Local RnB singer Linda, real name Linda Pendukeni Simasiku, warmed her way into the public’s heart with her debut song ‘I Believe’. And the public loved her so much that she won the 2012 Namibia Music Awards for the Best RnB, Best Newcomer and Song of the Year. She then went to appear on stage at some event, which required her to perform ‘I Believe.’ Her performance was shocking. No one who watched the performance could believe that this is the award-winning singer of ‘I Believe.’ Then she did a Houdini – vanishing from the music scene and public eye altogether.
To be fair, the criticism from the Namibian public was harsh from the start. After the release of her hit song “I Believe”, featuring Zambian Peterson, which instilled fear in many big names on the local industry, critics where coming left and right on how bad of a singer she is. They even made statements that the ‘I Believe’ became a hit song because of the collaboration with Peterson.
The public didn’t care that standing before them is a teenager, a 14-year-old who has been thrust into the limelight too early and unprepared for the public scrutiny that comes with being an award-winning singer.
Linda now reveals that she has matured over the past three years and that she took a hiatus from music, which has resulted in her becoming more confident about herself.
The “I Believe” singer said she does not care about people’s opinions of her and does not feel apologetic about who she is.
“There were a lot of things I put off that I had to pick up later,” she admitted. “I am more mature and unapologetic about who I am and what I stand for. The new Linda is more social. I have gotten more courage, my stage presence is different and I’m going to love my fans more than I did before,” she tells New Era Weekend.
Where was she all those years of her absence from the public scene? “I was behind the scenes helping my mom with sound engineering, working as technician and at the same time I tried doing my Grade 12 but unfortunately my dad fell sick. He was in hospital and this year he passed on. After that I decided to take a break from everything, my music and literally my entire life. But a few people told me not let this affect me, so I decided to pick up where I left off and two weeks ago I started to perform again,” she says.
Linda says though her dad’s passing on had affected her a lot, it made her desire to fulfil what he always expected of her.
“My dad enjoyed my music and my dad was a very intelligent man. He always wanted his kids to always follow in his footsteps. So since I was unable to please him while he was still here, I decided I’ll rather do it now. So from next year, I don’t care how long it will take me, but I’m going to study, push my education until I get a degree in my hands,” she says.
On the comments that ‘I Believe’ became a hit because of Peterson, Linda had this to say: “When I met Peterson, he had only performed in Namibia once. So I would say he was not that much of a famous person here. The only popular song he did before our collaboration was ‘Memories’, featuring Fishman, but it didn’t go as far as I believe our song went, so it was a win-win situation on both sides.
“He received exposure from ‘I Believe’ and at the same time he also helped me make it big. When it came to the writing of the song, we sat down in studio together. There is not a single moment of that song that I have missed. I know people say I was too young to think of such a song but when the moment comes it just comes,” she says.
As far as Linda is concerned the criticism and name-calling only made her and her music stronger and better. “It made me strong and I told myself the music comes with a lot of negativity and critics.”
In addition to music, after winning numerous awards, Linda conducted a campaign aimed at helping school pupils titled ‘Help a Child, Pay School Fees’. She used some of the money she won at the NAMAs to pay school fees for underprivileged children in 13 schools countrywide – one child from each of the then 13 regions.
When asked on how her Help a Child Campaign is going, she says: “The campaign was put on hold simply because I withdrew far from my music, but it didn’t stop me from keeping in touch with those who I called my babies. They are still my children to me. I do visit them from time to time but otherwise I try to keep up with them although not the same way as before.”
“I’m going to look for sponsors because I want to make it bigger, now that school fees are free. I would help them in terms of school uniforms and try to make it different,” she says.
With the experiences and skills she’s gleaned over the intervening period, Linda is looking forward to releasing her new work.
“I’m promoting my new single titled ‘Ringtone’. The song is not known through radio and TV. It was simply shared through social media. How people got it [to share it on their mobiles], I don’t know. But I love that they are enjoying it. My third album is complete and is called ‘Superstar’. I would say it is completely different from the previous two,” she says.
“I will remain in the RnB field but people should expect a lot of dancing from me. I’m not the most flexible on stage but I try my best to entertain my fans. I’m not 15 anymore, so there is definitely going to be change. That’s the only thing that’s going to change, otherwise I am still the same Linda as I was before.”
Linda says she has been observing the local music industry and she loves the change that recognises upcoming artists and gives them an opportunity but still thinks the music industry needs much more corporate support.
“Artists need support. Sponsorships and people should not only pay attention to those who made it already. Allow artists to perform and explore. If we are going to get stuck to those who are already known, then there will be no change, but if we start supporting unidentified talent we are moving on the right track,” says Linda.
The come back is indeed true as the singer was seen performing at the recent IUM, NUST and Unam cultural festivals. Her third album “Superstar” will be released in due time and is said to prove her maturity and evolution.
“My new album is very much a grown-up affair. I’ve been away for a while, I’ve experienced so much and these changes come through in my music,” she says.