POIZON IVY: Kenyan DJ lands major NBA team gig

Saturday October 8 2016

Ivy Awino, popularly known as Poizon Ivy The DJ, recently got what could be considered the biggest break in her career. She becomes the first female in-arena resident deejay of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. PHOTO | COURTESY

Ivy Awino, popularly known as Poizon Ivy The DJ, recently got what could be considered the biggest break in her career. She becomes the first female in-arena resident deejay of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. PHOTO | COURTESY  

By JOSEPHINE MOSONGO
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You are the official in-arena deejay of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. To say this is a great opportunity would be an understatement, right?

It is definitely an honour and a dream come true. I am so grateful to God for the opportunity, which is truly a once-in-a-lifetime situation. 

Did you ever foresee this?

I can’t say I foresaw this. But I have always wanted to work in sports and entertainment. The interesting part is that I could never pick between the two, so I am definitely happy that I don’t really have to pick either one.

How did they choose you, what was the process?

For this particular position, the Mavs were looking for someone who, first and foremost, knows and loves basketball. I’ve been around it forever in various capacities, so that worked out. They were also looking for someone who works in the music world and that’s my profession, so the combination of having both assets worked out well and made me a fit.

Have you always been a huge fan of the team?

I have been a huge Mavs fan ever since I can remember. Like a die-hard #MFFL (Mavs Fan For Life) that is. It’s also just the icing on the cake that they are my hometown team as well! My US hometown.

You were a Mavs ball kid when you were younger and now their deejay, do you think everything is coming full circle now?

It’s an incredible story for sure. It’s sometimes surreal to think about it as my life story, but you cannot stand in the way of destiny so I guess you can say that everything is coming full circle. For me, it’s a new beginning more than anything else. I feel like the term “full circle” kind of insinuates an end but I’m just getting started!

Do you have a favourite player?

Just one? That’s tough. There are definitely some incredible players in the history of the league. So I would definitely say that one of them would be Dirk Nowitzki (he also happens to be married to a Kenyan). He will go down in the league’s history as one of its greatest players, and it’s been nothing short of amazing to have him in Dallas. I am a big fan of Dwayne Wade, Jimmy Butler, our own Wes Matthews, Jae Crowder and all other Marquette alumni currently in the league. Yes, I am biased to my alma mater. Tim Duncan, for sure. With him retiring, it’ll be interesting to watch how the league will be without him. Of course, Kobe and Lebron.

You are the first female deejay of the Mavericks and only the second in the National Basketball Association (NBA). What goes through your mind when you think about that?

I’m tremendously blessed to do two things that I love. I live for music and getting to essentially produce the in-arena audio aesthetic for my favourite team is living a dream. I’m indescribably happy to be a part of history in many ways, but I’m also equally excited to get in the American Airlines Centre and make each Mavs game memorable for the fans in attendance.

You will be playing for massive crowds during their home games; is it different from playing in a club?

Playing in an arena has its differences from playing in other venues, but honestly not too many. The principles remain the same. You definitely have to take into consideration that at any given game, your listening audience varies widely so making selections that resonate with everyone is critical. But you see, that’s with every gig. Timing is vital in order to maintain, create or elevate the crowd energy levels. I also control in-game sound effects like the defence chants, so of course that’s an example of an element that’s unique to the arena only.

You played at your first game last Monday, how was the reception? Were you nervous?

It was great. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad nervous... but a positive kind of “nervous”. It felt so amazing to finally get the basketball season underway. I was in training, but several fans came up to greet and welcome me, and knowing that I have their support means the world to me.

Does your daughter know how big of a deal this is?

I think she’s too young to truly understand. She enjoys basketball and has seen me at work in an arena a few times. But to her, I’m just mommy. Sometimes she calls me DJ Mommy, which cracks me up but is a good reminder of one of the most important roles that I have in life.

Where were you born?

I was born and partly raised in Kenya before I moved to the US at the age of nine. But this is still pretty much home.

When did you become a deejay?

When I started university in 2008; I was 19. A couple of my close friends were deejays, including DJ Adam Austin, who’s my mentor and fraternity brother. At the time he was the ‘it’ deejay on campus. One time he stored his turn-tables in my house and asked me if I wanted to learn. So I did, and that’s how the story began.