- Having been voted Deejay of the year at the Groove Awards twice, Raphael Nyamu aka DJ Ruff is arguably the fastest growing gospel decks master in the country
- He opens up about his life, challenges and embarrassments
Pulse: How long have you been a DJ?
Ruff: I trained as a DJ in 2007 but took a break in 2008 to go to university until 2012 when I graduated with a degree in Economics and Statistics.
Actively I can say that I started performing in 2010.
P: How has it been juggling between music, radio and TV?
Ruff: It has not been easy but it is manageable. Most of the gigs I do are normally on weekends.
My two radio shows on Ghetto Radio (Gospel Night Live and Ghetto Gospel) and TV show (Pambio Live on Maisha Magic) are also on (the) weekend. During the week days, I find time to do my recording.
P: What kind of music do you do?
Ruff: I can describe myself as a rapper but I do not lean towards any genre of music because in all the songs I've been rapping to a ragga beat; I can rap to any beat but I can't call myself a hip-hop musician.
Pulse: Who do you look up to?
Ruff: I look up to DJ Krowbar and he is also my mentor. The mentorship goes beyond music. His lifestyle impresses me. He is currently in South Africa but we talk regularly.
Musically I don't look up to anyone locally because I haven't seen a proper live performance but worldwide I look up to Kirk Franklin simply because of his consistency and longevity.
P: Are you dating?
Ruff: I'm not seeing anyone at the moment but I have a crush on one of the Elani chics but I won't say who.
P: DJs have been accused by some musicians of being biased and not playing local music unless they are bribed. Is this true?
Ruff: I can't say that is the case with everyone. Artistes need to understand that DJs are employees and have a limited time to make their shows.
If a song isn't that good then chances are it won't be played. There is no way one can give their song to 20 DJs and all of them decide to give it a blackout unless there is something wrong with the song.
If one gives a song out and a DJ asks for a favour or a bribe in order to play the song then I'd advise them not to pay because you can't pay everyone.
Pulse: Who dresses you?
Ruff: I have a guy who takes care of my clothing. His name is Boss Kid. I just call him and give him ideas of what I want to be in for example in the next TV show.
Pulse: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Ruff: There's a guy called Sheng Pastor who is a pastor who features in one of my shows on Ghetto Radio in the Sheng Pastor Segment.
He prepares Sheng sermons for our listeners and I get to learn a lot from him. I also draw inspiration from Joyce Meyer.
Pulse: What's your most embarrassing and best moment in the industry so far?
Ruff: I once went to a wrong wedding, the late Kaberere invited me to a gig in 2011 at Nairobi Primary. He asked me to go perform at a wedding he was to be MC.
I mistook Nairobi Academy for Nairobi Primary. I had set up at Nairobi Primary when he called and I realised that I was at the wrong venue. My best moment so far would be when my dad introduced me as a DJ to the family.
I've always felt that I was disappointing him having to gone to Starehe and to the University and left all that to become a DJ.
P: How did you land your jobs?
Ruff: For Ghetto Radio I applied several times but for the two TV jobs that I've gotten at KBC and Maisha Magic I was called.
Prior to the KBC call I had declared to myself that I wouldn't apply for any TV job, instead they will come looking for me and true to that, they did.
P: How was it working at Angaza?
Ruff: It was a good experience. Mr T was a good teacher because in the show he played the role of a pastor so Angaza was like my church.
P: What is your favourite social media site?
Ruff: I'd pick Facebook over any other site simply because of the response, for example, some of my posts about the academy on Facebook get double the number of likes than they do on Instagram.
P: What do you do to keep the brand growing?
Ruff: I believe better planning is the key to growth. I have a plan of where I want to be in the next few years.
I've broken down the plan into short-term goals, weekly and daily.