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Joozey's gutsy journey to becoming Tanzania's top DJ

Saturday June 05 2021
Joozey pic

Dj Joozey. PHOTO | FILE

By Lilian Ndilwa

As much as we love music, we have never thought that knowing and understanding the background of the people playing that music is as important as the music itself. Joseph Simon, whose stage name is Dj Joozey, is one of Tanzania’s rising stars in the Disc Jockey world.

Aged 24, DJ Joozey is known for his habit of dancing and engaging with the crowd, be it in a club, a party, a brunch and other events. Behind his turned-up personality in different events, Dj Joozey’s background is what reminds him of working hard on a daily basis so that he could reach his goal of being ‘The Tanzanian Dj Khaled’. Unlike many people, at the age of nine when he was in Standard Three, Dj Joozey started taking care of his family of three people. You might have a question, ‘Where was his father?’ Apparently, Dj Joozey grew up not knowing him and that is one of the reasons even his surname ‘Simon’ is his uncle’s.

“I involved myself in many economic activities that enabled me to take care of my family. When things got difficult while in Standard Seven, I told my family that I was quitting school to find work that would ensure my sister continues with her education and my family well taken care of,” recalls Joozey.

Life started taking its toll on his family in 2006 when he lost his uncle and sister on the same day. It was then that he knew he had huge responsibilities, including making sure that his mother is healthy.

His path to being one of the leading Djs in Tanzania started when Joozey decided to travel from Shinyanga to Dar es Salaam. He had no relative, he had no one to look after him, to the struggling Joozey, Dar es Salaam was just another plan to fight poverty and better his life. Little did he know that his efforts would somewhat make him a success story.

“I recall one day when I was going about my hustles selling packed groundnuts on a winnower in Shinyanga, after I successfully sold the last pack, I boarded a bus headed to Dar es Salaam and hid under a seat to make it to my final desitnation. I had heard the stories of how glamorous Dar es Salaam city was and I believed that was my ticket out of poverty,” he says.

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Upon arrival to the big city, he stayed at the once Ubungo Bus Terminal for several months before getting a job as a houseboy who would later dub into selling and lending song CDs. He also became a tout in Kariakoo streets.

“When things started getting better, I bought a used desktop at about Sh90, 000 and used the little knowledge I had acquired during the days I was sold groundnuts to find my way around it. I then asked a friend to install ‘Virtual DJ for me so that I could play different songs. I actually learned the trick to using the Virtual DJ after spending a lot of time listening to multiple radio stations, especifically the ones that played songs for along time and I started getting interested in the way DJs were switching from one track to the next,” narrates Joozey.

One day while he was taking practical lessons, he met DJ Steven, who was then playing at a local station in Dar es Salaam. To Joozey’s luck, Steven was looking for an apprentice who would work with him side by side. As he was going through the lessons under the seasoned Dj, he also met the owner of ‘Maison Club’ Amour Shamte who told him that in order to be successful he has to be unique to other DJs. Shamte took him to training and exposed him to the world of DJaying. He worked at Maison for about 19 months. One Day when Shamte and his team were organising an event, the DJ who was to cheer the crowd arrived later than the planned time.

“Shamte looked at me and told me to take the DJ’s slot. At that time I had been receiving lessons but never played in front of a crowd. It was at that moment I made a promise to myself that I was going to use the chance to show him and the rest of the crowd that I was worthy of the chance to give people a whole different experience of music. The rest is history,” says Dj Joozey.

According to him, there is no such thing as luck but hard work. Consistency and uniqueness in what a person does is exactly what can elevate the person. After his first exposure to that event, DJ Joozey attracted different people to work with him. He currently plays for Elements Club, Clouds Radio and is under contract to play for all concerts and events planned by Vodacom, Sokabet, Castle light and Heineken. He has also worked alongside international icons such as Fireboy, Rema and Focalist.

With about three years of experience, Joozey currently knows what to play for different crowds. He has overtime mastered the art of understanding the music a person needs to listen to by just engaging with them and when he plays it, he dances with his audience to leave a lasting memory.

He is more into Afrobeat and dancehall genres of music. In the digital era, the young disc jockey utilises the online space and platform to gain knowledge on the plethora of songs available. Joozey smiles and says, “What keeps me going is the ability to give the crowd a different kind of music experience every time I go on stage.”

With a filled schedule most days of the week, Dj Joozey is on a path to greatness.