Vendor Spotlight - D&J Audio Part (1)
Our vendor spotlight series are back with a bang (literally), this time with D&J Audio and yes, they are Deejays. We had such an awesome time interviewing this couple- yes, you heard right! For the last seventeen years, David and Jennifer Tumwesigye have been bringing happiness to wedding couples by providing wedding entertainment as deejays. Sit back and enjoy this power couple’s business journey as deejays in this first of five in the D&J vendor spotlight series!
To start off, what is D&J Audio and how did you get started on this journey?
David: D&J stands for David and Jennifer. Jennifer, my wife, is our managing director; she runs the show! Most of her work is really about getting us customers because she’s a networker. I am more of a technical person. I started the journey and then she took over. So, you asked us to share about our journey; we started this business in 2004, its one of those businesses that grew out of passion.
I used to work in West Africa and I had a lot of time on myself but before then I loved music so I collected a lot of music during my study days, I was among the first people on the internet, I was on Napster, so I had access to music; I didn’t need to have money to buy CDs. Our music was all on cassette tapes. In the days I was growing up, people had record players; I grew up in the village and that was reserved for DJs. My cousin was a DJ so there is a bit of it in the blood (laughs). My mom was always humming a song too, so it's in the genes.
Jennifer used to be a dancer, could you believe it? (Jeniffer chuckles) We are an artistic and musical family. It is that love for music and the opportunities presented by the internet that made us DJs. I categorize myself among those internet enabled DJs because I joined Napster out of curiosity.
I am still very curious about the internet and that was powered by one of my best friends who actually became an IT Guru; I was kind of following his every move so when he was learning how to use computers, I did too. When I eventually had access to the internet, one of the things I really sought to understand was how music works so Napster became my fascination. I also met a lot of people, networked, you know, even before Facebook. All the chatrooms in Uganda that I was part of, I was there mainly because Napster introduced chatting to me as part of conversation in the internet world.
In 2001, I went to the Netherlands to study for my masters where I had even more time and faster internet. Apart from reading, my other pass time was downloading and playing music. I also downloaded a lot of software. I was among the first people in Uganda to own a professional version of PCDJ, it was called PCDJ Red. The most important part of that journey was that I had time and music.
I then went to Ghana where even more time presented itself on my hands. It’s here that I had an opportunity to work and play music at a café. It was one of the biggest internet cafés in the country then and is actually now one of the leading internet providers in Ghana. Easy internet is the name; they had a big internet café with over 1000 computers. Back then, it was edgy to have virtual offices and these guys did which attracted me! I played music all the time, downloaded music for the internet lovers.
I returned to Uganda in 2004 and told Jennifer, ‘…Look, I can play music and I don’t just need to play it at home so why don’t we start a DJ company?’ That’s how D&J Audio was formed!
Jennifer: Maybe if I may, one of the reasons I think, I accepted to get into this business is because, other than the love for music, we were always being disappointed when we hired a DJ, you know. Do you remember the Djs of those days? They had their own ‘style’ and yet here we were, professionals from the corporate world. He (David) was in the corporate world too. And we both loved music, so it really came down to answering the question, “Why don’t we start up a professional Dj business?” Back then, a Deejay was a guy who came around with quite the body odour, looked weird and didn’t really care for the impression he made. We figured that we could make this a business where we hire actual professionals, manage the business professionally and serve clients well. And here we are 17 years later!
17 years is a long time for a Ugandan business, later on as a DJ, how have you managed?
Jennifer: I want to believe it’s because our vision was really to professionalize this kind of business and it came from setting structures, knowing who to hire, how do we hire them? How do we train them? If you’re in the corporate world, those are things that actually matter so, this is a business where we don’t just get bread! It's actually a business that employs people and these people depend on it. So, it has structures, it has managers, it has operation managers and because they are professional, then it’s easier for us to even step aside as the business continues with minimal supervision.
David: By the time we decided to do DJ business, we knew there was a need. She (Jennifer) described how DJs looked, but one of the things, something I am passionate about is quality, and back then just a handful of people used to get quality delivered, people like Charlie Lubega. Up to this, day there is still that lack of quality in music that is being delivered. But I am one of those people that joined the industry with very high expectation because I had seen better.
Tune in next time and find out how David and Jennifer started on their journey of acquiring equipment and working to professionalise the DeeJay business.