How long have you been on this DJ hustle?
I started deejaying in 2003 when I was in Kabarak University.
After attending one of DJ Stylez’s gigs and seeing how the girls mobbed him I just decided I wanted to be that guy.
But it was in 2006 that I started doing it seriously. Funny enough, I never used to like music before that, but entertainment is just beautiful.
Seeing people having fun because of something you are doing is the best experience ever and that makes me always want to be the guy people remember when they get home after a fun outing.
How was it being a DJ back then?
When I started out I used to make a video mix called “The Chronic” for matatus, then I’d get stall owners in town to advertise on it for about Sh6,000 each.
It paid the rent. I also hated the idea of an office job where I had to take orders from someone so I had to make it work one way or the other.
Somewhere down the line I stumbled upon DJ Stylez’s number and sent him a text asking if I could drop him my demo, and surprisingly he said yes.
That’s how I ended up in Codered.
What made you leave Codered? To this day I have immeasurable respect for Stylez.
The guy gave me a platform from just watching my video mixes when he never even knew me at all.
I don’t think I’d have been where I am if it wasn’t for him. He taught me how to play, how to MC, how to work a crowd and within the two years I was at Codered I had made a name for myself.
When I had to leave, it was about money. It got to a point where I felt I had built myself enough to hold my own and I needed to make that move.
It was the biggest risk I ever took. I’ll never forget that Wednesday 8th.
So what was the 9th like?
Haha. I woke up cursing myself and wondering whether I had made the right move.
I had no Plan B at all. By some stroke of luck, I got a call from DJ Mr Prime a few days later asking me if I wanted to host this new TV show he was working on called “Xtreem”.
There was no thinking twice about it. The following day I got into a matatu, headed to the TV station and straight on air without so much as a signed contract.
By today’s standards the pay wasn’t that much, but it gave me immense visibility. It’s been a beautiful journey since.
Based on that background, how do you relate to the illuminati accusations surrounding your current success?
Do I seriously even look like an illuminati?
What I tell myself is, I have to understand that a lot of people and fans will never have a chance to know me personally so their understanding of me is informed by what they read in the papers or the internet.
When I started doing that hand sign it was purely showbiz. If anything, as a geek, I read lots of literature and I actually own a couple of books on freemasonry, including “The Truth Behind Masonry” and “The Masonic Brotherhood”, which I read just to further my knowledge.
But beyond that, I just work hard and God has come through for me in everything I’ve done.
Does that include your newly received baby bundle?
Indeed. And just to clarify, most first kids are usually “oops” moments, if you know what I mean, but for me and my girlfriend Denise, it was planned for.
We tried having a baby for over a year before we finally got Jamari.
When she called me to say she was expectant I was doing a gig in Rwanda, so I flew back after the gig and we did three tests just to make sure it was true.
I was actually hoping for a girl, but on that day seven months ago when I held my son in my arms, it changed my entire perspective of life.
I changed everything to make Denise and Jamari a priority in my life.
Just before my son checked in, I had signed on for a six figure gig with Smirnoff in Nakuru.
I had to cancel it when Denise went into labour. There was no way I was going to miss his birth. And that’s just one of many such decisions I’ve had to make.
Until recently we never had a house-help so me and my wife had a routine where every morning I would take care of the baby while she slept for a few hours regardless of whether I’d been out playing at an event or anything of the sort.
It’s a very natural emotion I have of wanting to be there for my kid every chance I can get.
I came from a relatively well off family and my dad provided everything I ever needed. So I promised myself that I’ll give my son even more than what I had — except diapers. I’m never changing diapers.
How has your new role as a family man impacted your professional and personal relations?
I’ve learnt that people look at me differently when they realise I have a kid.
It’s got me jobs because a client feels more confident that they’re dealing with someone with clear priorities so they can’t even play around with your money.
Of course it also means I can’t misbehave out there so I have to handle myself accordingly.
So no more Avril related controversies for you?
That was a life of its own back then, but I’m over it.
Fortunately, I have the most supportive girlfriend who understands me and my work. She’s actually the one who has kept me grounded all this while.
Wedding bells, perhaps?
Definitely next year. We’ve been dating for close to seven years, and done the whole traditional thing. So you can be sure the wedding is on soon.
Your brand as DJ Crème has morphed severally over the years, how would you describe it?
Before, people would think of me and relate with the party lifestyle and the music.
But now my brand is more of a business. I have Epic Nation, which is doing well and that’s part of the diversification of my brand to make money elsewhere. Apart from my clothing line I also MC for shows and events as well as TV, which I’m going to get much more involved in going forward.
Off the top of your head, how much are you worth?
My lawyer actually did a valuation earlier this year, and factoring in my brand value, assets, debts and coin savings it came to about Sh15 million. Haha! I’m broke. But I’m still a small brand.
Hopefully, in the next few years it will be a lot more.
Most local entertainers couldn’t even come close to that, what’s different about you?
People do things for different reasons. For me it’s about the bigger picture.
As a DJ you can do gigs paying 20 to 50 thousand shillings a night and take home up to Sh400,000 a week. Most guys blow that with wild and flashy lifestyles instead of looking for the right place to put their money with the realisation that this stardom is not forever.
I don’t want to be balling right now then be unable to provide for Jamari in future. That’s why I work with guys like Soko Analyst who advice me on money because money is a business on it’s own.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be launching Epic Leaders which is a CSR project involving various celebrity friends and corporate partners.
The intention is to encourage young people to focus on their studies and empower them by providing direction and resources where possible.
I was index one in primary school, scored an A- in my KCSE and graduated with a 2nd upper Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, so I value education.
Finally, your message to Jamari at 18…
We live in a crazy world. Do whatever you can to be part of those who change the world leaving it better than it was.