Henry Odindo, popularly known as ZJ Heno is a Kenyan deejay, music producer, farmer and Vybez Radio host. He is the founder of Empire Sounds, a label he founded with his friends while in secondary school.
The music producer has worked with some of the biggest artists in Kenya and internationally including Cecile, Etana, Jah Cure and Kaligraph Jones. He was the first DJ in Kenya to release hip hop collaborations, reggae riddims.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
After attending BlueBells Primary School, he went to Agoro Sare High School. In 2012, he graduated from the University of Nairobi with a Bachelors degree in Journalism.
Background and family
Henry is the firstborn in a family of two boys. His younger brother is Peter Odindo while his mother is Grace Odindo.
Although he lost his father in 1995, aged five, he still has some memories of him. Whenever he traveled, his father would bring him Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, TPok Jazz vinyls.
This led to him having a collection of music and he developed his interest in deejaying. He also has fond memories of his father buying them ice cream in Buruburu.
Although his mother wasn’t fully against his deejaying, she still insisted that he complete school first. After he dubbed Jeff Mwangami on her Jane Atieno tapes, she bought him a recorder. Their mother worked as a nurse and they lived in Jericho, Eastlands, Nairobi.
An abandoned dream
Initially, he wanted to work with intelligence, however, gave up on this dream after realizing one needed to bribe their way into the army. He did not cone from a rich family.
Music and Radio Career
Heno’s love for music would lead him to pursue that path. His record label, Empire Sounds, although not loud, has produced a number of songs.
He gained a lot of popularity in 2014 while working for Uptown radio and moving to Homeboyz Radio in 2015. He then moved to host a reggae show on Vybz radio.
In 2019, ZJ Heno did his debut tours of Jamaica and the United States with big reggae names, such as, Buju Banton, Protégé, Chris Martin and Jesse Royal.
Henry is a father to a girl named Kelissa, born in 2013. He told the Standard that being a father made him more responsible and focused.
The DJ also told the Standard that he is a sugarcane farmer. He farmed the sugarcane in Migori and complained how Sony sugar would at times take too long in harvesting. This compromised the quality and led to poor prices.