Mixing it up: Ritah Nabadda Kayondo, a.k.a DJ Ritah, abandoned hair dressing to become a DJ in Masaka. She spoke to Brian Mugenyi about the journey to her dream.
Tell us about your family?
I was born to John Kayondo and Prossy Kayondo of Kitabaazi-Masaka. We are nine children, seven boys and two girls. My dad passed away in 1991, so my mother took care of us.
Did you attend school?
Yes. I attended Kaswa Day & Boarding Primary School and Kirimya Senior Secondary School.
What were you doing before you become a DJ?
In my Senior Six vacation I went to learn how to style hair, but I never valued it at all yet my relatives wanted that for me. I abandoned it to concentrate on deejaying.
How do you manage this art that is filled with men?
I grew up with the urge to challenge men in any field. Since most of the DJs are men, I’m enjoying this; it is coming to two years now.
Did you inherit the DJ love from your family?
I think so. In the early 80s my father was one of the first men to open up a disco in Masaka Town and it was called Smart Sound Disco, so he probably set the pace for arts in the family. Also, my mother was an actress in Dram Beat Crew owned by Mr Paddy Kibi and my brothers George Mivule, Ben Ssuna are MCs and radio presenter on Bukedde FM respectively. The others are musicians.
Who inspired you?
My brother Ssuna; He is so comical, versatile and acquainted with things related to music.
How did your career start?
I started as a wedding DJ in Nsozibiri-Kooki village- Rakai. My friend asked me to escort him, so when we reached there he told me to select and play music. I felt agitated for some hours but at the end I was crowded by the audience who looked at a tiny lady mixing music.
How did your mother react on your career choice?
My mother has always been supportive. Of course, it is weird to see a female DJ here, but when I explained to her that it was what I wanted to do, she advised me to focus on what I want rather than what others say.
How do you handle song requests at events?
It challenges me at times, especially in schools, students request for songs which are not actually in my folders, so I play related tracks in line with what they want. However, I follow trends.
How many weddings do you perform at in a year?
Wedding events are seasonal, but last year I performed at 25 parties.
How much do you charge?
The fee varies with the event and the distance it takes to get to the function, but the charge is always negotiable.
What are you doing when not mixing?
I produce radio adverts and burn music.
What would you say is your best DJ and songs?
DJ Shun, he is naturally gifted, and the songs I enjoy playing is Ndiwanjawulo (Sheebah), Olugi (Mary Bata), and Baala (Dax Kartel).
What do you think your boyfriend thinks of your job?
Hahaha, he is happy, though I never think of what he thinks, but what I know is that he is pleased with what I am doing.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
A modern-day DJ and radio personality who produces and presents music.
Advice to fellow DJs
They should do away with people’s opinions; we were all created to ask and research on what we don‘t know, not to believe in what we do. I always disturb some gifted DJs on things I don’t know and it has worked miracles for me.