Interviews

DJ Spinall and the journey to ‘Grace’

His name is Desmond Oluseye Sodamola, but for his fans, he’s known as DJ Spinall. DJ Spinall is a record producer with several albums and singles to his name; if there’s one thing he is known for the most, it’s his impressive music catalogue of back-to-back bangers but he is not just a record producer. He’s a label executive, songwriter and a DJ as well. He has worked with significant names across the continent, from Mr Eazi, Wizkid, Davido, Patoranking to Sauti Sol, Sarkodie, Kojo Funds and more.

His gifted eye for picking and working with only the best has earned him a massive following of fans and admirers and… Just like most celebrated artistes, DJ Spinall is still not used to the attention and adoration.
“Every experience till date feels weird sometimes. Sometimes I’m somewhere and I forget and I hear “Spinall baba!” and I’m like “ehh they call this guy ‘baba’”
He may not be used to it, but he totally enjoys it especially the part where fans literally follow him anytime he just drives around.
“Sometimes I can be having a bad day and I’d be driving on the street and the boys start chasing the car. It’s exciting to watch who can be the fastest sometimes you know? It’s just the street love. I don’t know any artist that isn’t excited by that. If they are not excited too ahh Jesus needs to take control.”
All of this love only means one thing to the record producer. It means he is doing something right. It means the effort he puts into his work is being appreciated by people he never even expected to…and for him that is beautiful and inspiring.
He backed this with two of his most profound experiences: One with a security guard at the university he had graduated from after dropping “Gba Gbe E” with Burna Boy and the other, a club experience after dropping “Ohemaa” with Mr Eazi.
“I had gone to pick up my certificate and at the gate, one of the security guys was trying to check the car. I rolled down the window and he was like “Ah! DJ Spinall!” (laughs) I was shocked because my Uni was somewhere else and the song was just picking up in Lagos. I called my mum and I was like “it don happen oh! (He don blown)”
“Also when we did the record with Mr Eazi and we came back from touring, we went to this club called “Escape” straight from the airport, he narrates, “Like five minutes later, they played the record “Ohemaa” and DJ Ike came to play. I was looking at my manager like ‘ah ah’ because everyone was singing and I was like ‘this is fire! This is sweet!’Everyone was vibing. Sister my head swell oh! It swell well well!”

Undeniably, DJ Spinall seems to be doing everything right for now and as the founder of his own record label, TheCAPMusic, he is looking to push even more talents out into the Naija music scene. He hinted at having music with some of his signed artists that are yet to be released but for now, his fans get to enjoy his latest album.
If you pay attention to DJ Spinall’s catalogue, you’d notice his albums are a reflection of his life at a certain point. From his debut album, “My Story” to “Ten”, “Dreams” and then “Iyanu”, DJ Spinall’s fifth album is titled GRACE; an album he worked on while dealing with the rollercoaster of events that shook the world this 2020. For him, being able to survive 2020 in itself is a huge feat and there is nothing but the need to be grateful.

Another thing that is important to him about this album, is that he is aware and appreciative of the fact that he’s grown considerably over the years when it comes to his sound and quality of music. He’s looking forward to and would appreciate it if listeners take their time to appreciate GRACE for the carefully put-together masterpiece he thinks it is.
“I’m just hoping that people will take their time and listen to the talents that appear and also pay attention to the arrangement of the tracks as well. It’s very very key,” DJ Spinall advises,  “Like from track one to the end, just listen. Try not to skip and play it a couple of times, and you can suck it all in.”
The GRACE album has an impressive list of features. From heavy hitters like Wizkid, Kranium, Niniola, Tiwa and more interestingly to the young breakout artistes holding their forte in the music industry like Bella Shmurda, Omah Lay, Fireboy and more. It’s evident DJ Spinall is all for the growth of the Nigerian music industry and his projections for next year are very promising for both established, and emerging acts as well.

“There are a lot of talents man! There are a lot of talents people should be looking out for next year, to be honest. I think everyone is just in their game giving their best right now,” He says excitedly,  “I’ve worked closely with a guy called Minz. He’s an Afrobeats star based in Nigeria, Lagos. He’s a very talented guy.” “Another person I think people should watch out for next year would be Bella Shmurda,” adds DJ Spinall, “Bella Shmurda is in a lot of rooms. He has been doing a lot of collaborations. I’ve heard some amazing sounds.”

“Bad Boy Timz is also someone I’ve been observing,” he continues, “His sound is excellent. There’s a guy called Derrick as well. He’s a new kid and I’ve listened to some of his songs. I’m hoping that by next year, he gets blessed. Of course no doubt Omah Lay is killing it. Omah Lay is killing it steady. And the legends… the legends are not sleeping, they are not playing. I am just looking forward to good music generally whether from new school or whatever; I’m just looking forward to great music.”

Great music is clearly essential especially for a record producer who started out as a DJ and became the first African DJ to perform at the SXSW festival. He was also the official DJ for the 2017 BET Awards. Just like his record producing career; he has excelled at doubling as a DJ. For someone who has managed to successfully push his brand as a DJ/Record Producer, his advice to other DJs is simple: Know yourself, stay honest, understand what your “calling” is, be authentic and remember that not every DJ is cut out to be a record producer.
“I believe that some people have extreme talent at just being sick club DJs,” says DJ Spinall, “I’m not saying they can’t push themselves more, but do what you have to do. Stand out. Push yourself and go the extra mile because, in every business, you can be a king in whatever you set your mind to.”

And with his experience in the industry for over a decade, his advice to anyone looking to get into the music industry can be broken down into 3 must-haves.
1. Talent
“In recent times it’s looking more like a noise than talent but for me, Talent is number 1”
2. Be patient
“You can’t get everything done overnight if you like to force yourself to do everything chappa chappa chappa. If you really want the best…if you want something that lasts, you gotta be patient. Greatness takes time. Success takes time.”
3. Put God First
“Put God first in your decisions because half of the time nobody knows what the people want, it’s just God”

You can listen to DJ Spinall’s “Grace” below:

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