His name hit the headlines when he won the Groove Awards breakthrough deejay prize, prompting his career to move a step higher. He has, however, been in the music scene for a while headlining top events, hosting top radio shows and running his own School of scratch as he narrates:
You are popularly Dj Terots what is your real name?
I am Samuel Ngunjiri.
Is being a deejay what you’ve always wanted and where did this journey begin?
I’ve been eyeing this since I was a teenager. I could board public transportation and the gospel mixes by DJ Mo, DJ Krowbar and DJ Sadic could electrify me beyond words. I was sure this is what I wanted to do after school.
The moment I left Ruiru Star High School I just shared with my mom that my heart was beating for a deejay school. I started my hunt in search of one until a neighbour Roy Mwaniki, popularly known as DJ Spin, decided to teach me a unique style; how to battle. In 2011, I enrolled for East African Pioneer DJ Convention. I didn’t win but I made a mark.
In 2013, I took on the challenge again and gladly won, beating over 50 professional deejays. They awarded me with a full deejay gear and Sh250, 000 to start me up. That enabled me to set up School of Scratch deejay academy. I also joined System Unit deejays, headed by DJ Mo, and my career was now off to a blazing start.
How do you juggle between three demanding jobs?
I just ensure proper planning of my time with my radio shows. I also share my job opportunities with my students every time I have a chance to do so. They assist me in planning and executing my job both on air and in the events I get booked for. Some of my former students are now my trainers at the academy, so I’m hardly overwhelmed by the workload there.
What makes School of Scratch stand out from others and how many students have you mentored so far?
We have trained and mentored hundreds of students across the country and we also have a campus at Baringo County, an area which has been marginalised in terms of entertainment facilities. We have always wanted people in rural areas to also be part of the growth the industry is realising.
Our academy produces all-rounded and holistic entertainment professionals, and further attach them to various radio stations and some of the gigs I get as a deejay. Every July, being my birthday month and the month I started the academy, I enrol students with less than half of what I charge as my way of giving back to the society.
After leaving system unit, there was lots of chin wag going on; do you have bad blood with Deejay Mo?
(Laughs). No not at all. He remains the deejay I respect the most, to date. He introduced me into the industry and its core precepts. He also acquainted me to a whole new level that I was totally inexperienced about; not forgetting the high-end events he linked me up with that made the brand I delight in today.
Which are some of the major events you’ve done before that hoisted your brand?
I did Buruka Project in Germany with Mamlaka Church, through The Kenya Music Project, thanks to DJ Johni Celeb who believed in me. I’ve also worked at Groove Party and Groove Tour, EMB Jesus Party at Thika, Safaricom Live, and Kids Festival among many other top events. Each elevated me to a certain level in my career.
The #PlayKenyanMusic trend was essentially pointed at deejays and music presenters not playing Kenyan content enough. What’s your take?
I play in the local stations and without any benefit of doubt I would confidently say that I play 99 per cent Kenyan music. I believe the Gospel wing, which I represent, is doing enough to push local talent. But, then again, artistes should put in more exertion on great content and quality.
Given a chance to change a thing in the gospel industry what would that be?
I’d advise the industry players to practice humility; pride has led to the downfall of many as we watch helplessly. When pride grows then opportunities are ousted. It’s also time we go back to the church, where it all began, so that we can ground ourselves a fresh to bring to an end the far-fetched scandals and empty lyrics that the gospel fraternity has suffered recently.
How would you advise someone who’s almost giving up on their God-given flairs?
Believe in God’s timing and don’t cave in at any point. Giving up the first time I lost a deejaying competition would have done me more harm than good. Persistence has seen me here.
Are you in a relationship?
For now I am focusing more on my career.
Do you have an artiste in mind that you think is not talented?
(Laughs) Well, I believe everyone is talented and just grows better with time.
What’s your worst experience ever on stage?
The worst instance on stage was when I forgot my decks’ power cables and RCA cables so I ended up using a virtual DJ.
How do you spend your leisure time?
I spend a lot of time with my friends watching basketball and playing pool. I’m a big fan of my hometown team known as 4christ