I like the direction in which the world is moving in terms of career and entrepreneurship options, and the blurring of lines between what women can and can’t do. In recent years, there is a noticeable trend towards women going for the jobs they want and increasingly pursuing careers in fields that were traditionally tagged for men, such as engineering, politics, farming, taxi driving, DJ-ing and even politics. As these boundaries continue to blur, we are seeing greater diversity and representation across all industries, and a more equitable and inclusive society. We thank factors such as the changing societal norms and expectations for this.
On this platform, I’m grateful that I get to profile quite a number of women who are leading the way into these upcoming fields of work and tagging the younger ones along.
For this article, I had the pleasure to chat with Joyce Wairimu – a Nairobi based professional DJ from Nyeri County. We spoke about her work, how she has grown over the years and what she has to say to young girls who would like to follow her professional footsteps. This article is part of a series in a partnership between Femmehub here and Gilbey’s Mixed Berries Gin to highlight stories of women who are excelling in their fields despite considerable odds. Why Gilbey’s Mixed Berries Gin? Because it embodies the energy of a career woman, both in formative and successful stages. How she works, how she entertains herself, how she unwinds with friends and how she deals with downtimes.
Joyce who goes by the stage name Deejay Mish the Queen has been at it for slightly over 5 years now and has every intention to do this throughout her life. She loves what she does and even if at some point she slows down on active appearances, she intends to carry on as a teacher and mentor to encourage and empower upcoming DJs.
Deejay Mish has quite a number of achievements under her belt already, like working with international DJs, DJ Angelo and DJ Puffy. She has also worked with top corporates like EABL, and her biggest recent blessing, covering the whole of the Safaricom Golf Tour last year where she was tasked to travel to and provide entertainment in all the destinations that the tour went to. She was also contracted for the inaugural Vibe of the city Nairobi Festival by the Nairobi County Government. Among these and many more wins, she’s also proud of having been mentored by the leaders in the game in Kenya, DJ Adrian, DJ Nigel and DJ Pinye.
Her work has not been without challenges along the way but being a go getter, nothing has been insurmountable. For instance, she does not have a manager yet, so she’s still the one hustling and managing her gigs. She also has to deal with quite a bit of unwarranted attention from men, something she staves off easily since she has high self-esteem and a strong belief in herself.
How did this all start for Mish?
Her love for music ever since she was young. Most of us know the high school drill of dancing and cramming lyrics, right? That was her, except for her it ended up being a career. She was in everything music in high school, including music and drama festivals. At that age she did not think it would lead her here but look at her now. A young established woman with a successful career that can only go further up.
Understandably, part of her family did not see, or agree with her vision when she chose this line of work. Her mum was understanding and supportive, but her grandmother, being of an earlier generation, did not even grasp what being a DJ is. Her other relatives too were not very welcoming of the idea. But with time they have come to see her career take shape and pay her own bills and for this she’s grateful.
To kick off her career, Mish first started learning the ropes back in 2019 when she approached Dandora based DJ Bua for introductory lessons. One year later she was mentored at Code Red by DJ Styles. With all this support and her own strength as consistent and hardworking, she has been able to rise to where she is now in just a few years.
Looking at the reception of female DJs in the entertainment industry today, Mish says it is actually not bad at all. Women are getting recognized and respected now more than before due to a perception change, and if one is good at what they do, then the work is half done. She’s looking forward to a time when it will be so accepted that female DJs will just be called DJs without the female prefix.
As her career grows, Mish is forever grateful to the people who have believed in her and worked with her. She’s at a good place and with her strong work ethic, things can only get better. To young girls who would like to pursue a career like hers but are too afraid of society or have self-limiting beliefs, she says go for it. Not just in DJ-ing but any other careers that are formerly conservative and still are to an extent. “Go out there, put in the work, and watch your star shine.”
Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.