With a number of Namibian music folk styles such as pop, rock, reggae, jazz, house, hip hop, house and kwaito, raising the bar, talented Christopher J Grand has committed to bring Afrikaans music at par. He made his name at 2016 Namibia Annual music Awards and the artist has taken on the challenge to grow the music industry and he is not leaving behind the genre less celebrated.
With only one debut album and Best Afrikaans and Best Kizomba from last year’s awards, the Windhoek born singer and writer has in a short period built a firm foundation for himself and his enigmatic personality.
“I started singing when I was a little boy and stopped when my voice broke at 13. Interspersed with performances under the guiding hand of Ernst van Biljon, Christopher then joined Namibian Song Night 6 years ago. I met Lize Ehlers at Avani where she was performing and I told her that I could sing. She told me to take the mic and do my thing.”
Christopher has since put pen to paper with the help of the Song Night platform, launching his first album a year ago that earned him commercial recognition. But in the bloated industry with filtered talent, what makes the artist unique besides his eye-brow raising fashion taste at big events?
“What makes me stand out is my desire to give back to my community. I just don’t want to do beautiful music, but I also desire to be known as an artist that gives back to the very same community that appreciates my talent. So the profits I make must always go back.”
When probed about his flambouyant sence of dress he smiles and says “people always ask me what inspires my costumes at events and I tell them that the fact that they notice me serves as the ultimate satisfaction. I will never conform to the norm. I want to stand out. You don’t need to like me but respect my work. At least my attire makes people notice me so I don’t mind.”
Last year in March, inspired by the proposed Harambee Prosperity Plan, the full-time artist journeyed on a project that speaks to Harambee through music. Details on the progress of the project are still in infancy but the dream has birthed a song which the writer penned for President Hage Geingob. The song was presented to Geingob at his 75th birthday last year and played at the Hage Geingob Cup. Christopher is hopeful that he will meet the president one day.
On his calender for the year, Christopher is currently busy with his second album titled ‘Taking Control’ that is due to drop at the end of September. While speaking of giving back, the artist is working on a show to promote Afrikaans music with the objective of raising money for the Cancer Association.
“I have lost three loved ones to the deadly disease. So we want to create awareness in the nation at large that people who are diagnosed with cancer should not hide because there is help.
The platform will also celebrate Afrikaans music. The genre is not much celebrated like others because there are no platforms. I think of a few Afrikaans music shows that used to happen in the past but there are currently no platforms. Now and then you see South Africans coming over to do shows here.”
“We had Afrikaans greats such as Sharon Van Rooi, and Lize doing their thing. But how do we now promote upcoming artists like Bradley Anthony who are excellent singers to say the least ? So I’m thinking that we start now and maybe have two shows annually to celebrate Afrikaans music. We surely have the people that love the music so we can actually raise the Afrikaans music bar too.”
Christopher has already started looking for sponsorship and the show is scheduled for 9 September at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek. Corporate tickets cost N$250 and comedian Big Mitch will grace the audience with local comedy alongside other musical acts.
“Afrikaans music fans can look forward to a night of laughter and good music. We will also have live jams so the Song Night crew will be performing live music.”
Christopher who has been in the pharmaceutical domain for close to 12 years said music is his passion and does not see himself living from music. At the age of 30, he is planning to go back to school next year to study medicine and one day hope to become a doctor, but he is never leaving music.