by Barry Mawonga
What do Ray Charles, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Jackson Kaujeua, Drake, Lauren Hill and Fela Kuti all have in common? Besides them all being extremely talented musicians, they serve as the basis and inspiration of an artist friend of mine who goes by Justcallme Jeff.
When I ask him when he unearthed his musical talents, he pauses and thinks about it and answers in the most earnest way, ‘It has always been in the back of my mind. The idea of being a musician never seemed to be anything more than just a dream. You know going on tour, performing in front of many people that has always been just there in the back of my mind. It was in 2013 that a friend of mine EJ, who is also a musician of sorts, taught me how to play a few notes on the guitar and after he showed me the basics, he told me to go ahead and practice more on my own. Which I did and that caused me to fall deeply and madly in love with the guitar and as a side effect that made my song writing abilities level up even more.’
Jeff went on to play me a song that he has planned to record soon. As he pluck his guitar strings and sing his lyrics, I can see that he is passionate about his music. That gives me an idea and I ask him the age-old musical question. What comes first, the melody or the lyrics? He smiles and says ‘Sometimes it is the lyrics other times it is the melody. Depending on place and time I can just hum a melody and try to play the notes on my guitar other times I can be in a taxi and a lyric would pop into my mind and I would just write it down in my phone for further digestion later on.’
He plays me another song and I ask him if he does covers and he says ‘Yes’ but before I can ask him to play any he tells me I can find him doing covers on his Facebook. I do a quick search on the social media site and find his grainy videos but he is forgiven for the grainy videos because they are actually pretty good. Infused with his own blended style that he calls African Contemporary RnB, the covers have a personal touch to them and are ultimately just a taste or a sample of his ability. I tell him this and he smiles and says I should check him out on Soundcloud I’am Jeff AngelDust and on YouTube. Jeff is on his way to become a capable artist, especially since he has been taken under the tutelage of the veteran Namibian musician Elemotho, who will be taking Jeff on tour as his back-up vocalist. The troupe will perform at an international music festival in Cape Town and various gigs in Namibia.
‘I hope it makes me a better artist, by watching what they do and adding to it my own hard work and trying to push it and get it out there.’