Judith Ifeanyi Egbon, AKA DJ Jiffy is the first and only Disc Jockey (DJ) IN Ika land. In this exclusive one on one interview with Emmanuel Obasi, she reveals her motivations, challenges and aspirations.
May we know you Ma?
My name is Judith Ifeyinwa Egbon AKA DJ Jiffy. I hail from Ogbe-Onicha quarters, Owa-Oyibu in Ika Northeast Local Government Area of Delta State. My parents are Mr. and Mrs. Chukwuekwu Egbon. They are both late.
What do you do?
I am a Disc Jockey (DJ) i.e. I play, cut and mix recorded music.
How long have you been in this business?
I have been in the business for 5years now. I started in 2014.
What made you to go into such business as a female?
First, it is because of the unemployment in the country and again, my Bishop was not happy seeing girls moving round the street without job; so he advised us to start up something on our own instead of looking for white collar jobs. Since I have passion for music and dancing, even though I cannot sing, I decided to find another way I could just fit myself into the music line. So I decided to start up with DJ work.
How has it been?
It has been fine all the way even though I don’t have much wealth, not driving flashy cars at the moment, I can say that I am fulfilled and happy with what I am doing.
We know that DJ work is usually done by men in the society, so what inspired you to go into it as a lady?
I am always in the company of guys. Apart from dancing being my hubby, I am also the only child of my parents, so I represent both the male and the female in the family.
Can you briefly tell us what your upbringing was like?
I was born here in 1985 and attended Onyeagwu Primary School and later attended Mary Mount Secondary School before my mum was transferred to Asaba.
Did your parents also sing and dance?
Yes, my daddy sang and danced. Whenever I meet my daddy’s friends, they remind me of my daddy, as a singer. Some of them wished my daddy was around to see his daughter as DJ. They said he was always organizing parties and such stuff.
How do you feel being the first and only DJ in Ika Land? What are the challenges so far?
I have some challenges, especially people not recognising me. Sometimes whenever they come into my office for business, most of them think I am the secretary not knowing that I am the boss they are looking for. Some will even go back thinking they met the wrong person. Even when they call over the phone and hear a female voice, most of them will not call back thinking I cannot do the work. Some of them will be imagining how a lady will be carrying speakers and other heavy equipment, not knowing that I have young men that work for me. These young men are the ones that help in carrying these speakers and other heavy items. Some will even think that because it is rare to see female DJs, it is because I am spoilt that I am a DJ. I am striving to let them know that it is not about being spoilt but a matter of what I have passion for.
What is your take on the notion that majority of people in music or show business are lousy and corrupt set of people?
It is a wrong notion. Like in some events, some people will just be coming to me, collecting my number and asking me out but I always say no. I believe that anybody that wants to misbehave will surely misbehave irrespective of their profession.
As a Female DJ, do you normally get a preferential treatment in terms of patronage from customers?
Yes, I do get some preferential treatments from them. Some people normally patronize me to see how a female DJ performs.
Can you say DJ’s business is lucrative?
Yes, it is lucrative. At least I am using it to train my son who is in his third year at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Who are your target audience when you perform?
It depends on the kind of event I go for. Sometimes when men call me for an event I usually know the type of music I play unlike when it is children’s party. I also try to blend the genres of music I play so that they will be suitable for everybody that comes around.
Are there other female DJs around that you know about?
We are just two female DJs in Delta State for now: DJ Matrix in Warri and I, though there may be other upcoming ones that are unknown. As at last year, we were about five female DJs in Nigeria including Otedola’s daughter among others. These are the ones that registered with the Association of DJs in Nigeria. We also have association at the state level which we termed Delta DJs. All the female DJs joined their male counterparts in these associations.
Would you want your son to venture into this DJ business?
Yes of course. Whenever my son is around, I always go to work with him and I also book shows for him to play most times. For example, during the festive periods, I normally send him to play in a place while I will be in another place.
There is this belief that most DJs in Nigeria and abroad are into drugs because it enhances their performance, so what is your view on that?
No, I do not think it is true because even some people that are not DJs including those that do not have work take drugs. Everybody has what motivates them to perform better. Like me, if I see smiling faces around me, am always motivated to perform better.
