The art of being a musician and stylist
10 July 2015
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Welcome back to Old Mutual Live Radio, I am your host Aphiwe and we are in conversation with vocalist and part time stylist, Lucky Ndaba. We haven’t gotten to the part of him being a stylist because Old Mutual Live Radio is about the music, so we’ll probably touch up on that. Maybe he’ll drop his Twitter handle or Facebook, if you need a stylist you can hit him up on social media, but we are going to concentrate more on the music.
Lucky and I have spoken about how he found himself in the music industry and some of the challenges that musicians are facing in the music industry today. Lucky, let’s come back to the music itself. What sort of work goes into preparing for a show when you are working with a high profile artist, for example, like the rehearsals. Would it be like a weeklong rehearsal session and once you’re at the venue, what sort of preparations go through everything?
Lucky Ndaba: It requires a lot of discipline, you work in an entertainment space, the young people tend to just follow through as far as morals are concerned. But I mean it also boils down to what I spoke about earlier, character and how you’re raised and basically being that good, respectful young person.
I mean obviously you get a rehearsal period before any other big event but I mean, with people like us who have been doing this for a while, you get to a point where you don’t even have to put in much time with rehearsals. Because you’ve learnt to master the art so much that you even grasp these things so quickly and then you move onto the next.
Being a musician requires dedication
On a typical day of a musician you’ll find that I’ll have a rehearsal from 9:00 until maybe 12:00. Then I’ll have a rehearsal with Kelly from 3:00 until probably 5:00-ish and you find that you still have another rehearsal from 6:00 until 10:00.
It’s different genres, different content and I mean you take into mind, I always say to people, musicians, I’m not trying to belittle anyone, but I just feel like musicians are even more hectic than actors. With actors you jump into character and then you do what you need to do. With us you have to memorise the lyrics, the melody itself, the structure of the song and these songs are in different languages. These songs have different content, different emotions, dance moves as well.
In order to actually look like a full package, it’s just sounding good, because I mean music is like preaching, it’s literally sending out a certain message of life or of hope. It’s genres, it’s content and then it’s looking good as well, which kind of inspired me to move to the styling part of things.
It’s just, what I do now kind of makes sense because they marry each other to make that beautiful picture of what I’ve always wanted to do. There’s just a lot of preparation, a lot of discipline as well and then it all boils down to being passionate about what you’re doing.
AU: Have you ever considered merging your fashion stylist side of uLucky with your music?
Using my styling ability to aid my music
LN: It always work well with me because I mean I work in an entertainment space, I mean artists always have a lot of things in their heads. So I’ll be that guy in the band that’s going to say, what are we wearing. They always laugh at that. We’ll have maybe four days of rehearsals scheduled and first day before we’re even learning the songs, I’m like, “what are we wearing”.
They’re like hey, let’s focus on the music and we’ll talk about whatever. It’s been a privilege to actually work with these people that actually know my abilities and my other passions. It’s always so interesting when people even stop you and say, you always look so interesting and trendy and fashionable, just tell us your inspiration as far as image is concerned.
As an artist, image is everything. In order for you to make it a full presentation, it has to look good, it has to look sellable. For those people that buy tickets to actually come watch a show, you have to give them that full package. It’s only fair to them to have something to look at while they’re listening to the beautiful sounds or the beautiful message that you’re trying to convey.
With the bands that I’ve worked with, I’ve been sort of styling the bands, so one of the highlights of my styling within the music space was when we were doing the Joy of Jazz in 2013.
I had to style a 16 piece band including ladies, conceptualise in my mind of what image I want portrayed on stage and I had to do it by myself. Like drive around, fortunately he was just there, he was just like, do whatever you need to do, just let me know how much you need to take care of all these things. There were ladies in the band as well.
So the highlight was having Top Billing on the show and they came and they had interviews with a few people back stage and one of the presenters came to our female vocalist and she was like, “Oh my God, you guys are wearing beautiful dresses, you guys look so well put together, I’m sure those dresses cost a fortune” and to think I was working with a limited budget. I got those dresses somewhere downtown, but it was just such a huge compliment for a Top Billing presenter to give us such a huge compliment.
I remember, even one of the things is that band is always looking so on point, the style is properly done and to think that it’s me. I have to focus on the music and then still focus on what they’re going to look like. It’s just been so great. Now I’ve been so privileged that with every artist that I work with, they kind of pick up this thing that I love clothes and I also know how to put stuff together.
Now, currently, I’m working with Brian Themba and I also style the band there as well and style him as an artist, which is one of, you know, the most humbling things ever. You get people commenting on the show in its full entirety and they will even say, your artists are just so beautiful. I mean it’s just being there and listening to people raving about your work, it’s just so humbling as a young person.
AU: Lucky, it was humbling speaking to you, you are such a breath of fresh air and thank you so much for joining us on Old Mutual Live Radio.
LN: I am honoured, thank you for having me.