George Njuguna aka DJ Crème de la Crème whose 2015 has been a rollercoaster of emotions: The birth of a new baby, touring the world, and a sex scandal that made him a worldwide punching bag.
How did you manage to get Patoranking to headline the ‘Hakuna Matata’ festival?
It was through people whom we know. We wanted to rebrand the festival and give people something different. Epic Nation is going international; I’m talking about bringing in all the biggest stars like Wiz Kid. Chris Brown is in the pipeline too, and that’s 2016 for us.
For now, we want to test the market with Patoranking because he has the biggest song; it wasn’t easy but we are lucky we know the guys who hooked us up and we signed the deal.
How expensive is it to bring an A-list artiste like Chris Brown to Kenya?
Wow, it’s mind boggling because it’s not just his services that you are paying for. Some guys have crazy requests like: ‘I want to come with 11 people, band members, a deejay, food specialists… ‘ you know how these superstars are. It’s not that easy but it’s a challenge we want to take up. There’s only one way to find out if it can work.
You’ve travelled quite a lot this year. Which countries did you go to?
I went to Burundi before the unfortunate situation prevailing there; Kigali, Tanzania, Uganda, Amsterdam, Dubai, Qatar, and my recent one was the Australia tour for two weeks where we did five states back-to-back.
People are seeing the value in deejays. It isn’t like back in the day when deejays were sidelined; we are now being accepted and are stars in our own right. And it’s not strange because I’ve seen the industry grow.
I’ve been in the game for 10 years, seen the process which makes me appreciate the journey that deejays have travelled… so much respect to Pinye and Stylez who started the game. I think deejays like Mfalme, Hypnotiq and myself have commercialised and made it acceptable and reachable, especially to corporate brands. Deejays have put in a lot of work, they deserve it.
You’re producing songs now
I think that’s what has kept me ahead in the market. I’m trying to challenge myself by doing something different. You see, a deejay understands music and I think I know what good music is. I know what can create an emotion because a successful song is one that will elicit emotion, be it anger or happiness.
That’s why I did I Am King with Khaligraph Jones. I wanted to reach out to the hip-hop community which is big. With Sijakusahau, I wanted to pay tribute to everybody who has passed on, who paved the way for us. I met E-Sir once through Big Pin just a year before he died. When Krupt died, I was actually at the gig he was supposed to perform.
Then I was just a groupie hanging around deejays. I met those guys once or twice and they made an impact on my life. I’m also working on a track with Roberto. Producing, for me, is a way of remaining relevant and keeping the brand alive because music is timeless.
Once you create timeless music, your name is always going to be in those records.
When do you get time to rest because you have gigs almost every night?
I rarely have time for myself. It’s the hustle — gigs, meetings and family, that’s all. I do gigs until five in the morning, sleep for five hours then I’m up at 11am to hang out with the kids and help out in the house. I’m an indoors kind of guy. Sleep can come later, I’m still young.
Now to the scandal. Have you got to the point where you feel like you have apologised enough for the sex tape scandal?
This is something that happened a long time ago. I didn’t even have tattoos in that video. Most of the people have moved on and gigs became full after that. It got emotional because people had nice words for me, and these are fans, people I’d never seen.
I’d walk in the mall and some random person would stop me and tell me how I’ve inspired them to be better, people even stopped my wife, thanking her for standing by me. It was crazy though, everyone had something to say, and I trended worldwide at number nine; damn!
But I really appreciate the fact that people who really understand what showbiz is about know that you cannot be perfect. It’s amazing how guys have been so supportive, corporates still stand by me, I’ve not lost business partners and I’m selling out shows.
It’s humbling, in fact, but at the end of the day it’s about moving on, you can’t be stuck in your past.
Are you worried that your children will one day see the sex tape?
I know I will address that issue when the time is right. I always pray for the wisdom to tell them the right thing at the right time because everybody makes mistakes.
If I try and hide it, they will somehow still find out. I’ll have to make them understand that daddy made a mistake, I believe that someday we will laugh about it, but as of now it’s not giving me stress although I will have to face it at some point.
Are you past the whole issue?
I’m very prayerful, there’s no way I would have gone through this without God. When that drama happened, my wife was my biggest supporter; she even took me to dinner that day and told me to be easy, it happens, yes I’ve made a mistake but that’s in the past.
I’m always thankful to God for her because, how else can you explain that? I don’t know if I’ve overcome it yet but I have to keep pushing hard. I just can’t hide, I have two kids and they have to eat.
What lessons did you learn from it?
Everybody is reckless in their youth, and this is advice I give to the youth: be careful, don’t be carried away, be level-headed and think ahead. For us it was about partying and women, nothing constructive, but life changes.
I got closer to God by default, when you go through drama and you look at your life and go: ‘Oh snap’; maybe God is punishing me for being that guy. I think he was just giving me a reality check. I’ve grown up in a Christian family, my dad is a church elder, my mum sings in the choir and I was a youth leader.
How did your parents react to the scandal?
I think I have amazing folks; for my mum to call me and tell me that nothing changes, it happens, it’s in the past and it’s all good, that’s the best thing a mum can do. My dad told me if there is anyone who doesn’t have skeletons in their closets, then he should be the first to cast a stone. It was life changing.
As much as you have people supporting you, have you encountered those who point fingers and snicker?
Luckily no, but I get guys who take undercover pictures. There was a time I was having lunch with my wife, when people really wanted to know what was going on, I could hear clicks and when I turned I found a guy trying to take a photo of me.
I was like, ‘Oh my God, this can’t be happening.’ People won’t show it to your face but not everybody will love you 100 per cent.
You’ve been voted one of the best deejays in Africa, you’re constantly booking shows and there’s ‘Hakuna Matata’, what else is there?
It’s something I always think about but there’s so much left to do. I want to create a legacy, know that I changed the game. Last year during a drunk moment, I joked and tweeted that I was going to retire in two years.
What you say actually has power because you feel you need to do something better. Deejaying is addictive, that moment is priceless. But there’s business to do, there are younger people to inspire, a younger generation to make better. The possibilities are endless.
How many tattoos do you have?
Jeez, they are so many, I have my son’s footprints when he was three months old.
Which is the most precious to you?
My wife’s and my son’s, I’m soon getting one for my daughter.
What are you’re 2015 highlights?
So many good things have happened this year, the most important is the birth of my second child, doing a charity event for the First Lady at the beginning of the year, and my Australian tour. The drama is a highlight but a negative one.
You’re 32, are you scared of getting older?
Yeah, I won’t lie. The scary thing is, I won’t have the energy to do as many things as when I was younger.
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