Nigerian Gospel DJs Still Struggling With Acceptance – DJ Ernesty | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigerian Gospel DJs Still Struggling With Acceptance – DJ Ernesty

Dj Ernesty
Posted: Oct 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

As one of the few gospel disc jockeys (DJs) who have been around for almost a decade, DJ Ernesty, an Estate management and Valuation graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, and an Abuja based DJ, told Chinyere Abiaziem about how he has carved a niche for himself and how the younger ones in the industry can get it right not minding the present struggle for acceptance.

Finding gospel Disc Jockeys in this part of the world is actually not a common sight, can you talk about your journey into the DJ world and what influenced your choice to be a Gospel DJ?

Thank you so much.  I have been a DJ for almost a decade. I started back in school. I studied Estate Management and Valuation at the Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger State. I fell in love with the art out of the zeal to have extracurricular activities apart from my books. I had a friend in 2008 who introduced me to the art because he was also a DJ in a small hotel in Niger State. We used to go there together to TURN UP! Then I gave my life to Christ in 2010. I wanted to do away with some things and DJing didn’t just want to leave me alone. I became a gospel music fanatic. I followed a lot of gospel artistes back then especially in the Hip-hop genre. I am a die-hard fan of rap music. So to cut it short, the leading just came to me to be a gospel DJ at a wedding where they requested that only gospel music should be played. I started building it up from there, prayed about it and had the conviction that the great commission was what I really wanted to do for God’s Kingdom.

Does this mean you strictly do gospel music at events?

I feel the main reasons why people will want secular music at events such as weddings is because they feel the gospel music is dull or unfamiliar. When I started, I actually faced the challenge of playing secular songs, it was not easy then but a lot easy now because I have defined myself and proved myself worthy.

I believe you must have listened to lots of talents, what is that element in a Christian song that makes you want to play it again and again?

That element to me is first the sound in the music. It must give me goose bumps for me to really like it. And so I want to hear it again and again, before I settle down to listen to what the music has to say.

How important are the lyrics of a song to your acceptance?

Very important, but it is funny enough, the second is the most important thing to me. Like I said before, the second is the lyrics. This is because the sounds get your attention but the lyrics drive it home with the impart being enormous.

In your opinion, are Christian artistes whether rap or others, doing well in the presentation of their packages?

Like I always say to every gospel artiste, “Music is music, first, before it is tagged Christian music.” I will narrow my answers to Nigeria only, it is just recently that gospel artistes really found the antidote to take over by building more on innovations, ideas and not following what worked for Mr. B verbatim.

Are you a member of any DJ association?

I don’t belong to a DJ association but I belong to a group of Gospel DJs with the likes of DJ Gosporella and we liaise and share ideas to break through.

As a gospel DJ, what are the challenges therein so far and how have you been able to tackle them?

Gospel DJs have not fully found their footing yet. This is because most of us are still struggling with acceptance, and I want to be a pace setter to that effect with my experience and expertise. Trust me it is not just about the talents but how you go about using it. Gospel DJs are not fully accepted in churches but thank God I have conquered that process. I am a COZA member and I was given an opportunity and I took it with my life and so much prayers. A Christian DJ is not meant to only function in churches; it is just like one of those places. Whenever I play in church, it is like I am the choir master. I take them on a journey of praise and worship with my talent and knowledge of good gospel music to suit the moment. And also I introduce songs to them as well by playing the role of an artiste.

How often do you partner with gospel artistes in terms of hyping their songs?

It is what I am called to do – to announce the gospel ministers to the world.

How can you advise gospel artistes on identifying their uniqueness?
I strongly recommend that your music should first be appealing. Get different people’s opinions. Be open minded in forming your rhythm and sounds in your music. Then when you are sure you have a masterpiece, then the journey has started for you. You can only identify your calling if first you are a true Christian thereafter the holy spirit will lead you to it. For me it came to me like an idea and burning desire which I followed because I loved God and was looking for a very acceptable way to circulate gospel music. This was why I joined the secular world with my conviction intact to infiltrate it, to create a balance, being unique and rare but accepted.

For the young gospel DJs trying to be heard or seen, what will you want to counsel them?

They should play popular gospel songs to fit into the event and take the audience on a ride. At that point sample and sample until you get their attention. In addition, I will recommend the DJ Ernesty points which are -1. Master your art, as in know how to sing well.  2. Package yourself very well, have something that someone can never forget you for in both physical and abstract.  3. Put yourself out there equipped with your principles and talents and all you have to offer, loom for anywhere you can do someone a favour with what you have.  4. Be open to criticisms and always find a way to build your brand or push it. 5. Be consistent because someone somewhere is noticing you.