Gospel Hip Hop has never been better, with folks like DJ Mordu creating divine, funky mixes, thus making Gospel Music more fun! Voted Nigeria Gospel Award’s ‘Best Gospel DJ in Nigeria 2013′, coupled with his spots as Bouqui’s Personal DJ for four years running, 96.9 Cool FM’s Gospel DJ , Cool FM Family Praise Jam’s Official DJ, Xist Music Africa’s Official DJ, and Grammy Nominee, DaTRUTH’s Official DJ at his “Love Hope & War” Tour in Lagos, Nigeria, DJ Mordu has most certainly found his place in the sun! One would never guess that Mordu is a 500 level Materials and Metallurgical Engineering student of the University of Lagos. Nevertheless, you would not be surprised by the amount of fire he has for God when you learn that he is a key member of the Prestigious Sovereign Army Fellowship, which was home to actress Lala Akindoju and artistes like Mairo Ese, XL2LETTERS, and Mela. In this interview, Mordu clarifies certain issues on radio stations and air play, the Nigerian Disc Jockey Industry and the Nigerian Gospel Industry. This is definitely worth pondering. Take a peak!
- What is your real name?
Egieya Iliasu Musa
- How did you discover that you had a talent for the art of disk jockeying and how did you get into the industry?
When I was in secondary school, I would buy CDs with my lunch money every Friday, and I would feel cool at home blasting everyone with my music. Then I realized that I was attracted to a few things: music, creativity, disk jockeying, going to parties and all. It was more like a plant, that grew with time. My interest for disk jockeying grew with time. I took some time out to decide what I would be doing for the rest of my life, what my talents were and what I had inside of me, and I decided that disk jockeying was the main thing. Bouqui played a major part in my getting into the industry. She was my first breakthrough. I also learnt from MI. As long as you are good at what you do, you do not have to compromise or try to relate with people for benefits. Just do your thing and be true to yourself, and to the industry. And in time, a lot of people will be on the lookout for you, and would say ‘This guy is really good’. So you do not have to ‘famz’ anybody. So basically, I try to stay true, and I’m glad the industry encouraged me.
- What are the ingredients that make a great Dj?
First of all, its beyond your talent. Your talent is never enough. My industry is a growing industry, and what most DJs fail to realize is that at this stage, you need to be an entrepreneur. In as much as you are a DJ, you need to source for work and know where the real shows are. You need to understand that there is a difference between your talent and your industry. You need to understand how fast the industry is growing and where the money really lies. So basically, it is beyond the talent. What makes you a great DJ are your entrepreneurial skills. Also, you need to be extra good at what you do.
- What is on your Gospel playlist right now?
I have some Andy Mineo’s ‘Never Land’ EP, and the album ‘Heroes For Sale’. Basically, I’m authentically hip hop. Coming to Nigeria, I have Nosa’s ‘Why You Love Me’
- Were you specifically called by God to become a DJ?
I’ve realized that the best way to live is to follow your purpose, and I think disk jockeying is one of my major purposes. Gospel disk jockeying is basically what I am supposed to be doing with my time on air. So I went through a whole lot of research and processes and a whole lot of stuff.
- Why is it that a lot of Gospel Music is not mainstream or heard on weekdays but relegated to Sundays?
Well, it depends on your definition of the word ‘mainstream’. I think there’s a lot of mediocrity in the industry. A lot of ‘Gospel Musicians’ are not very good at what they do. Because they think it is Gospel, they feel like ‘Mehn, let’s just put anything out there’. So most times, my content is 99.9% foreign because those guys are very good at what they do. But in Nigeria, why Gospel musicians cannot be mainstream is because they are not very good at what they do and they are stereotyped. Let me give an illustration, the Poet, Propaganda made an awesome video, which T-Pain saw and had to tweet about how awesome it was. And Lecrae reached out to T-pain saying ‘Heyo, wassup. Let us hook up if you ever need to talk about the faith.’ You have to feel that and give it to these guys. Look at Kendrick Lamar, he’s pretty close to Lecrae. There is no box here. Jesus is for everybody. There is really not point in saying ‘ We are here, we don’t want to relate with these guys. I think when these guys get to sit down and do ministry music, you don’t have to box anybody out. Do ministry music. Relate with people. That is how you can get them to relate with you. And you would probably reach out to a wider audience.That’s what Lecrae is doing and I really appreciate it. I think it is something we should reflect on Also, there is actually a policy by the Nigerian Broadcast Corporation that you cannot play more than a certain percentage of religious content on radio (about 10-12 %).
- Why, in your opinion, do artistes sometimes have to pay for their songs to be aired in Nigeria, whereas abroad you are paid when your songs get airplay?
I think you would probably not need to pay so much to promote a good song. But the Nigerian industry is a growing one. You cannot compare it to the music industry in the US. Those guys were probably at this stage in the past. We are in the developmental phase, and that’s probably why we are going through stuff like that. In the long run, we probably not have to pay for our music to be aired
- What are the challenges you face as a gospel DJ?
Trying to stay creative, because you have gigs going down every week and you also have to be on radio every week and you cannot afford to replay the same old stuff. Working on your client and entrepreneurial skills, and going for meetings are really challenging. But, that is the life of a DJ.
- Apart from being a DJ, do you have any other discipline or passion?
Yes, I do. I have a passion for creating contemporary videos. Right now, we are currently working on a TV channel- all contemporary Gospel, more like sound city or MTV 10. To be frank, many parents would not subscribe to their own children becoming DJ’s but would rather prefer a white collar job. What’s the situation on your end? I still do not understand, but my parents were very cool about it. They wanted me and my siblings to live on purpose. They wanted us to be happy with whatever we were doing, so we had the freedom to choose. So, they were in support of everything. 11. Do u you see the career of a DJ as a lifelong one? Errm, I understand that it is my purpose in life, although I know that I might be running a few other things- a TV channel, for instance. Till then I really do not know, but I think that it is long term. But if I have to switch to something else, I would still be a DJ. I think I’ll be a DJ for a very long time. 12. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? I see some Rich Records collaborations with Lecrae. Rich Records is the leading contemporary Hip Hop record label, the best in the world right now. I see the contemporary TV channel here in Nigeria. I see us breaking out of the box and relating with everybody. I see us reaching out to a lot of contemporary guys here in Nigeria, in Africa and everywhere. That is what it is going to be by God’s grace.
Writer: Ose Binitie Contributors: Biegbana Jaja and Olamide Oladimeji