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Deejays take over

A craft that was sometimes back deemed lowly has now become the envy of many. Manuel Ntoyai talks to mixmasters who’ve turned their passion into money makers

They have moved from being just club and party entertainers to establishing their own deejaying schools, hosting shows and event organising with some now owning record labels. “My vision is to help people reach their potential through music. I started the DJ school because of my own experience when I wanted to become one.

There was no guiding hand about the business and I had to learn it under apprenticeship. As an entrepreneur, I saw it also as a business opportunity and that is why I started the Genius Records,” said DJ Sadiq of Genius Entertainment. Having been in the business for years, DJ Sadiq has some notes to share on the shift in the show business.

“Having an event whose concept is DJ driven gives a client a different option depending on the budget they have. Hiring someone with a live band could be more expensive than having a DJ. Most corporates having activation parties will find it cheaper to hire deejaying services than having artistes.

This gives us an edge,” he explains. For street DJ maestro, DJ Lyta the catch lies in the entertainment offered and discipline. “ For a DJ to attract business, one needs to be disciplined about how they conduct and present themselves to clients. While not all DJs might comply with this, most of these artistes will either come to the show late or drunk if not both.

The same character will only entertain revellers for less than an hour and then demand payment. For us, we have to perform for hours and make the difference. During the night, one can play different sets,” he states. It is not just on entertainment spots that deejays have wrestled from but also their presence is huge even in media.

It is common to have a DJ having their own shows on TV and radios. Celebrated disk jokey Slim254, who hosts shows on Milele, Kameme FM and K24 thinks the trend is gaining traction rapidly, with many youthful shows competing to offer the best entertainment to their target audiences.

“As a DJ, you are in the music business and therefore you know which new songs are out and play them for your audience. Having a popular host on air doesnt automatically guarantee you a fanbase. Adding the DJ will not only captivate the audience, but also make the show livelier,” he intimated.

DJ Shiqs of Maytal Sound is one of the most sought after female entertainers in reggae circles. Her ability to blend well with the clients especially the female fans has given her an upper hand. “There are few female entertainers and at times, the client might have a female related event.

It could be a launch of a female product or even a wedding party. The government has a policy to ensure 30 per cent of women and youth get tenders. This gives me an advantage as I can compete with other entertainers with confidence.

While it is still hard to compete with our male counterparts, it is an encouraging factor to see young female DJs coming through the tough system and prove that they can equally compete in the show business,” she says.

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