We bet you would all agree that DBN Gogo is currently at the forefront amongst the best and most looked at DJs in South Africa right now. The Durban-born DJ & artist has put in the work and then some, to place herself at a level that many aspiring DJs and artists push towards reaching. Currently reaping the rewards of her labour, DBN Gogo is clearly taking advantage of the moment she has created for herself and with so much to look forward to from her, one can only bear witness to her turn her dreams into a reality. We asked a few questions about herself and her journey as well as her list of young African individuals that she considers are currently killing it with what they’re doing.
Your musical career seems to be in a beautiful place right now and every day you continue to build it up one step a time. Looking back at when you made the decision to pursue a DJing career, did ever expect things to grow as big as they are right now?
I’d like to believe that I did but it honestly shocks me from time to time. I really put all my power into this career so things just had to pan out the way they did. I knew DBN Gogo was going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Most of us, fans, tend to only notice the good results that come out of the hard work you put in, and we never really grasp how much it takes to maintain such a progressive career, especially within the entertainment and music industry. Can you talk about the challenges or obstacles you had to overcome (especially as a female) to reach this level that you’re currently working on? You know those unknown battles…
I faced a lot of challenges when I started Djing. I used to have to do free gigs to push myself. It’s quite tough to breakthrough, you really have to stay proving yourself to people, I believe it’s even harder for females because it’s such a male-dominated industry. As big as DBN Gogo is right now, she still has to prove herself every day. I made sure to stay consistent with my craft. There will be promoters who don’t want to understand why your rate is the amount it is and that’s totally okay because for every door that shuts there are five more that are wide open. There are a lot of ups and downs in this industry. As an artist, I just had to stay positive that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Now the work speaks for itself.
It’s quite evident that support from friends and family played a big part in your journey and building an empire really does take more than one person to do so… How big of a role do your friends/family play in your life/career?
I can’t even begin to describe the role they had in my career. It’s so wild to me, I really didn’t expect everyone to be supportive of the career change. I was studying law at the time I began my DJing career so obviously, some people were a bit skeptical because they are two completely different worlds. I’ve always been a musically inclined person so I guess that might have made things a bit easier for them to adjust. I’m a very family-oriented person so I really value their opinions. Let me just say that if my friends didn’t push me to submerge myself into Dj’ing fully, we wouldn’t have the DBN Gogo we all know and love.
Part of this Nike Air Max Day experience included you naming some people you consider are doing good with their careers are contributing to popular culture. Can you briefly talk about why you name-dropped the likes of Polo B, Shizo, Le Nanza, Hlogi Mash and Foxyaza?
It’s so straightforward, they’re all killing it now. They are consistent in what they do. These people are extremely impactful in their own various ways. I’m not sure if you know but Polo B is an upcoming dancer, vocalist and MC from Durban. You name it she can definitely do it, she’s an all-round entertainer. She has an amazing energy to her. She adapts to situations with ease and she’s one of the bravest women in this industry at the moment.
Hlogi Mash is one of the most talented dancers I’ve ever met, she’s from Mamelodi which holds a special place in my heart. She’s at the forefront of the amapiano dance community while being an advocate for the LGBTQI community which is inspiring for a lot of people. I absolutely love her.
Shizo is a super talented DJ and producer from Mabopane Pretoria. Besides Shizo’s contribution to music he’s a huge social activist, he hosts “Gabo Shizo” annually where he gives back to the community, he collects shoes for underprivileged kids and he also helps the grannies in his community. What amazes me is that he does this all by himself with no funding or backing and yet it’s always a success.
La Nanza is an upcoming DJ from Pretoria and she used to be a host on Tuks FM, all while studying. Her versatility reminds me a lot of myself when coming up, she plays everything from rekere to bacardi to old school house music. She’s one of the most talented female DJs I know.
Foxyaza is also a dope upcoming DJ from the East Rand KwaThema and she’s also a business owner. She opened a bottle store in the midst of a pandemic when they kept opening and closing liquor but still managed to stay afloat. If that doesn’t impress you then I really don’t know what will.
Mark my words when I say DBN Gogo will be a global brand.
In addition to your DJing career, you also have some singles (such as ‘Khuza Gogo’ with Blaqnick & MasterBlaq) and a project (Thokoza Café with Dinho) in the bag. Does DBN Gogo work differently as an artist compared to the DJ?
Differently? Definitely. When you’re an artist you get involved in the complication of the entire song, the creative direction, the message being portrayed to the audience. I get super involved because that’s me putting myself out there, that’s what people are going to associate me with so it’s different. DBN Gogo the DJ, She’s calmer. I don’t just start a set. I make sure that all my sets take you on a musical journey. I build it from scratch and I want people to dance from the beginning until the end.
How do you measure success? In other words, what signs do you look for to convince that you are on the right path?
I don’t even know how to start answering this question. There are so many things I use to measure success. But at the place I am right now, I think it’s instinct.
Finally, I can only imagine that there are higher levels you are working towards, but can you talk about what the ultimate goal is for you? How far do you dream of taking all of this…?
The end goal is ultimately to conquer and dominate the industry. I want to take up space everywhere. Mark my words when I say DBN Gogo will be a global brand. I want to be recognized in other African countries. I am a strong believer that in order to be accepted by the world, you need to be accepted throughout your continent first.