DJ Johni Celeb of Kubamba Gospel Music Show on Citizen TV – Pursuing his passion, transforming lives
The 24 year old Energy Engineering student at Kenyatta University, John Njoroge, also known as DJ Johni Celeb grew up in Kawangware and had always wanted to be a DJ. His dream came true when he had his first DJeeing gig in 2005 at Kawangaware Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) where over 1,000 people attended.
They had organized the event in conjunction with his friends, where artists such as MOG and DJ Sparxx and other local artists performed. Since then, he has DJed in most parts of Kenya including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Meru, Kitale, Voi and Nakuru.
Brought up by his dad and aunt as his parents separated when he was about 7 years, Johni Celeb confesses his passion for music. In fact, he was a dancer up to high school.
So intense was his passion that when his dad gave him money to join a driving school, he decided to pursue a 2 week crash course in DJeeying instead, which was being offered by Badilika DJs in conjunction with Kubamba-Krew at Parklands Baptist Church in 2006.
After which he joined K-Krew at the end of 2006 as an intern at the invitation of DJ Moz. “We met and became friends with DJ Moz while I was still at Kangemi High School”, he says. Being part of the Kubamba team has given him an opportunity to pursue a wide range of interests such as going for Christian missions to high schools, being a radio presenter at Hope FM and later Power Radio before starting Crossover 101 in 2009, a Gospel music show at NTV.
Currently, with the rest of the Kubamba team, they host Kubamba, a Gospel music show in Citizen TV every Sunday morning between 6 am to 1 pm.
Juggling TV, ministry and his studies is a challenge but he tries to gain a balance by concentrating on his studies from
Monday through to Friday and concentrating on other activities over the weekend. “Sometimes, I have gigs throughout the weekend and I am so tired by Monday morning but I still have to go for classes.”
Transforming hobby to a career
I started DJeeing as a hobby but right now I use it as a platform to reach out to people and impact the society. Being part of K-Krew has been a learning experience since it provides me with the opportunity to do what I love best, which is reaching out to young people and challenging them to be better through missions to high school students and campus students.
I got saved when I was 9 years old in class 3. I was quite serious about salvation even at that tender age due to the positive influence of one of my cousins who was like my older brother. Being a Sunday school teacher, he would ensure that I attended church every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. Even though I resented it at first, I grew to love going to church with time.
One of the major challenges affecting high school students is lack of mentors. Ideally, young people should be mentored at home by their parents and siblings but this rarely happens. To this effect, DJ Soxxy and DJ Johni Celeb are trying to come up with a mentoring program-League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (LXG) in an effort to mentor high school boys in partnership with other organizations, which have the same goals.
Being in the limelight means that he is a common face, which attracts a lot of attention as young people tend to look up to him and seek for advice. But it also means that he may get unwanted attention. But thanks to Watetezi, a Christian group that meets every Tuesday along Ngong Road under the guidance of Pastor Albert of Nairobi Chapel, he has people who hold him accountable for his actions at all times. “We normally look out for each other especially when we are at events to make sure that we don’t get into trouble. We keep each other in check and are accountable for our actions, even in relationships we are involved in.”
In the course of what they do, the K-Krew team always meets a lot of people who are going through various challenges in their lives. “Unfortunately, some of the challenges are beyond us though we wish we could do something more especially for those who are undergoing teenage crisis. Interacting with people from different backgrounds has taught me to appreciate life, value, love, pray and listen to people. I even adopted the slogan: Loving people, loving God.”
DJeeying pays but the gospel industry isn’t as prolific since the main avenues one can perform in include church, Christian events and missions (which we don’t charge) creating a need for one to supplement their income. Events that usually generate revenues include weddings, graduations and house parties.
What does he think of the Kenyan music industry? I ask.
“The industry has really grown and it is time to take it to the next level in terms of content and performance. People who attend live performances should get value for their money.”
His words of advice to upcoming DJs is that they should know their music and spend time listening to different genres and interacting with people. This helps one to connect with the crowd while performing. In addition, one should know that DJeeying is a journey hence, the need to be patient.
If you were to have a gig anywhere in the world, where would it be?
It definitely has to be in Africa for instance, in Rwanda since I am for the idea of Africa building Africa. If I were to do a tour, I would tour the whole of Africa, country by country.
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened at an event you Djyed at?
This was at Spa Fest, which was organized by K-Krew in 2008 at Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC) Karen where a white couple, who were drunk, got into the church and somehow managed to find their way to the stage, and started shouting at us to stop the music. Since there was an act going on, on stage, the crowd thought it was part of the act. It was not until the woman violently flipped over a laptop that was on stage that we realized they were not acting and intervened.
Do you have any mentors?
DJ Moz has played a big role in my life. He introduced me into the art of DJeeying, trained encouraged me and provided me with an opportunity to work in the industry. I also admire the way he balances family, career and ministry.
Other DJ’s you admire?
DJ Official who is based in the United States of America
Which church do you attend?
I have been attending Nairobi Chapel since 2007. I am involved in Quest-the Kids Church, Expression-the Youth Church, the main church and the media team.
What do you do during your free time?
I write and read a lot. I am into technology and gadgets and I spend most of my time online catching up on the latest gadgets. I also blog on God, life and my life. You can find my blog at deejayceleb.wordpress.com. I also take photos whenever I travel and upload them online.
What is your favorite tune of all time?
I listen to hiprocksoul though rock is my all time favorite.
What advice would you give to the youth?
Everyone is an answer to somebody or something and the main thing is to find out what that somebody or something is.
Yes. I am dating Ann Wawira. She is currently a student at a University in Australia.
What’s the challenge of being in a long distance relationship?
It takes a lot of hard work, effort, will power and discipline. Regular communication is also important to catch up with what’s going on in each other’s lives. It takes a conscious decision to keep the relationship alive. The positive side to it is that it has enabled us to be really committed to each other.
What’s your favorite bible verse?
Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus
What are your plans for the future?
To transform LXG into a worldwide movement, get married, be a great dad, be a good mentor to young people, especially boys.
What’s your style?
I like to dress up in casuals. I do jeans a lot. I like tight fitting t-shirts. Marto Kibs of Outline Creations is my stylist. I don’t wear brightly colored clothes since I don’t like standing out. I prefer neutral colors.
Where do you get your hair done?
Roots Hair salon located at Nanak House, 1st floor by Pato.
What products do you use on your hair and skin?
I use TCB and Olive Oil Spray on my hair. I use Vaseline lotion for men on my skin.
Share a beauty secret with us?
Ensure you are always comfortable with whatever you wear.
What are your favorite foods and drinks?
Chapati, sausages, water and milkshake
What are your requirements for anyone who wants to join K-Krew?
We offer internships in various areas such as events, missions, media and radio. You can apply for internship at firstname.lastname@example.org. K-Krew has a DJ Academy at Adams Arcade wheree we train DJ’s on various things such as skills, spirituality and good character
Salon Magazine – November 2011