Go sugar, you can do it! Your dreams are achieved. Yes! During my one year compulsory National Youth Service Corps in Umuahia, Abia state, Nigeria, I met a good friend and DJ. And his work and story inspired me. I got him to write about it and this is what he had to say about the thing he loved doing. He is more of the quiet, friendly type of person so you’re sure to get insights from him on doing what you want to do and know that you’re just a call away to your dream.He also left a short poem/ song. He writes songs for upcoming artists as well hehehe…. At day, he’s works for a company, at night, he’s DJ MINIM or the writer, ONIFADE DARE JAMES
Hey there, if you’re reading this, then it means I finally overcame the negativity that tried to prevent me from writing this piece. My name is ONIFADE JAMES DARE, and I’ve been asked to write about myself, what I love doing and who I am. I thought long and hard trying to come up with something that describes the whole essence of who I am and what I love doing hoping that its gonna be one “touching story”, one that someone out there can relate to and get inspired by after reading..
To soak up the little pressure that came with coming up with this piece, I just decided to BREATHE and just let the words flow. Once again, my name is Onifade James Dare, and this is my short story.
I have two names; one that you’ll know as DJ MINIM and the other as just me, James – the one who has a thing for creative writing. As a result of this I’m going to split this whole piece into the two separate parts hoping I can give you the best of both parts…
ONIFADE JAMES DARE as the ever-blazing DJ MINIM
As a little boy, I always heard my dad talking about listening to VOA (Voice of America) on the radio. I guess I was too young to really understand what pleasure he derived from that but I didn’t really put much thought into that. I would just listen with him to hear some men talk about some things that I could barely keep up with, I just couldn’t relate to it. However there was one thing about listening to the radio that always gave me a good feeling, the music.
Once the music was on and a DJ played on the radio, I’d always want to listen and the part I loved hearing most was when the DJ was scratching. I loved the feeling that that sound gave me that so many times I wondered HOW such a beautiful sound was created in the first place. I had never seen a DJ playing live at the time, and truthfully I never saw one play live for a very long time either, so all I could make do with was my imagination, and believe you me, I held onto that strongly.
Fast forward a few years, I was in University of Ilorin, studying Computer Science like I always wanted. In the year 2010 to be precise my Dad got me a laptop. It was a requirement in the school if I wanted to study that course. I remember being so happy that I was always on that PC everyday trying to find out something new I didn’t already know. I even went as far as naming it “El Nino”. LOL…
Anyways, I came across a friend’s friend who had DJ software on his laptop and he could use the software quite well. I was open to learning and I hoped he would teach me but he wasn’t actually a student in our school then, so that hope just went like that when he returned to his own school but that feeling didn’t really die.
I can’t remember how I got the software but I got it and even though I didn’t know how to use it I’d just mess around with it hoping I’d do something cool. As time passed by I learnt a few tricks on my own, the stutter, the play/pause/stop, and the sync buttons, I learnt how to use all those basic functions and then I could mix a couple of songs together. I continued to mess around to the point that I was commended by my roommate that I was getting the hang of it.
And then came the party. A friend of ours was having a birthday party and she invited us and during the party, some guys who used to use the same software were trying to do their thing. I convinced one of them who was a friend of mine to let me just try for a bit and when I did play, people got up to dance. After a few minutes the guys kicked me off the PC, telling me I didn’t play some songs they wanted to hear. It was funny cos I was playing the popular songs but I stepped back anyways.
They were kicked off the PC by a few girls who felt I played better few minutes later, and so I played till the whole shindig was over and it was a great feeling. I remember my roommate telling me that night that that it could be a thing for me, that I could actually be a DJ but I didn’t read too much into that and a few months later I stopped DJing cos I wanted to focus on school. I wasn’t doing badly at all, my CGPA at that point was 4.0 but my Dad wanted a first class for me and I was pressured a bit to deliver on that.
Fast forward a year or two and I had figured out that I should have something else I could do with my life. I asked myself “what if office work was not a viable option?” I needed a skill I could rely on to get me three square meals a day at the very least. With that in mind I graduated, and went for my NYSC programme in Abia State, and that’s when things started to change for me “sorta”.
I joined the Orientation Broadcasting Service, OBS as a DJ and it was always a great feeling when I played. I always got the – “your music selection sounds so different, there’s so much finesse about your sound” and I still didn’t think of pursuing DJing until after my NYSC and the hassles of trying to get a job and all that. Now I’m planning, making moves to break out. I used to be DJ DRE, but now I’m DJ MINIM, I decided to rebrand after so many people advised me to.
