When did you start Djing and what/ who were your early passions and influences?
I started DJing in 2010 when I came to Rwanda. I missed dancing to the music I was used to at home in Jamaica and I wanted to share it with my new friends. It started out as a hobby and became one of my favorite things to do. My earliest passion was musical film and theatre, as a child I loved watching old musicals from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I also really loved Michael Jackson, but between my mom and older siblings, I was exposed to all sorts of different genres.
What do you consider to be the incisive moments of your artistic career? If you have had any.
Definitely all of my firsts, when I took my first TV presenting job in Kingston, when I took over my own show on radio here in Kigali, when I DJ’d my first event, when I hosted my first big event, it’s those firsts that were the game changers, they challenged me and showed me what I was capable of. I’m looking forward to more firsts.What is it about being a DJ compared to any other profession that makes it interesting for you?
I love how expressive being a DJ is, and how you have the power to create a mood. I love how I can share my favorite songs and share the feelings that they give me, and then play old school hits or other crowd favorites that make people feel nostalgic and happy. I know that when I go out and the DJ is doing a good job it energizes me. I think that’s beautiful.
When you have a performance, how do you prepare for your set?
I think about who the crowd is, what time, where the event is, etc. and create a set of songs that I think would be appropriate, I make sure I’m up to date with new hits, and crowd favorites, then I sprinkle in songs that I love.
How would you describe your sense of style?
As far as fashion goes? I think my style is quite simple, I always want to switch it up but I never know how! Essentially I just wear what I feel good in, and the styles that flatter my body type. I like to have fun with my hair and make-up though.
Other than what/ who we see on social media, who is Makeda?
I have a family, different projects, hobbies, a history, dreams and aspirations for the future, just like everyone else. I do think that I’m a much sillier version of who I am online though.
Qn: Tell us about your childhood. Where were you born? Where did you go to school? how many siblings to you have?
I was born in the US, I moved to Jamaica when I was young, and I completed high school and University there. (My sibling situation is a long story, lol)
Other than being a DJ, what else do you do?
I also MC events and produce short videos about my East African experience for my Youtube Channel and social media. I mostly cover things to do in Rwanda, vlogs about my travels, my experience learning different languages and sometimes events.We also saw that you have a vlog. What inspired you to create one? What is it about?
I started vlogging for a few reasons, firstly, I wanted my family and friends to see how my life was in East Africa, many of them had never been and I thought it would be nice to share the experience. I also love watching other people’s vlogs and learning about their different cities and lives, so I thought it would be nice to add my story to the global experience. The main reason though, is because I thought there wasn’t enough content online showing what casual life was like in Rwanda. I remember before I came, it was hard to find information about day-to-day life here, I wanted to try and change that. Comments and messages from some of the viewers has shown me that it has grown into something of a source for people who are planning to travel to Rwanda or who want to keep up with what’s going on here. I’m happy to be that connection.
How do you balance all the things that you do? being a DJ, Vlogger, MC and everything else?
Everything I do, are things that I feel natural and happy doing. Even in my busiest times, I feel fulfilled, like I’m doing what I’m meant to do. When you feel like that, it’s easy to balance the different things. It seems like many different things to other people, but to me it feels like one.
Who did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always want to be a DJ?
As a child, and most of my life, I knew I wanted to be in entertainment, I mostly dreamed of being an actress. Even though I loved music, being a DJ never crossed my mind until I came to Rwanda.
What is your most memorable moment as a kid? One moment that stand out.
One moment that really stands out is when I moved to Jamaica from The States, the culture and lifestyle are so different! I loved it.
Qn: What was your personality like growing up and has it changed in any way?
As a child I was always very silly but reserved at the same time, and honestly I think I’m the same in that regard.
Qn: Being a DJ you are constantly in a music environment. How good are your dance moves?
I’m not a good dancer in the technical sense, I’m not good at specific dance moves and stuff but I don’t care! I love to dance and enjoy myself.
Qn: If you were to go on vacation, where is the one place that you would want to go?
I love going home to Jamaica, I try to go as often as I can. I just feel so good when I’m there. The people, the music, the food, the climate, the vibe everything makes me feel at ease, and like I’m home. Otherwise, I really love traveling around Africa, there are millions of untold stories to explore on this content.
What is your ideal date with a guy?
My husband knows that I’m a food lover so anything involving food is always good.
Qn: What are 3 things that you always carry with you everywhere?
Aside from my wallet and my keys? My phone, my notebook and a red lipstick just in case.
Qn: What is your morning routine? What do you usually do every time you wake up?
When I wake up the first thing on my mind is breakfast, when that’s sorted, I look at my notifications and emails and catch up with what’s going on. I’m working on integrating meditation into my morning routine, but it’s hard!
What advice would you give young girls who look up to you?
I would advise them to read as much as possible as I think that is one of the things that gave me confidence as a young adult. Also to be ready to work super hard to achieve their dreams and not to be deterred by obstacles, or too dependent on outside help. And to remember that they’re awesome!
What are the challenges that you face being a female DJ?
I’m lucky to live in a society that’s accepting of female DJs even if some people don’t agree with the lifestyle. I try not to focus on the challenges since fortunately they are not holding me back.
Was it hard for you to enter the DJ-ing industry?
It wasn’t hard for me as the industry was still quite young in Rwanda when I entered, also, I was on the radio so people already recognized my name. When I first started, I worked for free a lot, and I think that really helped me to get my name out there as a DJ. I still think it’s important for new DJs to be willing to do a few gigs for free when they’re just starting out. It helps to show people what you can do and introduce yourself.
1. Jeans or dress?
2. Lipstick or lip gloss?
3. Netflix and chill or romantic dinner date?
4. High heels or flat shoes?
5. Hot drinks or cold drinks?