In the 2014 Namas, he won the Best Kwaito Artist of the Year and the Most Popular Song of the Year as well as the Radio Song of the Year. In 2015, he won the Best Kwaito. However, the much-coveted Best Male Artist of the Year has remained elusive despite the fact that his music has been well received by his fans.
“I don’t know what’s wrong. And as for how I feel, I’ve come to make peace with the routine [of not winning many Namas] because a few friends and sympathisers have told me the brutal truth that some award winners are determined by certain relationships, friendships and other affiliations. So, I denounce [those who want] to quantify the success of my music on award accolades,” says Exit.
“The Namas can keep on killing the faint-hearted, but they will never accomplish killing the music in me. A talented soul once said ‘they can have the Grammys, we got the streets”, he intimates to New Era Weekend. The astonishing and genius, Exit, speaks openly about his music career that started from the humble beginnings.
Evidently though, Exit does not appear bitter or resentful for not winning as many Namas. Neither does he show any signs of jealous towards his former band member, Mushe’s success.
The 27-year-old musician describes his duet days as Exit na Mushe as an eye opener, a period in which he learnt much about the music industry, and that would be the foundation on which he is building his current music career.
“All the best artistes start in groups, trios or duets with a passion at heart of mastering the art of music. But the growth of a musician is determined in a solo career,” says Exit, adding that his music has been rated systematically among the best, but evaluated as underrated.
For now, Exit is travelling from town to town, spreading the gospel of his record label brand ‘Rockaz’, adapting and engaging with the people in various towns for adventurous experiences.
“Seeing the writings on the walls, fans tattooed with Rockaz, has been my inspiration to date,” he says.
Exit’s second album, ‘I am Rockaz’, which was released in 2011, was one of the albums that put him in the limelight. The album reflected and portrayed everything that Exit went through in life. His other hit albums include the ‘Judgment Day’, ‘I am tha Truth’ and ‘Black is Boss’.
Although some fans feel that Exit is losing his touch in music, he says: “Nothing ‘happened’ to my music, but something is ‘happening’ to my music.
“The albums are generating money for businesses, as they play in the bars’ jukeboxes, on television, the radio frequencies, and when I hear it (his music) playing in the cars driving past me, everyday the generation appreciates me.”
At personal level, Exit described his children as his inspiration. “I am a proud father of my children. They have been the blessings in my life, and fuel to the motivation that drives me. As a man, I work for my family, making sure they get the best education, the love and care are but a few of my accomplishments as a proud father,” he explains.
He is excited about his recent appointment as the Country’s Goodwill Ambassador against Gender Based Violence by the First Lady of Namibia, Monica Geingos. His is also proud to be the TB Ambassador for the ministry of health. “In this capacity, I have visited different regions over the years on World TB Day, advocating for the ministry, warning the youth and the elders about the dangers and safety measures against tuberculosis,” he says.
For now, Exit is working on his massive project – his seventh album to be titled ‘CumLaude/Back to the Roots’. It is an album that he says would be one of his best albums. The album will be launched next month.
He would not discuss the songs on the album – only saying he has never produced bad songs. Neither would he disclose the artistes working with him on the album, saying: “The copycats and the less creative ones are on standby to claim what is not theirs.”
Exit was raised in the dusty town of Oshakati, and attended school in and around that vicinity from lower primary to high school at Negumbo Senior Secondary School, and went on to the University of Namibia.