Gazza is one of the most loved African singers and Namibia’s most influential artist. He has established himself as one of the biggest stars on the African continent, and even in other parts of the world. The ‘Misunderstood’ hitmaker has won several awards and is the top-selling Namibian kwaito singer.
Gazza’s real name
Gazza’s full name is Lazarus Karandu Shiimi. The musician is also known as Gazlam, Groote, The King, Pumumu. Talking about how he got the nickname ‘Gazza’, he says it was because of his love for football and his admiration of footballer Paul Gascoigne. He initially wanted to call himself ‘Skara’, but his friends encouraged him to stick to his football nickname ‘Gazza’.
“I used to play football at school. They gave me that nickname ‘Gazza’ because I was so passionate about football and I hated losing and I’ll do anything in my power to make sure that we win to the point where I’d get red cards if I play too rough you know, and that was just around the time when Paul Gascoigne was also just impressing every newspaper cover and magazine cover with a red card - like he was just getting red cards and he was also passionate about football and then they compared the passion to Paul Gascoigne so they said "no you are just playing like Gazza" and that’s how the name derived,” he told The Grey Ave.
Place of birth
The ‘Chelete’ hitmaker is 42 years old. He was born on 10 March 1977 in Oshikuku, a town in Omusati Region in the north of Namibia.
Gazza grew up in a family of seven. His mother’s name is Eunice and his father Erastus. Although much is not known about his parents, his father died while he was still young. He was then forced to help his mom take care of the family. To make a living, Gazza had to sell fat cakes, sugar cane and raw meat on the streets right after school.
After completing matric, he went to South Africa to pursue his studies and make a name for himself. Gazza studied marketing at Boston College in Cape Town, and later on focused on building his music brand.
Wife and kids
It is said that behind every successful man is a woman. Gazza prides himself in his family and says it is the best accomplishment he has.
Gazza is married to Golden Shiimi. He praises his wife as the most gorgeous woman.
The secret to keeping the fire burning in their marriage is going on regular date nights and vacations as a family, together with their children. The couple has two boys.
Gazza drives a BMW 330i . A BMW 330i retails for around R650 000.
In 2013, Gazza was endorsed by Kia Motors and drove a Kia Sorento.
Like many people in the spotlight, Gazza has had to deal with his share of drama and several rumours. He was rumoured to have an affair with record producer Elvo’s wife, Lovey. Lovey was Gazza’s employee at the time of the rumour and has since divorced from her husband of 13 years. But according to both Lovey and Gazza, the rumour was a lie aimed at destroying their families.
In 2011, Gazza faced alleged murder charges. He was accused of firing a shot at his brother-in-law after his brother allegedly took a laptop from his house without his permission. Gazza did not deny firing a shot at his brother-in-law but denied attempting to murder him. According to him, he fired the shots to stop his brother-in-law from running away with his laptop. Another nasty rumour Gazza faced was when he was linked to the murder of Hip Hop star Jericho. Gazza rubbished the rumours.
Businesses and associated brands
Gazza is not only a successful musician, but he is also one of the richest artists in Namibia. His music talent has seen him work with many local and international artists.
Apart from music, Gazza served as an ambassador for education and visited several schools in Namibia teaching scholars about the importance of education.
He also teamed up with UNIC Windhoek to encourage citizens to save water and take 5-minute showers.
Gazza was the first Namibian artist to have a reality show on the Namibian Broadcasting Channel (NBC). The reality show was named "Just Whyling".
He also owns several businesses. He has a sparkling mineral water brand called G-Fresh and a clothing line.
He was also the first Namibian artist to have his music video play on DSTV channel 'Trace'.
To date, Gazza has 12 albums. His music is a mixture of Kwaito, dancehall, reggae, and hip hop. He has won many awards, including male artist of the year which he received in 2014. JCI Namibia also honoured him with the most outstanding young Namibian Award.
In an interview with The Grey Ave, Gazza revealed that his music started in primary school. He used to rap in class and was also part of a choir where he used to be the lead singer.
As a young boy, Gazza enjoyed going to church with his mom and says he also used to sing at church. He says singing in church taught him about all the different vocal harmonies.
Gazza recorded his first album in Cape Town, where he was also a part of a quartet called ‘Male Voice’. His second album was recorded in his hometown Namibia before moving to America. He went to America to work as a professional, but even then, he says music followed him and he found himself doing music instead of purely focusing on his professional marketing career.
Gazza is signed to Universal music – the world's leading music company. He got signed in 2016, after 10 years of negotiation. Even though he initially asked for a record deal, Gazza got a better offer –the company gave him a label deal. For most musicians, scoring a major label record deal is great achievement. It allows the artist to make major decisions for their label, instead of just recording and having the music company sell and promote the music.
Gazza has his own record label titled Gaza Music Productions (GMP). The company was started in 2004. It is one of the most successful music labels in Namibia and has signed artists such as Street kid, Tequila,DJ Shoza, Black Sheep, and Luvy.
Gazza sings about real-life issues, and his 'Chelete' music video which talks about the financial challenges Namibia is facing, made him the first Namibian artist to reach 1 million views on YouTube.
Gazza told economist.com that he aims to continue releasing great music, and is not planning on retiring anytime soon.
“I will grow old with the music, even when I am old I will still entertain even if it means me playing jazz while you guys eat,” he told the publication.
Judging by how Gazza has consistently released hits for over a decade, we have no doubt he will continue to shine and produce world-class music.
Gazza To Drop New Music Video
Image credit: Instagram/@gazza467