TALKING DRUM: The man behind DJ Switch’s glory

“Hello Kofi, when exactly is the date for this year’s Talented Kidz audition?” said Evans Tawiah known in showbiz as DJ Fuad, as he called me on phone one morning. It was exactly five days to the audition of the season 8 of TV3’s coveted kids’ reality show, Talented Kidz. “Massa, why?” I asked. “I’m training my small girl to contest as a disc jockey (DJ),” he replied. “Wo yɛ sure sɛ bͻkͻͻ deɛ? [to wit; are you sure you are thinking right?]” It was but a friendly fire between the two of us on the phone. I had said to him it was exactly five days left for the audition including the very day we spoke. “Well, if it’s anything related to music and disc jockeying that you want to teach her, then, I don’t doubt your capabilities in this short period of time left for you.” When I first arrived in Accra from the Brong Ahafo Region in 2011, I sought asylum at Mamprobi [here in Accra] with some old friends I knew from Sunyani. And when I decided to cordially move to rent my own ghetto, as a man must not live in his comfort zone for long, a lady friend at the Ghana Institute of Journalism told me a guy in her class was also looking for a room to rent. “He probably would need someone like you to rent the room together,” she said. That was how DJ Fuad and I became roommates at Labadi Maami for two solid years. Our living together was a mixed bag of painful memories of hardships, fun and ‘fight’. Painful memories? Yes! Memories that still remind us that life is a struggle. There at Labadi, to have a bath was on pay-as-you-bath basis as the detached bathroom to our house was nauseatingly bad. But the use of public toilet was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Sadly, there were times we had not even GHp20 to go for toilet. Such times meant you either go to toilet on credit [as we became friends with the attendant] or you restrain yourself till you get to campus. The fun part of sharing a room centered mostly on music. In our ghetto was a man who loves music so much and was fortunate to have had another man who understood how to play music. On weekends and, at times, after lectures, we ‘partied’ over DJ Fuad’s mixes. Surprisingly, it was over the same music we fought most times. It was his culture that before the cock announces the birth of a new day, DJ Fuad would wake up, set up his laptop, connect it to some speakers and at the very dawn he starts his disc jockeying. When I realised that no matter what I said could stop him from waking me up at dawn, I stopped complaining and I got accustomed to the dawn jams. Here, today, is the man who after four years of our departure from Labadi has thrilled the whole country, through TV3, with a talent he groomed. He tells me that at the first phase of the Takoradi audition, those gathered could not believe Erica Tandoh, who would later become known as DJ Switch, really was the one doing the playing of songs. “I will say her mother first discovered her potential to become a disc jockey on the show. Then they called me, I was by then in Accra, to come to Suaman Dadeɛso [Western Region] to train her,” he says. DJ Switch is a fast learner so grooming her, first for the audition, was not that difficult. She had mastered Virtual DJ [music player] and she thrilled the judges to good music.

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It was not long after her Takoradi audition that TV3’s entertainment news reporter, Owusu Worae, mentioned at editorial meeting that he had heard of a little girl who would be contesting in the Talented Kidz as a DJ. He was poised to interview this girl. As Owusu Worae mentioned that I certainly knew it was DJ Switch he was referring to. I gave DJ Fuad’s contact to him and via Skype Worae interviewed the girl and her trainer on TV3 news. DJ Switch’s parents had bought for her a laptop to solely use for disc jockeying and DJ Fuad had also, from his own pocket, bought a GH¢ 2, 000 worth of turntable [music playing equipment DJs use] for her. The journey to the West had strongly been kick started. I personally did not miss any of the shows of this year’s Talented Kidz as I looked forward to what next DJ Switch would bring to her viewers. As an employee of Media Generale/TV3, I took a decision. That, I would restrain myself from publicly showing my affection for the little girl as that could somewhat undermine the integrity of the show. However, my role was to serve as a watch dog watching and looking for fault in her presentations and alerting my friend about such. In all, DJ Switch’s performances were fantastic. Whenever she performed, I could see DJ Fuad in her. It was, therefore, not surprising that she once passionately spoke about pan Africanism on the show as her trainer is a strong Nkrumaist. DJ Fuad is an ambitiously determined young man, calm, lives a low life, fears no failure, and he readily accepts his mistakes and correct them especially when he sees such mistakes were indeed his fault. Most importantly, he is someone who would want to glorify you rather than you doing so. So, I laughed when some of our GIJ classmates and others expressed shock hearing he was the one behind DJ Switch’s glory. Indeed, whenever I walk with him publicly, he is quick to tell others how good I am at writing than blowing his own trumpet of being a ‘competent’ DJ. If you did not know, DJ Black is his mentor and for that not a single Friday evening passed without us listening to the finest DJ’s Open House Party on Joy FM. DJ Fuad has already allowed dust to settle on his achievement and he plans for further improvement in his prodigy. “I would want her [DJ Switch] train more on her presentation and then ask her parents to buy her a bigger turntable. You know, she has a lot to learn on the turntable,” says DJ Fuad. Writing on his Facebook wall before the final show on Sunday, May 7 2017, he conferred on DJ Switch’s mother ‘Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Visionary Woman of the Year’. This certainly tells us that though he trained the youngest DJ in Ghana, he did not do that alone. He had support from far and near.
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I have seen and read comments of some people wishing they had DJ Switch as a child. That’s a good wish anyway. However, I believe there is something special in each one of us. What we ought to do is to work extremely hard at what we do best and trust God to crown us. When the light of glory shines on Asamoah Gyan, don’t wish you were him. When it shines on Joe Mettle or Sarkodie, don’t wish you were them. When it shines on Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Manasseh Azure Awuni or Kwame Sefa Kayi, still don’t wish you were them. When it does shine on Samira Bawumia, don’t wish you were her. And when it shines on DJ Fuad and DJ Switch, rather, let their stories and more inspire you and in your own way soar high like the eagle. By Solomon Mensah The writer is a broadcast journalist with 3FM 92.7. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect 3FM’s editorial policy. Email: [email protected] ]]>