Dubai DJ hopes to bring people together through music

Nigerian expat Nnamdi Eluwah talks about the increasing demand for Afrobeat, and building a community of passionate artists and partygoers.

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Enid Grace Parker

Published: Tue 30 Aug 2022, 8:25 AM

Last updated: Tue 30 Aug 2022, 8:30 AM

Dubai-based music producer and DJ Nnamdi Eluwah - who recently started his own entertainment services company - hopes to enhance the entertainment scene in Dubai and promote inclusivity by building a community of passionate artists and partygoers.

Nnamdi is an expat from Nigeria who grew up in the city and through DJing around town over several years, has witnessed many transformations in its entertainment scene.

In a chat with City Times, Nnamdi talks about his DJing career, the rising demand for Afrobeat, Dubai’s diversity as an entertainment destination and the evolving musical tastes of clubbers.

How long have you been in Dubai and what first inspired you to take up a career in music?

I’m a Dubai baby and have lived in the city for 16 years. I’ve always been interested in music, and my passion for it only grew as I reached adulthood. As a child, I remember using random objects as instruments to create beats and was very fond of music class.

However, It was not until high school, when I fully invested myself in making a career out of music, when I discovered the music production software “Fruity Loops”. I practiced the software every day and have focused on producing music since.

What do you feel has contributed to the increasing demand for Afrobeat in the city?

I think our global society is the most progressive it's ever been in decades, and there's more acceptance of ethnic cultures that weren't as embraced in media before. Things that make us unique are now being celebrated, and this is true with the current wave of appreciation for the African culture, from our food to the way we dress, our slang, and of course, our music.

With Dubai being one of the world's most diverse and forward cities, it is no surprise it is ahead in seeing demand for fresh genres such as Afrobeat.

Another vital factor, I believe, is our longing for happiness post-pandemic. Afrobeat's upbeat rhythms and energetic melodies emanate infectious optimism. And I think this is the reason for the surge of demand for this genre in Dubai and worldwide.

As a popular DJ around town, what do you love most about the vibes in this cosmopolitan city?

I really enjoy the diversity you find on the dance floor, people of different races coming together and vibing to the same beat. It's refreshing to see togetherness despite our differences.

How have the music tastes of clubbers evolved over the years that you've been DJing?

When I first started DJing in clubs, the music taste of partygoers was shifting from house to hip hop. Clubs began to be heavy on hip hop tunes around 2017/2018. Throughout the years, Afrobeat took over. But lately, I’ve been noticing a growing preference for house music again.

Your new company aspires to unite people and promote inclusivity. Tell us more about this.

I feel fulfilled whenever I see people having a good time and letting loose, away from the usual stress of the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. My business partners and I strongly believe in enjoying and living life while we can.

This is our main inspiration behind our ‘Thank You 1take’, where we strive to provide a safe space for partygoers to let loose, have fun, and retreat free of judgment through unique and creative events. Our latest project is an event we’re cooking up for Nigerian Independence Day on October 1, where we celebrate and share our heritage and culture.

Who have been your influences in the world of music and who are some of your favourite musicians/DJs?

DJs and producers such as Diplo, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), and Avicii have been big inspirations to me, whose artistry acted as a blueprint for me regarding music and entertainment.

They are all excellent DJs and talented producers, and I resonate with that because I’ve always aimed to hone and combine those two parts of myself: my production skill and my DJing ability.

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