Disc Jockey and music producer, Ayorinde Okiki, aka DJ Kaywise, tells MOBOLA SADIQ about his passion for entertainment and other issues
Why did you choose to become a disc jockey and how did your parents react to your decision?
Many years back, I dreamt that I would be a disc jockey and I was lucky to have got the full support of my mother.In my dreams, I often saw myself performing in front of large crowds.She (mum) has constantly prayed for me and she also supported my career decisions.
On my father’s part; he is a cleric, so he did not want anything that would soil his name.He was initially hesitant but when he realised that DJing was all I wanted to do, he gave me his blessings and now he is proud of me.
Are you satisfied with how far you have come?
I learnt the art of DJing from six people and I also attended an academy.
Being a DJ is a lifelong career.I enjoy what I do and I have an academy where aspiring DJs and music producers are trained.The academy has churned out about 600 graduates so far and they are all doing well.
I tell them that anything worth doing should be done very well.
What were some of the challenges you faced in the early days of your career?
I don’t see them as challenges per se.
Some people belittle the profession but thankfully, I have never given up.There is nothing that can stand as an obstacle for me.No one and nothing would make me stop pursuing my dreams.
What do you think helped you to gain recognition as a DJ?
I am very hard-working.Every day, I strive to add value to my craft.I wake up thinking about ways to improve myself.I constantly set targets with the aim of meeting them.I am relentlessly seeking to carve a niche for myself.
Is disc jockeying a lucrative profession?
My life is evidence to show that it is.This is the only thing I do.
It is what puts food on my table and caters for my lifestyle.I have some investments but everything I own is from the proceeds of my disc jockeying job.Being a DJ made me who I am today.Nothing can make me quit being a DJ.I have just started and I’ve not reached my destination.
You are said to have recently completed your fifth house.
Why are you so particular about owing landed properties?
Yes I did and I’m thankful for that.I am still going to have my twentieth house.I did not just buy all of them now; it was gradual
Are you targeting a particular age to retire from disc jockeying?
Retirement will come but not now.
Jimmy Jatt (a veteran DJ) is good at what he does and he still gets shows.The profession has nothing to do with age.There are old hands that some people would prefer to work with.It depends on the kind of relationship one has built over the years.If you want to stop DJing, people would stop booking you but if you still say, “I am a DJ”, you would continue getting gigs.The people that last the longest in the music industry are actually disc jockeys, music producers and directors.
Artistes are the ones that have a lifespan, except the ones that have evergreen songs which will outlive them.I have seen a lot of artistes come and go but I will still be in the industry for a long time.
What would you have been doing if you were not a DJ?
I would have been a pastor.I still have that dream.
What’s the most memorable moment of your career?
That would be buying a house and car for my mother.
You seem to be closer to your mother than your father?
My mum is like my girlfriend and I speak to her freely.I always love to see her happy.She has been my backbone.
However, I am also close to my father because they are always together.
From your perspective as a DJ, what type of music should young artistes make?
I think that 20 per cent of the music we have now would stand the test of time but the remaining 80 per cent would be ‘trending’ songs that come and go.
The maximum lifespan for trending songs is a year or two.
Afterwards, another song would take over.Hence, I would advise young artistes to make songs that people would continue to enjoy even when they are not as popular as they used to be.`
DJs are selcome recognised.Have you ever won an award for your craft?
Yes, I have won some awards in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.I have won awards such as ‘Best DJ in Nigeria’, ‘Best DJ in Africa’, and ‘Best Radio DJ’.Some of the award plaques are displayed in my office.
However, I would like to state that award organisers are not doing much for DJs.
They work more with music artistes.There should be more award categories for DJs.I am not desperate for awards but I believe that such awards would encourage the next generations of DJs.
Some DJs now have songs.
How did that trend come about?
I don’t sing, and I don’t think anyone has heard me sing or perform before.The DJs that sing apparently have the talent and it works for them.For me, I delved into the music scene because I wanted to put my face out there.I had a name but people didn’t know the face.
