The Nation

DJ Switch: Life is good as a female Disc Jockey

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Popular female disc jockey, DJ Switch, was born Obianuju Catherine Udeh. She has, however, become famous for her wizardry on turntables. Her rise to stardom is one that isn’t new to her fans and Nigerian entertainment scene. She first grabbed attention as a member of Da Pulse, a musical group that emerged winner of the 2009 edition of the reality music competition, Star Quest. However, things didn’t go as planned, the group was disbanded and DJ Switch went on to pursue her passion. Again, she contested and won the first-ever edition of Glo X-Factor. Interestingly, she has risen to fame as a disc jockey and not a artiste. She speaks with ADENIYI ADEWOYIN on her career, disc jockeying, marriage, and more.

You had a good outing at Big Brother Naija Saturday night party recently. How do you feel about the reaction from fans and viewers?

Gratitude is what I feel. For the love, the support, the opportunity to play on such a huge platform, immense gratitude is what I feel.

Did you prepare specially for the performance?

I would say I prepared mentally, kind of like in my thought process. You know there’s a difference when you’re playing for an audience of about ten-fifteen thousand people, five thousand people that you can see. I think the week that I played had about eight or nine people I can’t remember now, keeping at the back of my mind that I was playing for millions of other people that I cannot see so how to create a nice balance of old and new school Nigerian music was the third process and putting out my energy for the housemates to feed off while in turn feeding off of their energies.

Several DJs had it worse at the show, but even as a female DJ you were rated well by the audience. Was it a bad day for the DJs that flopped or was it grace speaking for you?

The truth is you will have to ask these DJs that you are talking about. A lot of DJs experience good and bad days, it’s not above any of us to experience a bad day. Secondly, I don’t look at this craft as a male-female thing even though I know we see females sort of differently; but for me, I don’t look at it that way. When I’m not performing as well I spend 75% of my time in my studio thinking of new ways to deliver a mix to my audience, thinking of new ways to switch it up. I listen to music in and out, I spend time on my music trying to reinvent myself. So, I would say my talent, hard work is covered by grace.

There are only a few female DJs in Nigeria, do you think the profession is gender-based?

No, I don’t think it is gender-based. As I said, I’m not the male-female kind of person but just to touch history a little bit. You know men started doing a lot more before women. There was a time women couldn’t vote, women couldn’t take up leadership positions in churches, and in some parts of the world, women couldn’t drive so you have to know that women are behind already. The race didn’t start with men and women on the go so men kicked this off way back. Women are just catching up now, women are showing their interest. The world today allows women to be free, to be expressive in whatever they want to do in their craft so I don’t think it is gender-based.

How is life as a female DJ and does it affect your bookings or charges?

No, life is really good. Being a female doesn’t affect my bookings or charges. The only thing that my team considers when taking bookings are questions like who are we playing for, who is my audience, capacity, venue. These are things that we consider when taking bookings. The bigger the better you most likely see me there but those are the only factors considered when taking bookings for me.

How has the experience been for you as Mr. P’s official DJ?

It has been great, Mr. P has been like a big brother to me, he is a wonderful guy and I’ve also been exposed to a lot while working with him so I love him.

How many countries have you traveled to as a DJ and how has the acceptance been?

I’ve been to a lot of places; I’ve been to Guadalupe, United States, France, Ghana, Cameroon, Omar, and Dubai. I’ve been to a lot of places and the acceptance has been wonderful. I’m just grateful that people accept me and my style because it’s something that used to scare me when I was teaching myself how to DJ. I wanted to stand out but I used to think about how I hope people understand the way I play and I pray they appreciate it. So the acceptance has been great and wonderful, off the chart.

There was a rumor that you are related to popular music star, Weird MC. How true is this?

No, I’m not related to Weird MC by blood but I would say I understand why people say that but I think we sort of share the same type of energy and also coupled with the fact that I worked with her sometime back as well. She’s someone that I respect so much, she’s an icon in my eyes, one of the great talents we have. I respect her so much and I look up to her too. I can see why people say that.

You won a couple of reality TV shows like Star Quest and Glo X factor with other members, however, you do not seem to be with these groups anymore. What happened?

First, if all Star Quest was when we were a band and X factor was where I was alone. The truth is what has always kept me going is the motto that I live by which is “never give up.” I never give up no matter how a situation turns out to be in the end, I never give up. With the Star Quest, we had a band, we had a huge hit song called Pray Sotey, we toured with Busta Rhymes but at the end of the day, the impact that we wanted to make as a band we couldn’t achieve that but rather than give up I made up my mind to try again and that’s why I went for the X factor. Things always happen sometimes we dream but it doesn’t happen the way we hoped or dream it to pan out so you just dream bigger. That’s how I see it but while you’re dreaming make sure you’re putting yourself out there, you’re working, you’re trying to show people your talent and definitely, that’s where the grace now comes to cover you because you’re working hard and honestly. Also, about the group, I’m still speaking with a few members of the group, we love each other and we wish each other well. No story there at all.

You are a songwriter and an artist but you are more famous as a DJ, why is that?

For me music is music. I love music. Anywhere belle face where music is concerned you are going to see me there. To be realistic in answering this question I would say there’s a lot of competition going on and you need to stand out and as much as I love music – I play the guitar, I co-produce, I play, I rap, I sing and all of that, I still try to find my foot there properly because I love to do things that I know how to do but where the DJing is concerned I stand out so I think the standing out is so obvious that it propels the DJ side of my career much further than the music side of my career but I’m still working hard at it and like I said I never give up.

What is your relationship status?

I’m single

Are you looking at getting married soon?

I don’t know

Do you think walking down the aisle would affect your career?

I don’t know since I’m not working down the aisle but I don’t think it should if I do walk down the aisle. I’m speaking for myself, people are different, people have different personalities, priorities, principles so it would be their decision. For me, I would like to be with someone that appreciates and loves the fact that I’m in love with music. Music is my passion. I left a field in oil because I studied geology; I left that field to do music. That’s how much I’m in love with music so I hope to be with someone appreciative of that.

Being a DJ in Mr. P’s camp, what is your relationship with his twin brother, Rudeboy?

That’s a family matter and I think we should respect that and wait for them to resolve their issues.

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