Deejay Jabsta talks debut into the UK & Ghana DJ space, amplifying Afrobeats and future endeavors
The amplification of music is attributed to a lot of factors and people, which are often changing due to the times and modernization. One group of people whose contribution to the exploitation of music and sound have not changed since their introduction are DJs. The role of DJs like Deejay Jabsta has consistently been a key figure in the amplification and exploitation of music.
Written by: Nana Kojo Mula
In today’s world, they have become not just tastemakers but the people who keep our parties, events, and concerts alive. Over the last couple of months, Ghana has been graced with a lot of DJs doing amazing things across different outlets. One DJ who has stood out in his dealings is Ghanaian-UK-based DJ, Deejay Jabsta
From hosting one of the most entertaining Twitter spaces to getting the crowd hyped at events, Jabsta is carving a good name for himself within the DJ community in Ghana and the diaspora. His drive and approach to his craft has caught the attention of many who troop to join his Wednesday Mix Session space on Twitter which has generated some interesting conversation on Ghanaian music Twitter and by extension music conversations on some traditional media channels.
In a conversation with Spark Magazine, Deejay Jabsta shares some insights into his life, career and how he has and continues to carve a name for himself in the community he finds himself in as a DJ.
Spark: Hello Deejay Jabsta, It is great to have you here for this conversation. First of all, happy new year and congratulations on the line-up of shows during December.
DJ: I’m glad to be here and thank you for the opportunity.
Spark: Before we jump into the conversation proper, take us back to the beginning. Who is Jabsta, and how would you describe your upbringing?
DJ: Jabsta is a multi genre DJ, who’s a lover of music and DJ’ing is one of the many ways I express myself. I’ve had a very good, Christian upbringing from both parents.
Spark: How would you describe your relationship with your family and how that influences what you do today?
DJ: I have a good relationship with my family overall. And they’re very supportive, which has transpired in my DJ journey so far.
Spark: Let’s get into your art. What was your introduction to DJ’ing, and which people would say inspired your journey as a DJ?
DJ: I’ve always been fascinated by the art of DJ’ing for as far as I can remember, however my first encounter with DJ’ing was actually through my cousin, Shane. He doesn’t DJ as much anymore but he was the pioneer of my DJ career to an extent.
Spark: In what period of time did you decide to take up DJ’ing properly as a career, and is DJ’ing the only thing you do at this point in time?
DJ: I decided to take DJ as a career in 2021. I was in Ghana during that time and I had sharpened my skills during the lockdown period. In 2021 I decided to go full time and actually try and see what it could bring. It was a soft attempt and I didn’t do many gigs up until I moved to the UK in Septmeber 2021 and decided to be more serious about it. So my first gig ever as a DJ was in 2021 however, I became very serious about it in the summer of 2022. So DJ’ing isn’t the only thing I do, I have a 9 – 5. I also do events in and around the UK.
Spark: You have been doing your thing out there; you were here in the motherland. What, in your opinion, are the similarities and differences between the two spaces?
DJ: They’re both great spaces for DJ’s to be in, because the UK is home to some of the biggest events and festivals which gives DJ’s opportunities to put themselves out there. Ghana likewise, with of course our popular Detty December season, which sees people from all over the world converge in the motherland, so I’m privileged to be able to show my skill in between the two spaces. There are also differences, and one notable one must be the style of DJ’ing, from a DJ point of view. It’s slightly different, which means as a DJ you have to always be conscious when playing between the different spaces.
Spark: There is one thing you have done well, which is continuously sparking conversations on your WednesdayNightVibes Sessions on Twitter Spaces. When did that concept come into play, and how would you describe the reception so far?
DJ: Haha, so I can’t take credit for that alone, I have a team with which I work. The concept of WednesdayNightVibes came to us after I had hopped on a regular Twitter space and I DJ’ed one night. The feedback was great and people wanted more so a couple of the guys who were on the space decided that we’d host our very own spaces every Wednesday which featured me DJ’ing, hosting music verzus between artists and producers, as well as having conversations about music.
Spark: Are we going to see this concept move from just Twitter spaces, or is it still going to resonate as it is on the platform?
DJ: So we’re working on a project that will see WednesdayNightVibes become an actual thing, so just keep your eyes peeled.
Spark: There is currently an Afrobeats amplification, and there is an ongoing movement to push more Ghanaian music. In most conversations, DJs seem to get the most stick. How would you describe the position of DJs in the amplification of Afrobeats and in the movement to make Ghanaian music great again, especially in the diaspora?
DJ: Regarding this conversation, I think the DJ’s are somewhat middle men in the conversation because an artist makes music and we deliver it to a crowd. So I would say, in order for us to push more Ghanaian music to the world and consumers, artists will have to be consistent with their drops and also consistent with the quality of music being provided. That will put DJ’s in a better position to put Ghanaian music on the map. They should basically give us more to work with.
Spark: I witnessed your set at IMSS and saw videos of what you did at Zeluvio. As the Gen Z’s will say, “You ate.” Two things: what goes into preparing for a set or gig, and how would you describe your experience in Ghana during the festivities?
DJ: So you need to know the crowd you’re going to cater for, that’s quite important. That way you know what they want to hear. I think that sets the foundation for how your set will be played out. Once you have an understanding of the crowd you should be good. My experience in Ghana December 2023 was a great one and a learning curve as well. It was my first time playing at a few of these events, example: IMSS, 2 AM in Front Back. And I heard some comments from a few people saying I even had the best set at these events so it was overall a wholesome experience.
Spark: We have seen DJs move from just playing the music or being tastemakers to also making the music themselves. Were we going to see you drop music of your own anytime soon?
DJ: Let’s see what the future holds haha.
Spark: 2024 is a fresh start, grabbing new opportunities. What should we expect from DeeJay Jabsta this year, and what are you personally excited about?
DJ: I’m excited about the major events I’ll be playing. Keep your eyes peeled because you could see me on some of the biggest stages this year with the help of God.
Spark: What are your final words to your followers and our readers?
DJ: I thank everyone who’s followed the journey so far and everyone who’s supported me. It’s just the beginning so brace yourselves.
About the Writer
Nana Kojo Mula is a Creative Art Enthusiast who loves to document Ghanaian Creative stories through his writing. Follow him on Twitter @nanakojomula