Born Rodgers Ray Ondieki and hailing from Kisii Town, DJ Roudge is the next big thing in the turntabling scene.
Last month, DJ Roudge was crowned the winner of the Smirnoff deejaying competition, Battle of The Beats. The competition drew a total of 19 contestants from across the country.
Following his big win, DJ Roudge talked to Pulse recently and revealed more details about his journey.
Who is DJ Roudge?
I am just a simple guy from Kisii town who found my passion in being a DJ even though I started turning tables professionally four years back.
Where did you learn how to turn tables?
I first started with playing on Virtual DJ when I was in second year of campus. Then after I was done with school, my good friend, DJ Jeff, started teaching me how to turn tables because he had a full DJ kit. He taught me everything that I know today.
You hold a degree in banking and finance and a masters in procurement, why did you settle on being a DJ?
I started working at a very young age. Before joining campus I was a supermarket attendant in Embakasi.
After graduating from campus, I was a bank teller with a leading bank after staying at home for a couple of months, but I was not making enough money to sustain myself.
Then I got a job with the county government as an accountant but still was not making enough to pay my bills so I settled on being a full-time DJ and I have no regrets.
How did you join the Smirnoff battle of beats competition?
I first heard about the competition from one of the mentors DJ Slim from Kisumu who advised me to join the competition.
I was in Nairobi at the moment since I was working here during the weekdays and traveling back to Kisii over the weekends. I then left for Kisumu where I went for the auditions.
Did you think you would pass the auditions?
No I didn’t. I didn’t think I would make it. I went before the judges with all the equipment I had. I went with the full DJ kit and I was ready to turn tables.
I was to go in fourth and while I was standing in line I heard the judges telling the guy who was on stage at the moment that they wanted an entertainer and not someone who was just coming to turn tables and that is how I got a ‘tip-off’. If I had not heard that I would have been disqualified during the auditions.
What was the most difficult part of the competition for you?
The elimination days. Every Monday one person was eliminated from the competition and generally Mondays were difficult days for all of us.
For me the hardest day was the day I was put up for nomination. It was last week to the finals and I was up against a guy who was not only a DJ but also a producer so he had an upper hand. I thought I would be eliminated but I made it.
Who was your biggest support system during the competition?
My family and friends. They kept praying for me and encouraging me.
What was your reaction when you won the competition?
At that time, I couldn’t believe it. It had not sank in completely and I was still in shock. Everything became a reality to me when I was the DJ for the Smirnoff New Year party on New Year’s Eve in Mombasa where I was slotted in between Ali Kiba and Sauti Sol.
This was huge for me because it was my first official performance and I did this in front of 8,000 people, sharing a stage with amazing artistes.
What was you reward from Smirnoff.
I got a one-year contract with EABL and Capital FM. I also got a full DJ kit, a MacBook Pro, a contract with Mr P and Bread House also promised something.
I have my party at the end of the month and many clubs have reached out to have me turn tables for them, I was just at 1824 recently.
What challenges have you faced as a young upcoming DJ?
There are a lot of challenges in the industry especially when one is not yet established. There is a big gap between the established DJs and the upcoming ones where the established ones do not associate with the latter.
The other challenge is many event organisers do not look at the skills one has but rather at the number of social media followers one has.
What is your plan for the New Year?
My plan is to establish myself and build my brand like DJ Joe Mfalme, DJ Stylez and DJ Jeff who I all admire and look up to. This year, I am coming for the top spot in the industry.