Gazza is considered one of Namibia’s most successful artists

Lazarus Shiimi, or Gazza as he’s more popularly known, is one of Namibia’s most successful artists.

He is also one of the driving forces behind the development of Namibia’s music industry.

His sound is influenced by kwaito, dancehall, hip-hop, reggae and Afrobeats.

He’s won over 30 music awards and has 13 albums under his belt.

But he’s preparing to get out of his comfort zone with his next big project.

He is about to perform his music with over 100 others on stage with a symphony orchestra, a 40-strong choir and around 60 musicians from the Alabama School of Fine Arts who are flying in to Windhoek especially.

And yet he told me he still suffers from shyness.

“I don’t think that will ever go away. When I’m alone I still have to record myself in the dark because I’m still not comfortable until I hear what I’ve recorded and if it sounds good, that’s when I switch on the lights.”

He is doing the concert in order to appeal to the government and businesses to put more infrastructure in place for the creative industries.

“The unemployment rate is so high, the youth are trying to do a few things with their talents, but there are no proper platforms and sometimes they become frustrated and resort to criminal activities and stuff like that.

“I’m just saying to the government and private sector: ‘Can we please try and see what we can do for the youth in Namibia to thrive?’

“I want to be able to deliver something that’s going to be remembered for a long time and something that’s going to bring about change,” he said.

The concerts of hope take place on 2 and 3 June at the National Theatre of Namibia.

To hear the full interview with Gazza, listen to This is Africa on BBC World Service radio and partner stations across Africa, and online here.

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