THE craft of club wheel-spinning must not be underrated as it does not only involve the playing of recorded music, but also requires great artistry on the turntables.
the style interview By Winstone Antonio
When a DJ is playing music on the decks, he or she will also be adding some sound effects, doing smooth transitions between the records so that there are no gaps and mixing two or more tracks to give a different sound from the original songs to entertain merrymakers.
While there are three main types of disc jockeys, namely radio DJs, mobile DJs and club DJs, it is club deejaying that is regarded as arguably the most adventurous as it allows selectors freedom to manipulate the tracks.
The tracks played by club DJs are a bit different from the actual recorded songs as they can be long versions produced specifically for them.
Our reporter Winstone Antonio (WA) caught up with rising female club wheel-spinner, DJ Lyaness, (LM) (real name Larissa Makahamadze) who is among the few female club DJs who is fighting for space in this male-dominated profession.
The dreadlocked DJ is fast-gaining popularity and has taken the showbiz circuit by storm, winning hearts of many with her amazing mixing skills on the turntables.
She is proving to be a serious contender for the top spot in the male-dominated trade as she fights for her own space, in the process rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s finest wheel-spinners at high profile gigs.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
WA: When did you start deejaying as a profession?
LM: I began deejaying in early 2015.
WA: Is this a self-taught thing or you went to school for it?
LM: It was a blend of both my song selections and the way I got crowds jumping on their feet. It is God-given raw talent. Mixing and cueing my tracks is a benefit of training and a lot of practice and learning from the way my fellow experienced DJs played as well as the exposure of being on radio (at Star FM) and doing mixes for Yami Radio in the UK.
WA: What can you say is the most challenging part in deejaying?
LM: The most challenging part in deejaying for me was getting recognition and respect as a female DJ in a male- dominated industry. Sometimes I was underrated, discouraged and some people made sexual advances towards me as I tried to establish my name.
WA: How did you repel the sexual advances?
LM: I am an Empress, so I hold myself in that esteem. I value my self-worth because that is what will remain when I’m old and frail. I either politely or bluntly tell the person making the advances that I’m not interested. I believe who Jah bless, no man curse! If God wants me to have it, He will give me that gig or career advancement without me compromising myself. My faith in God helps me stand firm.
WA: As a DJ, what type of music do you listen to?
LM: I now listen to all genres be it hip-hop, dancehall, electronic dance music, country music, rhumba, sungura, naija or even jazz. I am an artiste as well so I find it very beneficial to listen to all genres for my growth.
WA: What is your strength on the turntables?
LM: My song selection and the way I hype up the tempo and engage my audience does the magic for me.
WA: Besides deejaying, what other talent do you possess?
LM: I am also a fashion designer, having founded my label Badness that I am also working on to expand. I mainly find time to concentrate on my designs before big shows as I wear my label to the shows. However, when I get orders I try my best to work speedily and accurately to deliver on time.
WA: I understand you are a mother. How are you balancing the two, family and showbiz?
LM: I usually set aside time for my family, especially in the afternoon to early evening. At night I have my gigs or do mixes or practise perfecting mixing with my controller. I also practise in the mornings when my mind is most alert.
WA: Who is your role model?
LM: Oprah Winfrey is my role model. She has overcome a lot of obstacles and also achieved so much.
Her character is timeless and is the most stunning thing, her giving nature also inspires me.
Andra Day also inspires me through her songs, voice and the way she portrays her art is so natural and authentic and touches my soul.
K Michelle’s persistence and strength of character and talent are also a source of encouragement.
Locally, it has to be Zodwa Mkandla as her business mind and work ethic have made her achieve great things as a woman and I admire that.
WA: What advice would you give to aspiring female Djs given your experience?
LM: I would like to tell aspiring female Djs that they must believe in themselves, be principled, work hard and above all seek God first as they push forward with their goals.
The journey is long and it is not that easy, but the destination is well worth it if one is focused.
WA: What would be your parting statement?
LM: I would like to thank all the people who have helped me move forward in my career, God the creator, Munatsi Rukuni, my supportive fans, media, promoters and club owners who have allowed me to showcase my talent at their joints.
May God watch over you in 2017 and beyond. Blessed love.