99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Developing Distinctive Artists

“There is the lack of these platforms. I’ve found that the easiest way for me to help the artists grow is to create the platform.”

Focusing on creating platforms for arts and artists, Distinctive Art is fast being an artist management and events management house to be reckoned with. Holding the reigns of this haven for artists is powerhouse Ashante Manetti, who is well known in the industry having spearheaded major Namibian events. 99FM’s MYD Art sat down with the dynamic Ashante to talk music and creating platforms for artist in Namibia.

Orange-0199FM’s MYD Art asked:

Tell us about what you do?

“I help artists to market themselves as a brand. The reason I use the word Distinctive in my company name is that as an artist we always have to be that little bit different, but in order to be professional you need to offer an entire package. It’s not just about showing up and doing your music. Everything leading up to that: the quote, your media kit, your personal brand, all of that plays a role for you to sell yourself, especially to the international market. I know that it’s important for us to conquer home, but sometimes it’s easier for us to get noticed outside than to get noticed inside. So that is what I’m trying to doo is t to get artists to position themselves as a high quality product.”

How did you get into this line of work?

Pink-01“I am a communications practitioner, I studied business and communication.  I saw Sean K, who is a friend, perform one night, and I went up to him and said : You have something special and we have to do something about it. Initially I just used my PR skill set, which is media relations and event planning, to try and help him launch his first single and after that things just took off.”

How do you Develop your mind?

“I read a lot and I research a lot. I have also made contact with some people in South Africa that are talent scouts themselves so that I can talk to them about what I’m struggling with. Ten years of the PR experience also helps me but I use also my gut to see what will work.  So my development is a combination of reading, making sure I understand the industry and keeping abreast of how my artists are changing. I try to make sure I know every element of what I need to know with regard to the industry.”

What is your mantra for life?

“I believe that it’s up to me, and I believe that I have to use every skill that I have to help as many people as I can. I’m inspired by discipline, respect and integrity.”

Blue-01Where would you like to see the Namibian art scene, the musical art scene and our artists?

“We need to start with the basics first. We need to start with a proper media kit and a biography, this is especially important when you book yourself outside of Namibia. If you want to get known internationally, you need to have a great media kit. You need to start with the basics which are : define your brand, define the genre of music that you are in and tailor yourself towards it. Basic business skills are also very important, for example a lot of artists don’t deal with their own finances. I believe they need to have at least basic business skills and the transaction with the money needs to be as transparent as possible. Also we need more platforms for our artists and more standard gigs because they are like a monthly pay cheque and because there’s not always huge shows on. And then regarding PR for the self : become your own public relations practitioner, become your own spokesman, understand that its not up to someone else to manage your brand because in every interaction you have to leave your personal element behind and you become the artist that you are or the singer that you are and when people interact with you, they walk away not from Ashante the person, but Ashante the artist.”

Grey-01What can the general public do for our artists?

“Buy the CD, read the article, share the article with peers, show up to the events, spread the information on the artist, pitch them to other people. Basically, be the champion for Namibian artists.”

You are involved in so many interesting things as Distinctive Art, and it’s not only the managing of artists, it’s also the managing of events, like recently there was the Wine and Painting night?

“Yes, that is the Corks and Canvas event happening on the 29th of April 2016.”
Click here for more information on that event : Corks and Canvas

Why are you creating the platforms as well?

“Because there is the lack of these platforms. I’ve found that the easiest way for me to help the artists grow is to create the platform. This event, Corks and Canvas, will be the first time I’m taking an artist that has exhibited herself but I want to branch out a little bit, into painting and writing. So I’ve created pop-up café’s to keep the art momentum, but first something easy to involve the public, which is to paint and have some wine.”

Get in touch with Ashante via her Facebook page here : Distinctive Art