Interview: DJ KAYWISE, NIGERIA’S MOST POPULAR STREET DJ
Ayorinde Kehinde Okiki, popularly known as DJ KayWise is a street DJ that is now a household name. The talented dude got a shot to the limelight through his street mixes and a skit ‘DJ KayWise Joor Joor!’ Having recorded so much success and accolades from the street; he instantly became a toast of notable media houses where he presently plays as the official video mix DJ on Nigezie TV, Wap TV and UnilagFM.
He speaks to Sunday Obembe about the challenges he faced as a starter and his plans for the future.
What prompted the decision to choose Disc Jockey as a profession?
This is what I love doing, I love playing and listening to music. I also feel DJ is the only thing that I can do best; it’s easier for me to do. I also have some knowledge about music and beat production too, so when it was time for me to decide I chose the turntable over other jobs because I love it more. When I started it wasn’t easy because my pastor parents were not in support of it, so I didn’t believe I am going to do it this big. It was just the grace of God that helped me and the fact that I was just determined to achieve something out of it.
At what point did you actually made up your mind to do it professionally, and what prompted the decision?
It’s about four to five years ago. One of my big brothers who is a producer inspired me, coupled with the inspiration I got from DJ Neptune when I saw the way he handled the wheel-of-steel when he came to my brother’s studio. After that encounter with Neptune, I checked his profile online and I discovered the kind of jobs he handles, right there I decided to go learn more about the trade before starting fully. Even the learning process wasn’t hard because I already know about beats; it was just an advance way of mixing beats.
Looking back at how you started, how would you describe the experience so far in terms of paying your bills?
It’s been paying off seriously, because there are some people that started far ahead of me yet they don’t have what I have today. Though it wasn’t easy coming this far, and I am not resting yet because I still need to put a whole lot of hard-work and self discipline into it.
What would say brought the breakthrough for you as a DJ?
I am a street DJ and I got my breakthrough from the street ‘Alaba Mix’; the street mix I did with the ‘DJ Kaywise joor joor!’ skit really made me popular on the street within Nigeria and abroad. That gave me the opportunity to do other things and handle bigger responsibilities such as working with celebrities, radio stations and TV stations. I have also been privileged to do a song with likes of Dammy Krane, YoungSix and Jasi on the track ‘Hangover’ which I shot the video in order to attach a face to the name DJ KayWise. I also recorded ‘Loyalist’ featuring Iyanya.
Having seen the success and brand name you’ve built for yourself, what’s your parents’ reaction now?
They now pray and support me, they no longer disturb me. I only try my best to prove to them that I won’t disappoint them. They now see me on TV and they really appreciate and respect me for what I do.
What are your plans towards the future?
It’s to work with more artistes, next year I hope to do an album, do concerts and shows. And as time goes on a whole lot of things will follow. And more mixes will follow because I won’t rest.
How would you describe your childhood days linking it with what you do presently?
It was just normal, I started hustling at a young age, though it wasn’t easy yet I survived. I played drums then in the church and that’s what actually help me in making beats. I also listened to the songs of Orlando, Obey and the likes that my parents used to play. I also appreciate God for my brother, Lisma who had a studio where I learnt some things about production, though I have not started producing fully.
Who’s DJ KayWise?
I am DJ KayWise and the real names are Ayorinde Kehinde Okiki, my mum told me I was very smart as a kid and when I needed a stage name, I chose the name KayWise. I got Konga through a friend to do a skit and he did the ‘DJ KayWise joor joor!’ Skit for me and it’s what I am still using till date.
How do you cope with different male and female admirers?
Sincerely if I didn’t get serious with what I am doing, I would’ve missed it a long time ago. I seriously control myself when it comes to friends and girls, I keep my friends to the ones I have. The new friends I have now are strictly for business or no friendship.
Who are your role models as a DJ?
The first person that inspired me is DJ Neptune, he actually stays in my area, and I listen to him on radio and I actually scratch the way he does. The person that taught me DJ Mobit, DJ Khalid and DJ Jimmy Jatt is also an inspiration because he’s celebrating 25 years while I am just in my fifth year. I am seriously challenged by their achievements, so I am working really hard to be like them.
What would you like your fans to hear and expect from you?
I want them to keep supporting DJ KayWise, that’s basically what I have to tell them, I only want to appreciate everybody that have been supporting me from day one, even the ones that are just joining me. I want them to also be expecting more music, mixes and everything.