Maven of the turntable

Broadening her footprint

05 April 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Being able to DJ is a skill, and it can be learned and mastered like using a computer or baking cake. Mixing songs may require a lot more creativity but it is a skill nonetheless. That is why when it is said and done; it is not necessarily the ones with the latest collection of music who headline at events. That thing comes down to passion and zeal; that is the driving force of most inspiring stories. Something this week's tjil cover star has an abundance of. After about eight years of handling the decks, DJ Alba Nalo is now wearing the artist's hat with the release of her debut single Cymatix. In an interview with tjil, the vibrant DJ Alba Nalo said that she never thought she would be releasing her own music when she first started DJing years ago. All she wanted to do was make people listen to the music that she listens to. “I never thought I would reach the point I'm at in my DJing career, so I was like, I am here now and I felt it was only right that I explore the next stage as a DJ. I have nothing to lose and it is a great way to share my crazy ideas,” she said.

As a DJ, her impulse is driven to make music that is able to rock a crowd. She mentioned that Cymatix was inspired by her wanting to penetrate multiple music markets simultaneously. She noted that she was exposed to different sounds growing up and that is reflected in her single.

Cymatix is a combination of different music genres. If you listen to it you will notice that it has a trap, Afro-house and electro feel to it,” she said, adding that you can play it somewhere in Europe and people will relate to it, or you can play it at Monaco Lounge and people will still resonate with it. With the positive response Cymatix has received, it is only right that she follows it up with another banger, or better yet, a full-length body of work. She told tjil that people can expect that body of work from her this year and it is going to carry features from the likes of Bobby VDK, King Elegant and more. “I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the end of this year for that musical project from me.” For the longest of times there has been an on-going debate, or backlash rather, among music fans where they accuse DJs of prioritising their own music first instead of breaking new acts. It is for this reason that tjil asked what DJ Alba Nalo's agenda is when playing sets. “I don't think there is anything wrong with putting your music first. It all depends on the type of event you are booked for. For example; a club event set is totally different from a festival performance so that is a determining factor for your set.” She believes the role of a DJ is to keep the crowd on their feet and also to educate the audience. “Two DJs can play the exact same songs but your delivery needs to be what sets you apart,” she said. Sharing the secret to the continuous growth of her career, the DJ simply said it's the passion she has for music. She shared that music has gotten her through some of the hardest times in her life.

She said she has witnessed how a song can change her mood from zero-to-hundred within seconds and she now strives to create music that will have the same effect on her audience. “Imagine your music having such an impact on people? Just imagine that! That is what drives me.

“I feel like the universe has given me a responsibility to inspire someone out there to do whatever they put their soul into no matter how hard it is going to be,” she added.

She mentioned her mother as another source of her inspiration, narrating that she has always been her biggest reason why she works hard. “She has sacrificed so much for us so everything I do is to be able to make her proud.”

In December last year, DJ Alba Nalo was also one of the four facilitators and mentor DJs chosen by Modzi Arts to offer classes to aspiring female DJs from Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. “The workshop was a five-day initiative by Modzi Arts in collaboration with the British Council and it was one of the most amazing initiatives I have been a part of,” she said.

Besides music, the disc jockey also owns an accessory line called House of Nalo that trades in bracelets and neckpieces. She maintains that House of Nalo is her creative space that lets her express her other artistic side. “I'm still amazed at how the brand was received and I'm excited to announce that we will be adding women's earrings, the collection will be called Emprss and it is due for release end of April,” she announced.

Closing off the conversation with tjil, DJ Alba Nalo shared that she is on a mission to complete her degree. “I'm not going to give away too much information on this, but education for me is really pivotal and if you are able to get a qualification do it, no one can take it away from you,” concluded DJ Alba Nalo.