DJ Solo: Penetrating the market as a new DJ is not easy but it helps if you are passionate
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Solomon Odero, mostly I go by DJ Solo which is my stage name. I am the last born in a family of 7 kids. I grew up in a village called Wagusu in Siaya county. I went to Mbeka Primary school and then joined Maranda high school. After high school, I enrolled at the University of Nairobi where I did a degree in political science and sociology.
Did you always want to go into the entertainment industry?
I have always had a great love for music. After high school, I asked my parents if they could enroll me in a DJ school, they refused. According to them being a DJ was not an honorable profession. They wanted me to get a job with reliable paychecks, to be a doctor or lawyer. I gave in and did what they wanted. I agreed to join Nairobi University where I did a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology. After school, I worked in the foreign affairs ministry for a while. I was making good money but it wasn’t good enough for me.
How did you go from political science and sociology to the entertainment industry?
I never gave up on my dreams and passion. I used to DJ when I was still in campus pursuing my degree in political science. I installed the virtual DJ software on my laptop and I started teaching myself. I looked for youtube tutorials and learned. My job at the foreign affairs ministry was good, I was making good money however, I wasn’t fulfilled, I needed to make money doing something that I love, so I left.
Was transitioning difficult?
It was a challenge, yes, but it was exhilarating to have a full house of people dancing and screaming to music I was playing.
Is it easy to penetrate the market as a New DJ?
I am not trying to discourage anyone but it is extremely difficult to penetrate the market as a new DJ, however, it is easier to overcome the challenges if you are passionate. The first thing you need to understand is that being a DJ is all about building a brand for yourself. It’s not like introducing a new product into the market for people to buy. You have to build a name for yourself and sometimes this means providing your services for free. People need to know who you are and your technique before they invite you to play in a club or an event.
What are the challenges that you faced as a new DJ?
First, it’s expensive to buy the DJ equipment. I would rent the equipment when I started which meant that I would make less since I would split the money I got with the owner of the equipment. Another challenge is that people take advantage of new DJs and use the fact that you are not a household name to pay you less.
What makes you a good DJ?
Discipline, the job demands that I have to be out a lot, sometimes I travel out of town for days, I have to remain focused and not get caught up with the partying. Being a DJ is like being an author, just like the author of a book creates a storyline that the readers love, you have to do the same as a DJ. I do my research, create my playlist, and rehearse before I step before an audience. Finally, I make it my job to know my audience and try to play songs that they love.