One place where this is evident is the music industry. You will be judged, criticized and written off more times than you can count before you reach the point of being a household name or having your songs played on the radio on a regular basis, and even then you have to constantly keep proving yourself to stay relevant.
Curaçao is a very small island, but it is loaded with talent. From opera singers to rappers to the very popular “Ritmo Kombina” bands; there is no limit to the talents of our local artists and musicians.
One of the many groups that I am a fan of is Area 51. I have gone from singing along to “Dreamgirl” whenever I had a crush in my teens, to dancing to “Oh Maria” in the club as a young woman, I have literally grown up hearing them on the radio. And it is for that reason that I decided to interview Xavier.
Xavier, better known as Dopie, is the leader of Area 51. He writes songs, plays, performs and also produces under the name Gudda Gettamili. He describes music as his first love, and one that he can’t let go of. As a child he would always be walking around singing, but it wasn’t until his last year in high school that he really dove in.
A couple of friends wanted to start rapping, and he was behind the scenes working on the beats…but eventually he joined in and started rapping and singing; from there on things flowed naturally. Eventually the high school group fell apart due to friends moving to the Netherlands, but Dopie kept working on his music in the studio. Along with his brother, who was also active on the music scene, they then decided to start Area 51. The songs kept coming and almost 10 years later, they are still at it. What has made Area different is their fearlessness when it comes to experimenting with their sound and lyrics.
One of their most memorable songs is “Bo kansion” in which they took the listener through a medley of other hits that were being played on the radio in a very clever way. They also haven’t been shy about trying different languages, which is to be applauded, because it is a strategic move to be more marketable in the region.
In their latest song: “Dat is van mij”, they are now collaborating with Nette Jongens from Suriname and Bollebof from Holland.
Their sound keeps evolving and they are now experimenting with different influences and rhythms such as Azonto in their music. According to Xavier one of the biggest challenges when it comes to music, is having the funds to actively pursue it.
The production of video clips for example is not cheap. But even more so than the financial struggles in the pursuit of their music, getting the support of people was a challenge. Xavier explains that in his opinion our community isn’t always very supportive of what our own people are doing, and so especially in the beginning when you are a new group, it’s difficult to find the right channels and the right people to support you. These days though, thanks to the internet it all goes a lot smoother.
But as if making a mark with music wasn’t enough…Xavier is now also part of the gaming industry. When the opportunity presented itself, he took the chance to collaborate on the island’s first mobile gaming app: Urban Chase. He put his degree in International Business to good use, and being part of the team nominated for MCB’s Komersiante Briante is proof that it was a wise decision.
His message to anyone out there chasing a dream, is that it is all about your mindset. There will always be people telling you that things aren’t possible. But if you believe they are, you will make whatever it is you want happen.
Music is not only his passion but he sees it as a means to put our island on the map. Not only as an artist with Area 51, but also as a producer and writer with artists such as Enmeris, for whom he wrote “Oxigeno”. Xavier is actively working towards his goals and attending events such as the Latin Billboard Music Awards & Conference bring him one step closer, because that is the kind of place where amazing contacts can be made. Having been there, proudly waving our flag, is an experience he will never forget. The amount of things that are possible, if you simply have to courage to try are mind blowing.
Xavier contacted the producer of J.Balvin, a very successful reggaeton artist; Mosty and got the chance to fly out to Colombia to meet with him in his studio and get his take on his productions. Positive feedback from people such as these only add more fuel to the fire, and you can expect a lot more from this artist. Xavier is a good example of how to become a DreamCatcher by being courageous and driven, and I hope his story inspires you.
If you want to know more, feel free to click on the links below for more information on all of the ventures that we mentioned!