2013 looks set to be the year that Afrobeats fully takes the mainstream charts by storm!With its upbeat, vibrant sound, it’s hardly surprising that Afrobeat is here to stay with nights such as Bantu in London gaining more and more popularity.
Before the genre explodes next year, we’ve caught up with DJ Edu, ahead of his exclusive DJ set at Bantu on New Years eve to get his take on what’s in store for Afrobeats in 2013.
Interview with DJ Edu from 1xtra - The Afroboss
1. What first brought you to the BBC Radio show, being 1xtra’s first and still only anchor for the African mix show DNA (Destination Africa)?
“I started off as a Hip-hop and R&B DJ; When the BBC 1xtra first Launched, they asked me to do a mix for them. At that time, I wasn't given the job, but a year later, the BBC asked me to audition and I got the show”
2. So obviously, you must've been really pleased to have been asked?
“Yeah, Exactly, it was exciting, I got to do a lot of parties and it just came at the right time”.
3. What do you think has made you so successful and enduring?
“Keep going at it! When I started off, it wasn't as popular as it is right now…”
4. But why do you think that is? Do you think its your personality that’s been the catalyst for it?
“Yeah, Yeah. Cause I'm a people-person, it’s easier to connect with the artists, the crowds that come out to party with us. Obviously being with the BBC helps, to have an official centre that reaches so many”.
5. How long do you think Afrobeat will last? Do you think it’s a fad or here to stay?
“I think the 'Afrobeats' of it will probably morph into something else. But the African music being made by young people will continue, because it has always been there. I've had the show for 7-8 years and we've never struggled for music. But the theme, like every other theme will grow and mix with other themes like how Hip-Hop and R&B became Urban and all these little things. But I think it will sustain. It’s not a fad, it’s a lifestyle.”
6. Some would say you've been a huge platform for artists such as K’Naan and Nnek breaking out into the UK scene. How influential do you think you are for both the music scene and the individual artists?
“ Well when we were first putting those artists on at the time, I wasn’t hoping for anything in return. It was just intriguing… All these accolades the artists got after, that’s quite humbling for me because if you have that vision and you can support other artist out there, it creates more avenues for all of us. Creating those links and giving as many people the opportunity.”
5. How proud are you that your DNA radio show is international and its being aired in Germany too (Funkhauseuropa Radio). Do you think Afrowestern music is going to spread world wide?
“With the new technologies like digital radio, the show gets such a wide audience. When I’m doing the show live, I get texts from Poland, emails from Brazil. There is a musical exchange now that is making African music worldwide. There is a big, big potential. The sky’s the limit”
6. How do you have time to have such a successful show, write for Arise (African Magazine) and work on an African TV show in UK and still have time to perform on events such this year's New Years Eve?
“Being really organised. Right now, I'm going to give a talk at the West minister university… There's always time to make things grow. The love of the music and another way of giving back keeps me going. I am an innovator and a creator so being able to merge music and marry different cultures makes it worth it.”
7. So talking of promoting, I hear you going to be performing on New Years Eve, Where can we find you?
"I am doing an exclusive DJ set at the Bantu New Years Eve Party At the Gable Bar, London." Details here
8. And what are we going to expect from this night?
“We’re going to get a taste of everything! Unlike other Afrobeats DJs, I play Hip-Hop, R&B… all the common genres that you know. So even if you’re not into African music, you will have a taste of it in a way you've never heard before, that will make you understand that this music is on par with every other genre. So you hear Jay-Z, and then you hear an underlying beat and you like, "Wow, That’s really amazing".”
9. Why should we go there? What's going to be different?
“It’s going to be a melting pot of cultures and music that you've never heard or experienced before in one night. We’re going to be making a statement and come up in the new year, 2013, a fresh new person.”
10. What's next on your list to achieve:
“ I'm actually going on tour and spread myself as wide as I can. Going to Uganda, Kenya, Ghana etc... Starting in the UK, then America and then Africa.”
Shoobs had a great time chatting to DJ Edu! He has to be one of nicest DJs around. Don't forget to click the below links to find details of where you can catch him on New Years Eve and details of his DNA show on BBC 1xtra.