Who Is Eff The DJ?
1st July 2020
I've probably answered the same questions in interviews over and over again but I've never given my own POV of a lot of these questions… and yes it's tiring to answer the same questions over and over again. You'll know those set of questions if you've been following any artist or performer you like because of the different platforms they go on; Who is Eff The DJ? | When did you start DJ'ing? | Who are your early inspirations? etc, etc.
These have definitely been answered in detail in accounts provided to Culartblog's interview that happened in 2017, and then more recently, one of my favorite interviews I did with the guys at Creativesanymous. But here we go again once more, with hopefully a little more clarity to these.
I've been into music ever since I was young… about 5 years'ish. That is as far as I can remember but I loosely recall my mother saying I wouldn't want to leave the house for school if I didn't watch a rerun of Michael Jackson's old videos. Interestingly, I have no vivid recollection of how I ever became a fan of Wacko Jacko but all I know is he is my first favorite artist, even before I knew anything about music.
What must have drawn me to him? - I'm not particularly sure. May have been his dancing, music or maybe he was just so enormous of a pop sensation that there was no escaping his brilliance and reach of becoming a household name, reaching Kumasi and Accra, Ghana.
These stuck with me however… the dancing and the music part. Not sure if I ever got over the electric guitar melody of 'Black Or White' or 'Bad' … and then the choreography in the 'Smooth Criminal' video. Sheesh! A time in pop culture! Now that I think about it...this, this may just have been my draw and source of how I got into DJ'ing.
The first genre I fell in love with, would be hip-hop. Trying to trace this back will have me pinning it on elder siblings of childhood friends and exposure to American pop culture through radio and TV. Casually remember my dad asking what song was playing on the radio on a car ride to school and I answered without thinking too much… 11 year old me blurted out,’’Crazy In Love - Beyonce & Jay-Z’’ to his surprise, probably wondering how I knew this at that age. As far back as I can remember, the only DJ I would regularly chance on was DJ Black of Joy FM for his Friday and Saturday night shows, 'The Weekend Warmer' and 'The Open House Party’ respectively. Not that it was intentional. My old folks had Joy FM as the standard station they were listening to. On car rides to school, back from school, to town, to church and back, radio in the car and in the house… whatever the occasion was, Joy FM was what was playing in the background.
Random fact of all random facts, the first song I memorized top to bottom is Sisqo's ‘Thong Song’, and I had absolutely no business memorizing that song in 3rd grade. Over time, the thrill of R&B singing and dancing male artists became such an aesthetic, coming off the MJ influence. That's how Usher didn't have to do too much to get my attention in the ‘U Remind Me’ music video. That dance break had me always waiting to see what I could pick up from that scene. Over time, I got caught up in Missy Elliot's strong street dance aesthetic she applied to her videos. The first I remember being ‘Get Ur Freak On’. She'll later hit us with ‘Work It’ and then her collaborations with Ciara come along; 'Lose Control’ and '1,2 Step'.
This had me getting obsessed with street and hip-hop dance at such a very young age and I carried this all the way through to high senior high school, when I finally brought it to life through stage performances for the first time ever. On the way, I got influenced heavily by dance themed movies like 'Step Up', 'Honey', and most importantly, 'You Got Served’. I chanced upon the Jabbawockeez from their first season on the ABDC show and my eyes were opened to a whole new world of precise and synchronized movement in dancing. This would go on to heavily influence my dance style in high school. I've always been more shy that people think I am. I must say I have become a little better with managing it, since you get to be in front of people way more often than you'll really like to. In high school is when I got my very first experience with DJ’ing.
In our final year, on one Saturday night, our entertainment prefect delegated the music to me. He had someone else who would usually handle the music but this person also decided to participate in a game show they had planned for the night. who would usually handle the music decided to participate in a game show that was to happen that night. I handled it pretty smoothly as far as I can remember. Not that I turned it into any party or anything wild but I didn't get any complaints so I guess that may have been a good starting point.
Fast forward to my university days, I met DJ K3V after he did a campus party and that was my first time hearing and seeing live DJ’ing so up close. If he could do it, I could also do it. I casually asked if he could teach me how to go about it and he quickly replied in the affirmative and asked to see him as and when I could if I really wanted to learn this thing, and the rest is history. I did my first campus event in my 2nd year which was a very bad experience. I spoke about that in the interview with Culart as well, but looking back on how far I've come, I never thought I'd get here. I don't know if I'm just not a heavy planning person but I only started this thing as a hobby. I never thought I'll end up in people's top 10 and be pitched to do some of the more high-profile events and venues in the city. I only started doing this thing as a hobby and then I got billed with Burna Boy, M.anifest, Sarkodie, Efya, Samini, Ofori Amponsah, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal etc all in one period.
All of this makes me wonder what I’d have been doing with my life if I wasn't this heavy into DJ’ing. I got a degree in Business Administration and I maintained a 9-5 for 2 years up until COVID hit, with my DJ career seeing more growth than my corporate employment capabilities. Am I meant to commit full time to this or still try to maintain a 9-5 while balancing it with my nightlife adventures? Maybe it is something I need to deliberate on more and reach a more solid conclusion because time is waiting for no one.
Would I say its been a thrilling ride? Definitely. DJ’ing and getting paid well for my work has me partying while I work, satisfying customers, and providing a steady stream of income, not dependent on a day-to-day job performance setting as a 9-5 would have you doing. I've also had the privilege of meeting and working with various movers and shakers in the entertainment industry. Its been fun, and I'm completely open to doing way more than I've ever done to keep the name of Eff The DJ afloat. I wish myself all the best.