Thandi Kawerama

The State of Emergency has brought drastic changes to various industries in our country, and the music industry is no exception. Concerts, festivals and other forms of promotion have been cancelled in light of the global pandemic. Entertainers are facing challenges during the lockdown to get the exposure they need to reach their audiences.

Local artist Jyz Yorke recently chatted with us, over the phone of course, about what he’s been up to during the State of Emergency, his future plans, and how he realized that creating your own community as an artist will keep you afloat even in the face of uncertainty.

“I have been working on my skills, specifically playing the guitar and the piano. I even started to learn a bit of acting. There has not been a day that I was bored during the state of emergency.” He said when asked about how he kept himself busy during the quarantine period that recently ended. He has been working on his craft despite the uncertain state the Namibian music industry is in.

Yorke stressed that now more than ever you can capture the attention of an audience you previously couldn’t reach. He optimistically stated that time spent at home can be used for artists to flex their creative muscles. “If you go online it’s crazy, everyday on places like Facebook you see people putting out their work. Now is the perfect time to showcase your creativity and not depend on popularity and concert ticket sales to prove your strength as an artist.”

He went on further saying that as a smaller artist, the state of emergency helped him realize that he can’t sit back and wait for the industry to go back to normal. Artists can use the internet to get their names out in their communities and beyond boarders. “Even before I was an artist, I was an internet kid, now that I make music I use places like YouTube to communicate with my fans. I ask them to send me questions so that I can communicate with them and through consistent posting, I recently hit 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.”

He is one of many artists using the internet to reach out to fans through alternative means during the promotion of social distancing. DJ Dreas recently hosted the #5minFinesse, an online event showcasing the talents of various artists both local and international.

The music industry has long been dependent on face-to-face interaction and large gatherings, the state of emergency is forcing that to change. Jyz Yorke stated that artists will now be challenged to expand their methods beyond what they were used to. “I feel like the power of the internet is being neglected in Namibia. People don’t really make use of streaming platforms such as Spotify and YouTube, maybe this will change how we use the internet.”

The fruits of consistency and dedication to his craft have begun to show, Jyz Yorke revealed that showcasing his talents has open doors for an opportunity he deems a ‘secret project’ that the public can look forward to in the near future.