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Interview With Namibian Based Record Label RV INC


7 May 2004 No Comment

RV IN© is a young record label based in Windhoek, Namibia; founded by Stallin Kapembe, Leevy-Lee Abrahams, and Dandani Boois in early 2003. Wanting to find out more about their company, the industry and the hip hop scene in Windhoek I hooked up with them and got them to answer some of our questions.

When was RV IN© established and by who?

Stalin Kapembe, Dandani Boois and Leevy-Lee Abrahams – a well known Namibian Television personality – founded RV IN©, in early 2003. Its roots do not necessarily stem from 2003 but dates back as far as 2000: Initially, there was “The Syndicate” [a hip-hop group] that was made up of different emcees from countries afar [Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, etc.]. Some members of the Syndicate later decided to go into production in 2001 and that was when RV IN© was actually conceived.

Where in Namibia are you based?

RV IN© is based in the hospitable city of Namibia, Windhoek.

Is RV IN© strictly a record label or do you have other products/services?

No, although we primarily operate as a record label we also offer multimedia solutions for both small and medium enterprises as well as for larger co-operations. That is, services ranging from jingle productions, graphics designs, website designs and a lot of IT related consultations.

What style of music are you pushing?

RnB and Hip-Hop are our primary genres of choice. Today the music industry is crafted in such a way that a lot of hits are offspring’s of “Interbred Genres”. As such RV IN© welcomes collaborations with artist in genres other than Hip-Hop and RnB.

Which artists are signed to RV IN©?

Christi [Singer, Lyricist & Poet], Crazy [Oshiwambo Rapper], Don Gabrio [Rapper], eraze [Rapper], Geez Beatz [Dance Hall/Ragga], Rachel [Singer], Red Vandalz [Hip-Hop Group], Snazzy [Female Rapper], Tequila [Singer] and The Exception [Afrikaans Rapper].

What success have you had so far?

Rachel, won an Award last year at the first ever Sanlam Namibia Music Awards for Best Hip-Hop/RnB Female Vocalist. Christi and Snazzy were both nominated for the same award. In addition, RV IN© also managed to clinch various deals such as the National Road Safety Council’s Jingle Production contract. We have also produced a jingle for Dantani Entertainment for the theatre play Nujoma 59. A play that tells the story of the Namibian president around the time of the Old Location Massacre – this play will be performed on May 8, 2004 (as a gift to the president on his birthday). 

RV IN© is the first record label to release the longest LP [U’ve Been Fool’d: The Cause of the Effect] in Namibia’s Music History to date. The U’ve Been Fool’d: The Cause of the Effect CD features 22 tracks and a hidden track [23 classic Hip-hop and RnB track; and it is part of a Double Disc Album of which Disc Two will only be released during the second semester of the 2004. One of the songs featured on Disk Two is an international collaboration with Jymini, an American Rapper based in California. 

Is there a market for local hip-hop in Namibia?

Yes and No, like in any other business situation products need to be packaged, marketed and promoted; and that requires a budget. Sadly, not too many labels have a budget. RV IN© is fortunate enough to have a minimal budget that allows for this. Marketing is a proven tool in attaining maximum sales. There are many niches that exist in the Namibian Music market and not everyone has been accorded the chance to explore these niches. The sales potential exists; for instance our newest release started selling without any form of promotion. In fact, the marketing phase of this CD is only starting early May 2004. 

Is Namibia your only market or are you looking to push into South Africa, rest of the world?

Currently, we are restricting direct sales to Namibia but internationally we have been able to negotiate some lucrative business deals such as distribution deals for most parts of Europe and this will only be effective as of the third quarter of 2004. South Africa is yet another market that we are aiming at. We are in the process of negotiating a distribution deal for South Africa and Southern Africa in its entirety. We believe that our collaboration with Jymini – American based – will help us push into the American market; at least with regard to her fans we have a market. 

Is the Namibian media receptive to covering local music?

Yes, “The Namibian” [a Namibian Daily newspaper] publishes a supplement paper called “The Weekender” every Friday it covers local music, through reviews and articles. Radio Stations here play a lot of Namibian Music and are helping to help sustain music. Our local television station (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) welcomes local music and is even open in assisting with video shooting. 

What are the main obstacles in running this label?

Not having a big budget is a major constrained. Apart from that everything else is more part of a learning process than obstacles. 

Who does the production for your artists?

Stalin does most of the production; although we have other producers like Stealth [currently based in Zambia], and a trainee producer [Don Gabrio] and most importantly the artists are also very involved during production of their respective songs.

How has the media been treating your releases so far?

This is still too early to determine as our media campaign only starts in early May 2004. However, certain songs (Make it happen by Rachel, The radio will die by Christi, Lokasie Pratery by the Exception) have already gained airplay and have been well received. Through these efforts Rachel, Christi, the exception and RV IN© are already household names.

Is there opportunity for your artists to tour in the land of Nam?

Yes, our entire label is going on a southern Namibia tour [Keetmanshoop and Luderitz]. This will be at the end of June 2004. And we are planning road shows and more tours we could be in South Africa soon.

Are you able to live off this label or do you still have to do other things to pay the bills?

The label is starting to become sustainable. Yes, it is difficult in the beginning but everything starts to fall into place. Our other services are the ones keeping the music going.

How many units would an artist have to sell in Namibia to go gold or platinum?

Such status has not yet been established thus far. The Namibian Music industry is still growing. 

Are there any performing rights organisations in Nam such as the South African Samro and Sarrals?

Yes, we have the Namibia Society of Composers and Musicians (Nascam). 

From your label what releases can we expect this year?

We will release Disc Two of U’ve Been Fool’d, that is our main priority. We do not really want to focus on individual artists this year. We believe in collective efforts yes its working well that way. And a double CD is a lot of work; we are talking about 46 tracks or so.

What does the future hold for RV IN©? What is the ultimate aim?

More Awards, more CD sales and most importantly fulfilling our main objectives as envisaged in our Vision/Mission Statement. That is: 

Vision Statement
As a registered company, RV IN©, continuously strives to produce music of the highest standard and caliber, whilst promoting young aspiring artists that are willing to work hard to establish themselves in the music industry domestically and internationally via the use of the latest applied technologies.

Mission Statement
RV IN© aims to be the best music producer in the SADC region and the ultimate competition for other major Audio-Visual production houses, and to become a prominent player on the international table.

What does RV IN© stand for?

Red Vandalz Incorporated, named after the founding Group Red Vandalz

Where can you product be bought?

In stores around Namibia and can be ordered via mail order [Red Vandalz Entertainment, P.O.Box 80445, Olympia, Windhoek, Namibia, 9000 or Telephonically at +264812703852/ +264812862888] or via e-mail warner3c@yahoo.com / rvinc@webmail.co.za 

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions; do you have any last words?

Why rush for gold when you can walk for platinum. Everything in life happens for a reason [Cause and Effect – Causality]. To the entire world time is relative, just Einstein said; so it does not really matter when we hit your town all that matters is when we do it we will leave lasting proof on your pavements. Thanks Africa’s Gateway.

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