A lawyer, disc jockey and producer, Shalewa Anikulapo Kuti, popularly known as DJ Sharks, is the daughter of the late music legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, she speaks on how life has treated her being Fela’s child and experience in the music industry.
This year’s felabration seems to be a huge success with you being celebrated as one of the children of the music legend and artistes that performed at the event, how did you feel?
It was an amazing feeling. I’m glad it turned out to be a success and personally being with my family and my father’s fans was an icing on the cherry.
You have been pushing your career outside the country for some years now, what has been the experience?
It is a dream come true. I believe Fela would be proud of my achievements. Fela was an African man in his views and action and as his daughter, I intend to uphold that line of vision because I believe in it.
You have taken after him like your siblings, but in a different way as a DJ. How does it feel?
I would say that I am upholding his legacy. Fela passed powerful messages through his music. Being a female Dj is part of upholding his legacy. Like I said in my other interviews that when Dj-ing, I am always glad seeing people happy and dancing, which is a reflection of Fela’s legacy.
Why did you dump your legal profession for music?
I’ve always been involved in music. To me, music is a passion and I decided to follow my passion. But nothing stops me if I want to go back to law practice anytime. At the moment, I am in love with what I am doing.
What is your assessment of Nigeria’s music production and its contents?
The Nigeria music industry continues to grow. Although, the new generation wants to listen to music and forget their problems, I believe that artistes can use their music to voice out the prevailing situation in the country on behalf of the masses. Nigerian artistes have been fantastic in their music; they have been good ambassadors through their music. They are embraced all over the world and I am proud to be part of it.
How would you compare the Disc Jockey abroad to that of Nigeria?
Big up to all the Djs all over the world. They are doing their best in promoting the music home and abroad. I have nothing to compare, because we are all doing a great job and I am pleased with that.
What’s your impression concerning the rising number of female DJs in the industry, especially in Nigeria?
There is a popular saying that what a man can do, a woman can do it better. It has always been my belief that ladies should be encouraged to make their contributions to the development of the society. However, the evolution has actually enhanced the status of the profession. Over all, big up to the men in the profession because they paved the way for women.
Don’t you feel threatened as a young entrant among the popular female DJs in the industry?
The industry is big enough for the challenges. There were lots of artistes during Fela’s era, but he made his music unique; so threat is not applicable as far as I am concerned. The industry is big enough to accommodate everyone. We all have our own time to shine .
What has been your greatest challenge in the industry?
The only challenge is being a woman in a man’s world. Although, some have been supportive, I believe in my strength and the quality of my work.
Taking a look into your career, would you say you have achieved your goal in 2018 and how do you plan to give yourself a leap?
So far, so good; it’s been a fantastic year. I’’m grateful to God and my fans. As an artiste/DJ, I am working hard with my team and I want my fans to be on the lookout for 2019, because it looks more promising.
How have you been combining the home front with your career without hitches?
As a professional DJ, it has not been easy. I just have to plan and organise myself .
How is your relationship with other female DJs?
The few ones I have met, we have a very cordial relationship.
What is your relationship with your father’s eldest son, Femi and other siblings? How united are all the children now?
He has been a father figure in the family and we are all united.
How has your father’s name opened doors for you within and outside the the country?
People have different perspectives of Fela, but the people I’ve met showed their admiration towards me within and outside the country.
What have you got to say to your fans?
I thank them for their love and support. I urge them to remain focused and stay positive.