How has the government been of help to you so far in this work and is there any other way the government can assist you?
Hon. Hillary Ibegbulem, Principal Secretary to Gov Ifeanyi Okowa has helped me before. After I contested twice for Councillorship position in my Ward but did not win, I was broke so, I went to Hon. Hillary Ibegbulem and pleaded with him for assistance to replace my speakers which were worn out and in bad condition. He accepted and bought some speakers for me. I am using this medium to appreciate him for that timely intervention. I will want the government or concerned individuals to also help buy me some modern musical equipment because of increasing technology.
What is your projection in the future like in the next 5 to 10 years from now?
In the next 5 – 10 years now, I want to see myself playing my music around the world, not just Delta State or Nigeria but round the world.
Recently, there is this spate of suicide cases in Nigeria, so in your on part, how do you intend to use your music to help reduce the suicide cases?
Actually, I do not understand why people will decide to take away their lives by themselves. If people cannot help themselves when there are alive, I wonder what their reason is. The essence of music is to make people happy, so if people cannot be happy now that there is good music, I just wonder their reason for committing suicide. In my own way, I will continue to use my music to reduce the cases of suicide.
Why do you decide to establish your DJ work in Ika land instead of going to other cities in the country?
I decided to establish my in Ika land in order to join hand to develop Ika land. Some people always complain that Ika is still not developed, but if everybody moves to the urban cities, who will then develop the rural area?
What are you doing through your DJ business to ensure that Ika language does not go into extinction?
In DJ work, there is a key we call effect, so when I go for outside work, even outside Anioma zone, I always press the effect key to produce “Ika rinma” sound and once I play it, anybody from Ika land around there will know that I am from Ika.
How many employees do you have now?
We used to be five but three have started on their own. So, we are currently two. The good thing about it is that the remaining two are really doing a lot in this work.
There is this belief that the music we have now is mostly repetition and that some of it promote drugs peddling and abuse unlike the so called “Old School” music. So what can you say about that?
Even I, whenever am playing some young music, some boys will tell me to put new school music like Nairamaley’s songs and other new school songs. I usually tell them to leave me alone since they are not the hosts of the party. So in my opinion, I think the old school music is better in the sense that it conveys a message about what is happening in the society.
There is this issue of migration of people to Malaysia, Libya and other countries, what advice do you have for them?
Yes, going abroad is good but not by force. Some of them migrate because the country is not good which is true. When one is opportuned to travel maybe travelling for studies, business and others, it is good but whoever wants to travel should follow due process and go genuinely instead of passing through Libya en route Mediterranean Sea, because many of them who follow these routes do not even get to their destination; Some die on the way. So, they should just try and fix themselves up with something meaningful in the country.
How do you see business in Ika land?
Businees in Ika land is moving very well especially now that we have a governor who is an Ika man. The roads are good; the lights are stable and other amenities. So, anybody that wants to do business in Ika land is welcome.
Who is your favourite artiste?
I like Flavour because both the old and the young like his music pattern and the message it conveys.
Who are your mentors?
My mentor is the one I learnt work from. His name is DJ Bob Milky. Others are Erica Badu and Samantha Bronson.
What do you do during your leisure time?
I relax with music at my leisure time.
Can you say you are fulfilled as a DJ?
Yes, I am fulfilled now but still aspiring to go higher in this my career. I cannot say that I am completely fulfilled but am happy with the height I have attained though am still aspiring to go higher.
What is your advice to other ladies that want to be DJs but do not know where to start from?
My advice is for them to be serious and learn the work. Thank God I learnt it because the person that taught me thought I was not going to be serious about learning it. Sometimes some of these people who come to learn will just come and they will just be interested in the prices of the equipment instead of concentrating to learn. They complain that the equipments are very expensive but I do tell them that they should try and learn the work first.
When I started learning my DJ work, I was never concerned with the prices of the equipment; rather I focused and learnt it first. I also tell them that they can even be playing for clubs because that was my intention when I was learning DJ work. I wanted to be playing for clubs pending when I get money for the equipment.