Evans Mwendwa, aka DJ Spin, is a household name in Rwanda’s gospel music industry. For people that have attended big gospel concerts in town, or watched gospel shows on TV 10, DJ Spin might be no stranger to you.
The self-taught DJ talked to The New Times’ Hudson Kuteesa about his musical journey as a deejay, achievements and future plans, among others things.
Please tell us about yourself, who is DJ Spin?
DJ Spin is a talented deejay, who specialises in Christian music. I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, in a staunch Christian family. I’m the last-born of two siblings. I acquired my first primary education in Kenya, and partly in Uganda, before we returned to Rwanda. I’m married to my beautiful wife (Mimi), and a father of one.
Could you tell us how you started Djing?
I started off Djing about 10 years ago, when I was in high school. I was the sound guy at most of our school (Christian Union and School) events, but the passion developed after I attended a certain gospel concert back in Nairobi, where I met a couple of DJs. I really admired how they were playing, and getting the crowd wild. From there, I started learning a few things about DJing, and spent of the time practicing to improve my skills.
Did you study it as a profession?
Actually, I never did. Professionally, I’m medical practitioner. I’ve a degree in biomedical science from Makerere University, in Uganda, and masters in public health from Mount Kenya University Rwanda.
But Djing has always been my passion, and it’s something I taught myself.
Why did you decided to specialise in Christian music?
Personally, I take this path as a ministry. I’m a born-again Christian, so I chose to serve God through my talent. Secondly, I use Djing to reach out to people, mostly the young to impact them positively and bring them to Christ.
What else do you do apart from playing music?
I love football and I’m an Arsenal fan so to speak. I want to try out playing footabll someday. I’m also a TV presenter on TV 10, and an MC. I have also started producing gospel music. Basically, I’m a man of many hats!
What have been your highest achievements in the industry?
My achievements in my career as a DJ, are definitely performing with legends like Don Moen early this year, and winning big awards.
I won Xtreem awards DJ of the year 2017. Xtreem awards are Christian awards based in Kenya, aimed at recognising young talents in the industry. I also, recently, I won the “Kingdom DJ of Excellence”, under Maranatha Global Worship Music Awards (MGWMAs) 2019. The MGWMAs are African awards that recognise and appreciate gospel personalities across Africa.
I was also nominated for Sauti Awards (American Based Award) twice.
Furthermore, I’m a DJ of one of the most TV gospel shows (Praise 101 on TV10) in the country. I also have a weekly gospel mix radio show on Magic FM, as well as a daily music mix show on Authentic Radio (it runs for an hour).
Do you see yourself as famous deejay?
Not really famous, but getting to be known, yes! I mean, those who love gospel music, and often watch the above mentioned TV station, know me!
What have been your biggest challenges as a DJ?
My initial challenge was getting my own DJ machines. They cost thousands of dollars, and this was expensive. Secondly being the pioneer of gospel Djing in Rwanda, pushing for its acceptance in churches wasn’t that easy. But right now, I am grateful to God that it has become popular.
What are your future plans?
So many: I want to launch myself into the music production (both audio and visual, because I feel there is a gap that needs to be filled). Producing great music that will put Rwanda on the world map and DJing in international concerts in the country and abroad, and if all goes well, I intend to start a DJ academy in the country.
Who are your role models in the industry?
I would say DJ Moz from Kubamba Krew in Kenya, who influenced me to join this field, and up to now I still look up to him. Disciple DJ from Jamaica is another talented and creative gospel DJ I admire.
Would you switch to secular music?
No, that has never crossed my mind! I to do gospel 100%, and I wouldn’t compromise for secular music. This is simply because I have set goals and principles. Like I mentioned earlier, I deejay to serve God…not to make means meet, or entertain people. It’s a choice I made, and sticking to it.
However, I respect secular DJs. But all in all it’s a matter of choice and purpose.
As a DJ, how do you see our gospel music scene?
There is a lot of authenticity in Rwandan gospel music, that’s why many people love it. In the recent past, we have witnessed the birth of very many new artistes and ensembles. There are also several gospel events, and activities happening in different parts of the country. To be quite honest, the music scene has improved and it’s growing.