By Chris Onuoha
DJ Nana ( full name, Nanayate Abedoh) is one famous female DJ in the country who has gone through the hard knocks of life to attain recognition in the entertainment industry.
The soft-spoken lady who is like ‘girl next door’ speaks on how her doggedness which landed her on her dream job. Nana who was mentored by legendary Jimmy Jatt also speaks about the frustration she faced while striving to actualize her dream of becoming a professional DJ among other issues…
When did you begin your career as a DJ?
I did not know I was going to become a DJ. I actually had my interest in music. But it was difficult for me to define what I wanted to earn a living on. The journey started when I was 16.
Then I used to attend events and parties where I met and interacted with people who were into showbiz. The first person I came in contact with was Sound Sultan who advised me to concentrate on education then. But I didn’t listen to him as I kept pushing and talking to friends until I ran into Sunny Neji.
He eventually invited me to his office for auditioning. I told him that I wanted a dancing job, and he asked me to dance right there without any music playing. Fascinated by my dances steps, he introduced me to a popular Lagos dance group. But I could not live up to their expectations because of my age. Not discouraged, I kept calling to remind them that I was still interested in dancing.
While pursuing a Diploma programme in Law, at Lagos State University, LASU, one day I got involved in a street party somewhere around Ojo area of Lagos and a popular DJ then saw me and admired my unhoned craft. I was moved by his action as I wondered why I wouldn’t become a DJ in future. That’s how it all started. From then on, I kept talking to everyone I knew, expressing my interest in becoming a professional DJ. This continued until I met DJ Jimmy Jatt who agreed to mentor me after a series of turn-downs.
And how long have you been in this business?
I have been in the business for about four years now, and it is like any other job to me. I take it seriously. Jimmy Jatt told me, “Don’t see yourself as a female DJ in the male dominated world but always see yourself as a regular person who wants to succeed.”
How do people see you as a female DJ?
I have gotten different impressions from people. Some get excited seeing me handle their parties while some are disgusted when my name is mentioned.
To them, a lady DJ would not give them what they wanted. Some would look down on me because they have this notion that a female DJ cannot be good. But I tell you, we have a whole lot of successful female DJs today doing the womenfolk proud. Above all, a lot of people do appreciate me and say that it is inspiring to see a female DJ performing so well.
How lucrative is the DJ business?
It’s like every other business in the entertainment industry. It is not something that comes every day or every week but when it comes, it comes good. The money is okay but I can’t mention anything now except when you are ready for business.
For us as professional DJs, it works in a different ways. Sometimes, clients can call and appreciate you on a good day for a job you did before. Sometimes, you can make do with music mixes that put food on the table. Usually, I do free music mix for friends except when business is involved.
How many events have you featured in?
I have featured in almost all the big events you can mention. AY’s live show, Basketmouth’s Uncensored, Snapp Launch event, MTN Project Fame, Airtell Music Star, Globacom event, so many that I can’t remember now. As you know, Jimmy Jatt is my mentor and I have done a lot of things with him. I have been able to master how to handle events of all kinds and that gave me the leverage to do my own thing.
Funny enough, I was a professional DJ before I met Jimmy. But he built me up as a brand in the industry. It wasn’t easy in the first place, but my persistence and stubbornness made him to accept me. DJ is one job I have passion for and love doing.
How do you select your music in parties?
Most of the time, I do not select music before embarking on any party event. I just get to where I am to perform, look at the crowd and select music that suits the audience. This is the important aspect of the job. I have to study and understand the crowd, know whether they are party goers or just everyday people and select music that meets their expectations. This helps because when there is a special request, I do not disappoint.
What else do you do aside DJ?
DJ is all that I do for now. If I am going to do music, it will be a remix like Jimmy Jatt did. Meanwhile, I am running a degree programme in Law at National Open University of Nigeria. May be, after graduation, I can set my eyes on other things.
Is DJ Nana married?
I am still young and single. I am not planning to marry for now. I am chasing money and of course, you know it is important to settle my bills.
What was it like growing up?
In the beginning it was tough. I was born in Lagos but I hail from Kogi State. My parents got separated when I was 6 years. I stayed with my grandmother in Kogi State, where I had part of my early school. I also lived in Abuja with my paternal aunt. Thereafter, I came back to Lagos and was enrolled in St Joseph’s Secondary School .
While at St Joseph, I was on the hype side. Not just because of my early itinerary upbringing but I saw myself that way despite the fact that my dad was a strict religious person. It was a school where students were known for their academic excellence . But I was eventually termed a bad girl because of my lifestyle.
There was a strong opposition from my parents as they wanted me to become a lawyer. I refused to apply to read Law in any university because of my interest in entertainment. They all thought I was making a great mistake.
But I made my parents to understand that if you are passionate about anything, you can be successful. But they have come to accept me the way I am because money is rolling in and that is a reality although I have been doing it without their approval.
What advice do you have for your young admirers?
Be yourself and be sure of what you want to do. It is when you are not sure of whom you are and what you actually want to do with your life that you can easily get distracted. Go for your passion and channel all your energies to it. You can’t ask God to help you while you do nothing to help yourself. Be focused, be dedicated. With perseverance you will succeed.