If you see me walk around in Gaborone, I am never without a notebook of some sort – even when I go out on Saturday night – you never know when a song or something to note will come. Yes, yes, that is sooo analogue of my nature, seeing as we are living in a digital age, but still I enjoy the ink stains on my fingers, cramps on my wrists and throwing away my pen-caps when they have been chewed for days.
Fast-forward to one of the Miss Crescent School pageants when my school buddy and I danced to back and forth by Aaliyah as a talent feature and Shanti Lo danced to a dance track called ‘so very lonely’. I love that tune still. Then we come to a few years later, when being a performer was and is still something I can do, want to do but as a hobby. When you have a gift or talent you do not perceive as the outside world does – you see it as a part of you, and its development is not as imperative. Well, that is with regard to me.
I used to date an animator who would draw such great, sexy looking female caricatures – like Xena-looking, anime-kinda characters with big breasts, hour-glass figures with the most futuristic weapons or gadgets. I know what I look like as a ‘popae’, and since seeing that I thought: “I want my music videos to be animated”. Easier said than done indeed, I mean I pictured sketching a storyboard (thank you Mr Miller and Mr Nebe for teaching me the technicalities like script-writing and story-boarding. I need those skills now more than ever).
The idea came with my fear of when the fame comes, and after watching a lot of my ‘celebrity’ friends not having the privacy they want – that I would become a slave to my fans. For instance, Jabulani Tsambo known as HHP is one of those really humble open people – a gift and a curse when it comes to fans and admirers because he cannot even go to Melville, sit down on 7th and have a chilled late lunch with his son, Leano on a quality time tip. There is always someone that wants a picture or sign this or that – slavery I tell you! But you must receive the people that appreciate you and your art, however, experiences such as those bred a fear inside somewhat that I would not have my time. So enter, my genius pan to do animated music videos, like the Gorillaz do and keep my private life. I would be a faceless mystery. *Sigh*
Then, broke times, resource change in terms of people to work with at all stages and just personal growth and time affect all those plans. Aside from the frustration of not accessing a disciplined studio, producer and engineer, there is still raising the funds, finding the location and getting the team for the video work. I saw my current partner, Aether go through the frustrations while trying to do a video for ‘these streets’ a single produced by Godemat of Sickbunch from his mixtape titled ‘Memories of the Darkside’ and it made me even more scared. Setting targets that are delayed by things beyond your control, expectations of friends, fans and family (gore ba seka bare wa claim-a, ba bangwe ba go file madi gore o diragatse). The self-confliction and never ending self-blame, oh, and do not forget the actual standing in front of the camera, remembering your words, and portraying the character that you have written about in your song – while trying not to feel stupid. I think I would feel really stupid and we would have a few laughing moments – seeing as I will be singing really emotional tracks. Perhaps acting classes would come in handy because tota hela… *Giggles*
I asked some fellow artists who have videos playing on radio and television what they do: mime, actually sing or rap, or both – are they tipsy – do they shoot them in the morning or evening - how and what is the perfect way to go about one’s video shoot. Most of them said the rap or sing- ‘it would be so odd to just stand there or get your dance on but just moving your lips, lol’, comments @SasaKlaas on twitter. I also asked who they thought was the best local music video director and it took a long time for me to get a response. Shay from the duo Blain and Shay said Smokey and judging from two or three videos that I have seen Smokey do, I would agree but depending as well on the concept of the video etc…
The quality of videos in Botswana has improved looking at Mapetla and the Marked Men’s video making it on rotation on ChannelO and MTVBase. Big up to them and after years of wanting to be on a video, I realised it is not a piece of cake. Even doing a TV advert, the production process must be tiresome. I think I am a long way away from releasing my own product, let alone a music video. I am still in fear. But I am hoping that knowledge, patience and pure panning will liberate me from the grasp of fear. Well done to all those that have managed. May you maintain and do not drop off the face of the earth. We want to see the BEE-DUB vibe take over our screens. Let us be slaves to fans. Fans be the masters of our art. How else will we know if we are getting it right?