99FM – Your Inspiration Station

‘The Tribe’ Featuring ML – The Economics of Music and Trade

She is known as either ML the musician or Maria Immanuel the economist and trade specialist.

A true jack of all trades and master of everything she sets her mind to, ML is a creative and inspiring woman who believes in empowering and uplifting others.

In another exclusive with ‘The Tribe’, ML talks about the music business and how her day job contributes to her view of the creative industry.

She also talks about transitioning between ML the rising musician and Maria the economist and trade specialist.

On her debut album and its meaning, she says: “It’s a reflection of my journey.” ML was exposed to the world at a young age when she travelled with her grandfather who was a diplomat at the time.

After returning to Namibia and completing school, she continued traveling and later started representing Namibia during continental and international trade negotiations. She had become a “diplomat” in her own right and that inspired the title of her maiden album.

ML has come a long way in the music business, from doing major collaborations with the likes of Exit, and working behind the scenes of some of the biggest Namibian hits over the years. Today, she has amassed a following of loyal fans who support her music.

Equally passionate about her day job as she is about her music, ML always finds a balance between the two worlds. “I’m an economist, I’m a professional, but … music is my passion,” she says.

Her two careers merge effortlessly and ML has through her day job met some interesting musicians from across the world – as can be seen on her Instagram account.

She’s taken a selfie with South African hip hop star Cassper Nyovest.

She also met Nigerian superstars D-Bandj, 2Face Idibia and recently, Wayo. She met all three at a trade event where the Nigerians were invited in their capacity as musicians. For her, it is admirable that in the west African nation, Entertainment is one of the biggest exports.  

For Namibian music to get to where Nigerian music is,  she advises that musicians take education and financial literacy seriously. She says: “Education is very important to music because when you have the talent, it’s inborn. For you to interpret it and make it commercial you have to have the know how,” she advises.  She also encourages musicians to be more business savvy. “I always tell young people to split up their business activities in four quarters.”

Always practicing what she preaches, ML keeps on contributing positively to the Namibian music industry, striving for continental domination just like her Nigerian counterparts.

Listen to the interview here