Through my years of being a Disk Jockey (DJ), I have gone through a lot. From being criticized for my DJ skills, to embarrassing myself by not knowing how to properly handle the equipment, I’ve dealt with hypocrites i.e. those who support me but never want to see me better myself, Promoters who don’t want to pay me because I don’t have the big name yet and more. Nevertheless, this is a short synopsis of my struggle to make it to where I am now.
Words by DJ Scribz
I started out making simple Mixtapes (CDs) and playing on Online Radio Stations. This is how I’ve managed to get my name out there, and develop my craft. Through Online Radio, I was able to play on a number of Stations live, and with that I’ve gained fans. From there I’ve worked on building a fan base who’ve supported my Mixtapes no matter what I’ve released. Although this was helping me to get my name out, I was not making anything from it but with the help of a few fans who’ve held “Drink Ups”, I would get a few bookings. While these bookings were mainly utilizing my name to get a buzz for the “Drink Up”, they were deemed profitable in the end and I was never paid for my time, not even given a stipend to get me back home. From this point on I’ve started to realize how hypocritical and selfish people are as they moved on to having more successful events, and never reaching out to me to be a part of them. I’ve helped them in their start, now I’m a non factor to them once they’ve made it. Life goes on though, there are those who can properly pay me for my time and effort or help get my name out there, but would rather use “friendship” as a reason to not do so.
This did not stop me though, I pushed on despite going through more challenges such as travelling very far distances and staying at friend just to gain exposure and practice on equipment. Some of the days I didn’t even have money to arrive at my destinations. After a while this stopped working out due to expenses, so I returned to making Mixtapes. Through these Mixtapes came more opportunities as I’ve improved on my craft with every release. The problem of getting paid however, still loomed as I’ve been booked for events just to mainly lure in party patrons off my name. Nevertheless I did what I had to do and played my set regardless to push my name. Sometimes I was the starter/warm up DJ so not many people would be there to hear my set, that was another problem.
As far as I can see, I have been at this DJ thing for a while now and still can’t seem to get the big break or even catch a small one that would enable me to generate Income. As a result of this, I tend to stick to making Mixtapes and not chase Bookings anymore. What I’ve done instead is ask for donations with every Mixtape release. The donations (via my Paypal) would go towards furthering myself in terms of buying the necessary things to continue my craft. I can honestly say I am pleased with the few fans that continuously support me, even though they aren’t able to donate or get me any bookings, they share my work and I thank them for the supporting. Sometimes it’s really annoying and frustrating as it feels as if I am not going anywhere with DJing. The only thing making progress are my Mixtapes, but that’s better than nothing.
All I really want is to be valued as a DJ overall. In terms of bookings, I would love to get paid just like any other big named DJ for my starter set, because in the end its still time and effort made. I’d also really appreciate if the people who say they support me and constantly bother me for Mixtapes either try to get me booked as well, or make a donation no matter how little to my cause. For as much as I have a passion for playing music, being unable fend for myself really makes me consider putting it all down and just get a 9 to 5 like any other Jamaican. Regardless I thank those who support and help to push my tapes, they are the real reason I haven’t given up yet, as they still believe in and push me to continue…