I also discovered that some impersonators were extorting fans and customers with my name.I would have been a billionaire if people had known my face eight years ago because my name was on the lips of many music enthusiasts.At a time, I took out all my savings and shot a music video.Artistes such as Dammy Krane and Yung6ix also called me for collaborations.I always make sure that my songs promote the DJ culture.I also co-produce my songs.When I produced my first song, I went broke in a bid to put out my face but it was an investment that has changed the ‘game’ for me.
It was really hard for me then but I am thankful that I took that decision.So far, I have released eight songs.My song, Highway, featuring Phyno practically ‘scattered’ everywhere.Other songs also did very well.
Some people think that DJs can’t be as rich or successful as musicians.
What’s your take on that?
I think that narrative is also changing.Once a DJ believes in himself and keeps pushing hard, the sky would be a starting point.It is also important to spend wisely.For example, I play at shows every weekend, so I get a steady income from that.Although some music artistes get millions from just one show, however, if one (a DJ) is prudent and invests wisely, it would pay off.
DJs now command a lot of respect and are regarded as the life of the party.As a matter of fact, without DJs, you can’t have a good show.I tell students in my academy to be serious with their craft.
I let them know that they can be bigger than me because I am not in competition with anyone.I tell them that I want to see them burning with passion.I believe that the lifespan of a DJ is longer than that of the average artiste.The people behind the scenes are doing well for themselves.
When artistes release songs, it is DJs that would play their music at clubs and shows.Even when an artiste is no longer making waves, DJs still help such artistes by playing their music, so they do not fade from people’s minds.
It should also be noted that artistes can be relevant for as long as they want.Artistes such as Innocent Idibia, aka 2Baba, and many veterans are still very relevant.
It all depends on how we evolve as the years roll by.I don’t want any artiste to have a short lifespan.That is why I always try to support everyone making good music.
Entertainers are generally believed to live flashy and wild lives.Do you agree?
I would love to speak for myself and I do not live a flashy and wild lifestyle.I do not pock my nose into people’s business.
I simply live my life as decently as possible.I don’t try to copy or impress anyone.I live according to my means.I take my time to do things and that is why I have loyal fans.If one lives a fake life in the entertainment industry, there would come a time that one would not be able to meet up.
If I can afford to buy 10 cars, I would rather buy a very good one and invest the rest of the money into other things that would yield profits for me.
Are you usually careful about what you do and how you are perceived because your father is a cleric?
Yes.My upbringing has greatly curbed many excesses.I also discipline myself because I have goals I set for myself.
When a child is properly trained, such child would not depart from that path.I have trained myself with certain principles and I will not change for anyone.
How do you cope with the incessant demands of fans for money?
It is a good feeling and I cannot complain.There is no time I leave my house that I do not spend a minimum of N60, 000 to N100, 000.Whenever I visit the area where I grew up, I spend at least N200,000 to N500,000.I don’t throw money in the air though.I usually give it to someone to share with everybody.That is one of the responsibilities of fame which one must live up to.
What do you say to people who look up to you?
I tell them to be dedicated and to put God first in all they do.I also tell them to stay off drugs.
It is important to get blessings from your parents as well.Meanwhile, hard work and discipline cannot be overemphasised.
As a single man, how do you cope with your female fans?
I love all my female fans and I have enjoyed a lot of support from them.When I meet some of them at events, I try to take as many pictures as possible.If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, I usually jump into the crowd to take photos in a bid to appreciate the fans that have always stood up for me.
What are your plans for marriage?
God’s time is the best.
When it is the appointed time, I will settle down.Right now, I am hustling and pushing harder to make more money.
What are your hobbies?
I like to read and travel a lot.I like football but I can do without watching it, though my twin brother is an avid fan.
All rights reserved.This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [[email protected]](/cdn-cgi/l/email-protection#75011d1010111c011a073505001b161d1b125b161a18).