In a world where nearly everyone holds more than one occupation, it’s rare to find someone like Obi “DJ OBi” Ajuonuma whose focus is channeled into being a master of one talent as opposed to a jack of all trades.
It is this focus that got him through his recent attempt (and subsequent success) at breaking the world record for the longest DJ set. He played for 229 hours and 58 minutes (over 9 days) and gained global attention and support. During the record-breaking attempt, he was allowed 20-minute breaks every four hours and a one hour break every 12 hours.
“The world record was the one plan that could have put me on the map globally and that’s what the plan was, that’s what we were thinking and that’s why we did it. I didn’t realize how crazy it was until I started it… but… I couldn’t stop, I had to continue,” said Ajuonuma.
As a result, major international brands like Tag Heuer, Nike and Heineken have even reached out to work with him. It has also brought about travel opportunities.
“It’s a good opportunity to see the world and do what I love which is DJ-ing. Right now the world is my playground”
The Guiness World Record isn’t his only accolade. Ajuonuma won the Nigerian Entertainment Award (NEA) for “World Best DJ” in 2011.
During his lengthy career, he has had the pleasure of working with acts such as Lupe Fiasco, 2face, Lynxxx, Banky W, M.I and Naeto C to name a few and he has managed to keep his cool through every one of those interactions. Even when he got to meet his favourite artists and role models, Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs and DJ Black Coffee (real name, Nkosinathi Maphumulo).
He has met Diddy a few times but says that when he met Coffee, he was cool on the outside, even after asking to take a picture which he sent to all his closest friends to say “you won’t believe who I just met!”
He even admitted to using Black Coffee’s work to introduce his friends to house music.
“I have never met Sade Adu but I think if I do, I’d go crazy. I think she’s a ghost. I’ve never seen her. I’ve never been around her… All you do is hear her music and see her at a concert which are always sold out. But you never see her anywhere else.”
Ajuonuma boasts a very diverse taste in music which he developed by listening to the music his cousins and sisters played as he was growing up. He promises to take people on a global musical journey whenever he plays for them. He has been to countries such as Spain, Ghana, Italy, USA, London, Portugal, Lebanon, Beirut and Dubai but lists SA, America, London and Nigeria among his musical favourites.
“I really love playing here in SA because aside from people really loving to come out and party, they’re actually music lovers. They like to hear brand new stuff, they know their music and if you’re playing for a really diverse crowd, you’ll have no problems. The same goes for America,” said Ajuonuma.
The DJ shared how it amuses him when people in a club try to speak to each other over the sound of the music or they try to request songs when he can barely hear them. According to Ajuonuma, the most amusing thing is when people use made up sign language or try to act out the songs they want to request as if they were playing a game of charades.
“It wasn’t up until University that i decided to give my own contribution to music and do my own part.”
In addition to being influenced by his family’s taste in music growing up, he was introduced to the industry through his father’s work.
According to YNailja.com, he is the son of the late Dr. Levi Chibuike Ajuonuma – who was a popular media professional.
He says it was a toss up between becoming a party promoter or a DJ and thank goodness he chose DJ’ing
“I thought, ‘this party promoter thing is stressful and you might make money’ and I didn’t like the ‘might’ part… and then I thought, ‘as a DJ, you’re the life if the party’ and my music knowledge was very broad and as a party promoter, I wouldn’t get to play the music I like or showcase new music so DJ’ing is better”
When asked what he doesn’t like about the music industry and what he feel’s he could do to change it, Ajuonuma said he doesn’t like it when people stay in the same lane.
“There’s a new sound that comes out, I’d like to say… every 4 years and It’s cool for the first year or year and a half but then everyone ends up wanting to stay in that lane and then they all start sounding the same and then the people that are original and staying true to what they know, you now look at them as if they’re weird,” said Ajuonuma.
He stated that he wishes we could be more open-minded globally for music and just be able to accept different things and different sounds
“I like the fact that we evolve but let’s not stick to one lane or one channel.”
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