Artists must have side hustles to keep brands alive – Percy P

Percy P on stage.

By Siphesihle Dlamini

Having a side hustle can help artists supplement their income which is almost all time unpredictable. A side hustle will allow artists to explore new skills and interests that may inform their art. Ultimately, a side hustle can help an artist build connections and networks that may be beneficial to his or her career. Eswatini Finacial Times met with Percy P, a Hip Hop artist from Lavundlamanti to find out more about his side hustle.

He detailed that he draws his inspiration from renowned South African DJ, businessman and entrepreneur DJ Sbu. Percy P is inspired by how DJ Sbu understands the arts industry, adding that his role model used his influence of being a top DJ and started his Mofaya drink which is now considered one of the leading energy drinks companies in Africa. He further lauded DJ Sbu’s positivity, wisdom, and confidence. DJ Sbu is trending on social media with videos showing him selling Mofaya soft drinks in South Africa’s streets and taxi ranks.

Percy runs a small boutique trading as Insika Boutique where he sells fashionable clothes and sneakers. He purchases his stock from South Africa and Mozambique. He also sells peanuts branded as Dope Dops. According to Percy P, an artist needs money to cement his art career and an artist cannot afford that without a side hustle.
He made an example of the expenses an artist incurs when dropping a song. He highlighted that some of the expenses include running advertisements on social media, paying for graphics design, and a photo and video shoot. He conceded that it is not easy for upcoming artists to cater for the expenses involved in music production without a side hustle especially if the artist does not have a monthly salary.

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Percy P is seen selling peanuts to passing motorists.

Undisputedly, the Eswatini art industry is a survival of the fittest scene where the lion eats grass. Notably, even established artists find it hard to acquire ‘peanuts’, just to earn a living. It is easier for a desert man to give out water to a stranger than Eswatini artists signing endorsement deals with corporate companies. In Eswatini, art barely pays the bills. One of the major hindrances is that there is no fully functional Copyright Act to protect artistic works. Artists should be paid for airplay and the use of their intellectual property. Most of Eswatini’s established artists are getting paid as low as E1-000 as performance fees. In South Africa, established artists like Cassper Nyovest charge over E200- 000 for an hour-long performance.

Percy P opined that for survival in the Eswatini arts industry, an artist should study the game and anticipate any possible outcome, lest things go south. He added that it is important for an artist to have a PR team and talent manager. “To avoid being exploited, an artist should properly understand contracts before appending their signatures on the dotted line,” Percy P said.
The musician told this publication that from his side hustle, he makes about E7000 per month, adding that this money helps him pay for his studio sessions, professional studio photoshoots, features with other artists and keep his dress code on point.
The rapper then offered pieces of advice to fellow musos about the importance of having something that will bring them money in case they fall off or get out of favour in the game. He said it is important to have a side hustle because the lifespan of artistry is short. “You never stay on top of the game forever. New superstars are being born every day and they fight for the same spot,” Percy P said.

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