DJ Demakufu, whose real name is Martin Owaka, is a popular Kenyan DJ with over 70 mixes and a career spanning over 9 years. He has been listed as one of Kenya’s top DJs, with his mixes being played in almost every matatu across the country.
Born and raised in western Kenya, Demakufu’s story is one of resilience, passion and success. He has cut a niche for himself, producing unique mixes and opening a DJ Academy to educate and mentor the youth.
WoK caught up with this legendary DJ to hear the story of his journey and how he overcame challenges to become the icon he currently is.
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How long have you been a DJ?
I started my DJ career back in 2013. I have been in the game for almost ten years now.
How did you come up with the name Demakufu?
My first stage name was actually DJ Firstborn. Then one day as I was chilling with my friend from the coast, I mentioned that I needed another name. He accidentally said Demakufu when making a joke and I immediately tried it on an intro to one of my mixes. It instantly became a hit, and that is how I settled on the name.
Tell us about your childhood and growing up
I grew up and went to school back in the village in Western province. Later on I came to Nairobi in 2011 after completing my high school education to study computer studies. I later secretly enrolled in a DJ Academy because my father did not support my idea of becoming a DJ. After completing my Computer studies I got a job in industrial area where I saved to buy my first DJ equipment. That is when I begin my journey as a DJ.
How many mixes do you have?
I have produced over 70 mixes throughout the course of my career.
Where can we find all these mixes?
All my mixes are available on my website at www.demakufu.com.
A lot of us first heard your mixtapes in matatus and ngayas. Do you sell directly sell the mixes to matatu operators or how do they access them?
We have a distributor who sells out mixes directly to matatu operators, though I must admit that a lot of them do not purchase the mixes from us. They have other sources that do not benefit us financially. This is something that we hope will be curbed, because playing our music without purchasing from us is hurting us financially, since the distribution channel is breached.
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How are you able to produce that much content?
I try as much as I can to come up with mixes of new songs as they are released. This hunger to keep up with what is trending has been a huge contributor to the massive production of mixes. My mixes are also of different genres including gospel music, reggae, R&B, roots, genge, gengetone, and many more.
You also have a DJ Academy. Tell us about that an how prospective students can enroll.
I started the DJ Academy in 2016, in a a bid to mentor the youth and those interested in the profession. The Academy is located at Wakulima House. The DJ course spans 3 months, but we usually extend the duration for those who are not ready by the end of the course.
We currently have a special offer of Ksh. 20,000 for the course down from the previous price of Ksh. 35,000. Students pay the fee at the beginning of the course, and are only required to have headphones, the Academy t-shirt and a text book to begin the course.
What would you say is your biggest career achievement?
I would say that being able to work with big corporates like Safaricom has been a career high for me. I have been able to meet a lot of influential people and grow my brand through the platforms I get through working with these corporates in different campaigns.
What is your advice to the youth who want to be like you?
My advice to the youth is work hard, work smart, pray hard and remain humble even after you reach success. Most important of them all is to pray for favor from God. I believe that it is only through God’s favor that I have come this far.
Where can your fans find you on the socials?
Everything on my social media pages and contact information is on my website.
I would also encourage my fans to catch me every Monday through Thursday at 10 pm on Homeboyz Radio.
You are also a family man. Tell us a bit about that.
(Laughs) Well, my ex wife and I got separated sometime last year. I however have a child whom I love very much.
So you are single?
(Laughs) Yes, I am very single, but I am not looking to date anyone at the moment. I just want to focus on my career and try to recover what we lost during COVID.
What’s next for Demakufu?
Now that I have created my brand and opened an Academy, my next step is to start Demakufu TV or Demakufu Radio. That is what I would like to do next.
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