Its been quite challenging though, trying to figure out the best way to make a success out of a profession which many people see as unserious or unreal, but there’s one thing that I’ve discovered. No matter what you do, if you do NOT love doing it, you’d always feel incomplete. You might even be good at it but I can bet you’ll feel frustrated doing it and that excellence spirit would just be missing.
When I decided I was gonna start putting out mixtapes, I didn’t realize how good and happy I would feel. I dropped my first mixtape, SummerTunez, which was the first Entry of what I called my DJ MINIM Diaries. I uploaded the mixtape and sent it out to friends and everyone I could reach. I remember checking a few weeks later and I didn’t even get up to 100 downloads. I didn’t feel particularly bad about it at that point because about 40people downloaded and listened and liked it and encouraged me. That gave me the feeling of actually doing something that mattered, at least I had made 40 people feel good and have a nice time listening.
I decided to turn things up a notch. I started thinking bigger. I am an “Oliver Twist” for good things. I wanted more downloads, more people knowing about what I was doing so I contacted an old friend who was happy to help design an artwork for the second mixtape. The second mixtape, Turn Up Africa, which was a blend of some of the greatest hits in the African continent, blew my mind in ways I couldn’t really explain.
It was my hope that at the end of 2 weeks I would get at least 100downloads. I had spoken to a few friends who could help spread the word and help upload on a site at that time, but even before I sent out the details to all of them I had 246 downloads in just 2hours. I remember standing with my cousin when I checked and I couldn’t believe what I had seen. Long story short the mixtape got over 1000 downloads.
Better than the first yeah? Yes, it was in fact better than the first, but in life, challenges come that really test your character. I was putting out mixtapes, not making a dime from them and I needed to “be a man” and fend for myself. The jobs weren’t forthcoming at the time but I didn’t want to give up on this dream either. Prayer and hardwork I would say to myself. I rehearsed everyday like I had an event to handle.
I even created events in my head and compiled a playlist that would go with it. A few months later, I got a job with that kind of painful pay, you know … LOL. And while I am good at what the job needs me to do, every day I still feel like something is missing. Where’s that life that makes ME happy.
I dropped two mixtapes after getting a job but the download numbers weren’t impressive, not as worse as the first mixtape, but not as great as the second either. The third mixtape, 2015 HITLIST MIXTAPE, over a 100 downloads but not up to 200. The fourth, the PILOT mixtape (pardon my funny names, lol), not up to 100 downloads but more than the first still. There and then I learnt another lesson in my journey.
If you have a dream, a really big dream, you have to INVEST in it, and that’s not going to be easy. It’s a bit hard. Free publicity and all free things would only get you a mile forward in your progress, but when you make investments, you can be sure to get a hundred miles forward. It’s that simple.
There was a platform that I was able to get my 2nd mixtape on that I haven’t been able to get the others on. The difference? Download numbers. Compare over 1000 to less than 400 combined for both third and fourth mixtapes. The problem was I had to now pay to get my content on this site.
A friend helped me get the first one free but then it stopped being free. So it was only logical that I snapped out of getting free work and paying for the things I want that would get me to where I’m trying to get to. I don’t like my job entirely because I think I could be doing better, but I’m grateful for it because it’s helped me to get a better voice over, studio mixed and all that, and also save enough to get an affordable DJ gear, and from there, I plan to NEVER look back.
It’s still been a little bit challenging to get the DJ gear as at the time of writing this due to exchange rates and high fuel price and all that, don’t even get me started on all that story because it’s a bit of a funny and messy story but one that I hope would shape me into the kind of personality that I want to be and one that would help me gather experiences as I journey through life.
So you can follow me on instagram and twitter via my handle @djminim or feel free to send me a mail on email@example.com
ONIFADE JAMES DARE, as the Creative Writer
I keep telling people I don’t consider myself as a writer but I’ve gotten lots of encouragement for expressing how I feel. So, I’m just gonna put together a few words that describe me as a person.
Who am I you ask
Love is my strength
Pain my inspiration
Perfection is my obsession
Rationalizing my weakness
Passion is my dedication
Money making- my reward
Pressure is my friend
Even though I denounce her
Failure is my greatest scare
Even though I suppress the thoughts
I am who I say I am if I wasn’t, why would I say I am?
Boredom is my misery
Spontaneity my excitement
Hatred is the red snake inside of me
Fed by the feeling of rejection
Simplicity is what I fight for
But complexity is my share of the spoils
Who am I you ask
My answer, I just told you….
Do you enjoy music and do you want to be a DeeJay?
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