Nairobi News

Chillax

What is it with DJs and groupies?

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a renowned disc jockey? Forget about the celebrity you see on the decks giving life to a party and focus on the individual — and how fame affects his/her private life.

DJ Mantix, real name Barnabas Otieno, is a renowned deejay who mixes both gospel and secular music.

His interest in music dates back to standard six when he used to steal away from home and go for training under the tutelage of DJ Mantell, another renowned DJ who gave Barnabas the DJ Mantix moniker.

His father was wholly opposed to DJ-ing but Mantix was determined to pursue this path. Sadly, his father died in 2002 while his mother passed on two years later — both would have been proud of the household name he is today.

“I used to work in a club back then but the manager used to dock my pay at a moment’s notice and was always complaining about small things so I decided to do street mixes. Also, fake copyright guys thrice conned me a lot of money,” he said.

Then he had to deal with stingy local artistes who wouldn’t give their music to DJs and so it was hard to come by music. With fame came all sorts of drama for the 29-year-old, ranging from aggressive female fans to being offered gifts just to be with them.

Deal with fans

“I’ve had to deal with female fans offering to buy me cars and houses just so I could be with them. Thank God I have one of those understanding women for a girlfriend; she doesn’t immediately blame me,” said Mantix.

He said that when he first started dating his girlfriend, she would always argue with him over issues that came with his demanding job, and even fight female fans who would hug him or act suggestively towards him on the street.

“I’m in a serious relationship now that hopefully will end in marriage but I’m always on the road doing shows and this affects any relationship. A couple should spend as much time together but she accepted the situation and has been great about it since,” said Mantix who has events planned from Wednesday to Sunday and international trips which can keep him away from home for a month at a time.

There are some positives however. He said his job enables him to network and meet various people who have built his career and fan base which translates to recognition and awards.

His lucrative fees from deejaying and knowing the right shows enabled him to start his own entertainment company; Tix Entertainment.

The road to DJ Evolve’s fame has been slightly different from that of Mantix.

Also known as Felix Orinda, DJ Evolve has never been to a DJ academy but he honed his skills in church, where he used to help in setting up DJ equipment for youth functions. “I’d help them set up in return for taking a spin on their decks before the event begun. The equipment was not professional but I learnt a lot through it and by working with that team.”

Expectations

“People have certain expectations of me and I strive to live up to them for the sake of building my career. It’s also hard when you’re in a relationship because if you don’t have an understanding partner, they always think that you’re messing around with girls who hang around you in clubs,” said Evolve about being famous.

Being a DJ has benefits though; he says it works for him on the dating front as it is easier to approach ladies, noting that there seems to be something about DJs that makes them irresistible to women.

“I’ve been hurt enough times to be wary of that kind of love but I enjoy groupie attention especially when they buy you drinks because they’re jazzed by your skills.”