It was a chance meeting that left a lasting impression…, you step into an occasion, the music you hear is live looping music with mind blowing scratching capabilities. Songs blend seamlessly, slowly and then somewhere along the line the stuff slips into a jazzier groove and club bangers start dropping. As heads nod to the pulsating sounds, calitown.com looks the way of the disc jockey, DJ, and discover that the person turning life’s mine field into a music play field is, wait for this, a gorgeous L-A-D-Y. We go closer and see that the hands behind the often male dominated wheels of steel, punching buttons, turning knobs and dropping silky sounds are not a novice’s.
Ok, we bring it on, holla at Ekaette Jerome, the music panel queen, authentically reping-to-the-bone, indeed swing in DJ MAMA, Calabar’s ‘numero uno’ female disc jockey.
When calitown.com finally caught up with her after the first chance meeting, DJ Mama, did not disappoint as we threw questions at her, walking into her person and trying to get at why she has ‘dared’ where men are holding it down. She responds, “in fact when I first told my mentor that I wanted to do this, he kind of suggested that I should start up a salon instead, but I insisted that disc jockeying is what I had passion for and he didn’t discourage me again”. It is a resolute answer that underpinned the seriousness with which she undertook her DJ-internship, lasting three months.
As she leans back on the sofa of her cute living room, another question hung in the air. ” Were they entry barriers for DJ Mama?”, to which she nods in the affirmative and says, “they were, I mean people were surprised that I am a DJ, others doubted my ability and won’t let me in on a gig”. Perhaps those who don’t want this ‘Sista in on a gig’, belong to the category who need to ‘shake off the nap’ because things have changed and the hustle is for both male and female.
Pinning the crowd down on the dance floor is what every good DJ does and this sassy lady gives us her own holding the crowd down formula…, “I always think first, as in, I must know my audience, it influences the line up of songs to play, their pitches (sound scale, ordered from low to high), to match their tempo, either slow, fast or in between”. When she has done this, it often maybe okay to step back while jamming and let the group dynamics take over.
DJ Mama’s passion for what she does is amazing; calitown.com can see from her facial expressions, especially the glint in her eyes when she talks about her job. In between fits of healthy infectious laughter, you just see that disc jockeying is her joy. But she soon pauses, gets serious and proclaims, “you do not force anybody to be a DJ”, a response to whether she has mentored anybody. “I have three guys learning from me now and I know more will come but like I always say, those who want in must have passion and love for the job, be determined and focused, so that the experience can be rewarding”. It obviously sounds straight up enough because she is in the game, knows the turns and is walking the bends bringing her audience, pleasure to add up to their treasure.
“Why the name DJ MAMA?”, calitown.com sought to know. She exhales, flashes a toothy smile and gets all cozy, then runs her eyes in their sockets before saying, “I tried out a couple of names before I began and DJ MAMA, actually given to me by my boyfriend then (and husband now, DJ Vicolo), felt just right”. Her husband, DJ Vicolo, who sat in on the interview, nods in agreement. He provides the steady balance that lets her perform optimally.
Indeed this lady’s compelling verve is a freaky add-on and if she persists at what she is doing, it won’t take long before her skills pitch her against the continent’s best, she won’t disappoint, we know.
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