New Zealand: Saxophonist Thabani Gapara stresses importance of professionalism for emerging artists

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Saxophonist Thabani Gapara encourages young musicians to accept any opportunity to learn and says conducting yourself professionally will help open doors in the entertainment industry.

The Zimbabwe-born saxophonist has carved out an impressive musical career as a live performer and session artist who has worked with top New Zealand artists such as Katchafire, House of Shem, Hipstamatics, and Stan Walker.

In an episode of The Lost Ones interview series, Gapara speaks of his experiences in the music industry, and says aspiring musicians should make themselves known to other artists and take up any offer to jam with friends or strangers.

“Find out who is out there playing music and try to play with them. Any opportunity that you get to go and sit in with a band – take it,” he says. “Make music and put bands together with your friends.”

Gapara also stresses the importance of professionalism and being punctual to gig or practice appointments, and has a simple message for industry newcomers.

“Be easy to be around,” he says. “I’ve played in a lot of bands where for the most part the reason I’m playing there is that I’m not difficult to be around.

“And just be organised. If someone says ‘Please be there at 12 o’clock’, be there at 11.30. Professionalism is not how great you play, it’s how well you come prepared.”

The Lost Ones interview series is the brainchild of Tāmaki Makaurau-based R&B and soul singer and songwriter Victor Hawkins, who wanted to highlight the hidden issues and experiences of artists working in the cut throat music industry.