Where are They Now: Duplex and Namiwa Jazz

…networking is key because it helps you expand and learn from other artists, we can’t underestimate that.

Columb graduated from Capital XTRA’s Music Potential in 2016 as one half of the music duo, Duplex. Now, he is going it solo under the same name, creating hits for some of the UK’s next rising stars. One of these stars being Music Potential graduate, Namiwa Jazz.

We caught up with Duplex and Namiwa in Birmingham promoting their latest single ‘Namaste’.

Hey Duplex and Namiwa, thanks for joining us!

Namiwa: It’s great to see you again. Thanks for the interview.

Oh, you know we couldn’t resist, given your latest single ‘Namaste’ is a banger!

Duplex: Haha, that’s what we like to hear!

So, how did this collaboration come about?

Duplex: We’ve known each other for a while and really respect what we both bring to the table, so it wasn’t difficult to collaborate with Namiwa. In fact, we didn’t have an end-vision, we just jammed together and it naturally became a single.

Namiwa: Yeah, don’t get us wrong, it was quite a process to get to the end though! Once we completed the track, there was a lot of discussion around what we actually wanted to do with the track. It’s a track we both passionately believe in and didn’t want to see it just left in the archives.

For sure! Have you decided what you want to do with the track now?

Namiwa: Yep, we’ve decided that we just want to get the single out there. We know it will do quite well with afro-beat DJs, so we are working hard on getting it to them.

Duplex: The truth is, we are really happy with the vibe of the track and if we can make a few listeners feel good by it, then that’s our mission completed.

Namiwa, you graduated from Capital XTRA’s Music Potential in 2014, what have you been up to since then?

Namiwa: Oh, so much! Shortly after completing the project, I released my EP ‘My Garden of Eden’ which performed better than I expected. We had a sell-out launch party for it and I went on a festival tour to promote it.

In 2015, I was back in Birmingham volunteering with Music Potential to encourage other ambitious artists to break through. After that, I released my third body of work called ‘360 Unloved’ which was a full track EP.

Now, I’m currently working on a new body of work with a live orchestral band which will be really interesting.

Duplex, you are taking a more active role in Capital XTRA’s Music Potential this year, tell us about what you will be up to.

Duplex: Yes, recently the Brum team and I held a cypher in Coventry to promote the programme, and it was brilliant. About 20 artists showed up and it turned out to be one of the best ones this year.

Just like Namiwa, I am really keen on encouraging other artists to take the risk, so I will be a teaching assistant in some of the Birmingham classes this year.

Nice! So, a lot of people talk about the value of networking in this industry. You guys are a testament to what networking can achieve. Why do you think networking is so important?

Duplex: I’m always stressing about how important it is. If you are not getting your tracks to the right people, then it will not take off. That’s simply it.  Also, networking is key because it helps you expand and learn from other artists, we can’t underestimate that.

But it is not just networking that is important, you also need to be vigilant. Most DJs get hundreds of emails a day from aspiring artists. You need to stick with it and not give up at the first hurdle.

Namiwa: I agree. Networking is about getting the thing you want. Music is not a 9-5 job, you need to get out there and meet people. If you dream of being a sell-out artist, you need to learn not to be afraid of telling people that. Be confident about your aspirations and tell everyone you meet. Who knows? You might meet the right person!

Great advice. What is the most important thing you got out of Capital XTRA’s Music Potential?

Duplex: Confidence and knowing when to send my music to the right people. I was always a perfectionist and worried about the track not being 100% before I sent it. But now I know that when you are sending it to like-minded people, they can see your vision in its purest form.

Namiwa: Similarly, confidence and self-belief. I performed at The Roundhouse for Music Potential’s UNLEASHED. I couldn’t believe that I was capable of performing live with a band. The experience really inspired me. It gave me the confidence to just step out as myself and be confident in my authenticity.

What advice would you give to those considering applying for the programme this year?

Namiwa: I would say to be yourself, be sure to network and build relationships with people. Go in with a plan and know what you want to do. Be strategic about it because essentially, Capital XTRA’s Music Potential is like a mini version of the real music industry. You have to go in there the same way you will the industry.

Duplex: I would say to be yourself, vibe with people and network with every single person. Everyone is going to go on their journey and you will never know where everyone will end up, so stick together.

So, what can we expect from you two this year?

Namiwa: I’m working on a live orchestral project. I want to make something that will push the sound out. I am also working on improving my visuals, my look. I’m focusing a lot more on the detail.

Duplex: Just getting some music out there as Duplex. I want to work on an EP. I haven’t released any solo stuff lately and continue to work with people. Though, I’ve got a track with 4 guys that I met at Ultimate Artist. They are from Malta, Japan, Slovenia and London, and the single is called ‘Yala Habibi’ – watch out for it sometime this year.

Very exciting times ahead! Thanks, guys!

Thank you!

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