By ANNIE ZULU
MEN have long dominated Zambia’s DJ scene, however, a new breed of highly successful female DJs are challenging the status quo, attracting legions of fans and changing perceptions both at home and abroad.
Among them is Mwila Mailes Chulu, known by the stage name DJ Milky Way who first rose to prominence after playing at the Jameson Connect which was held at Roan and Samble in Lusaka in November, 2018.
Although new on the DJ scene, Milky Way is making rounds and wants to take on the men at their own game.
In less than a year, she has played at major local events like the R&G Oktoberfest, the Zamfest, the Zambian feminist march event, drama night club appearances and has officially been endorsed by Infinix Mobile Zambia.
Milky Way recently played at the African Women in Dialogue (AFWID) conference dinner in Johannesburg, South Africa which was attended by over 1,000 delegates from all the 55 African countries.
Her incredible DJing skills at the just ended conference won her kudos from various people from different nationalities.
The Daily Nation caught up with her.
How did the name Milky Way come about?
Milky Way: (laughs) it’s a long-crazy story, believe me you don’t want to know, it’s just Milky Way…..
When did you start DJing?
Milky Way: Professionally, I am just a year old in the game, but before that I used to play for myself in my bedroom and for my friends.
What inspired you to become a DJ?
Milky Way: My love for music inspired me to be who I am today, since childhood I have always known that I wanted to be in the music industry. I have also other female DJs like DJ Zinhle of South Africa who really stimulated my dream of becoming a DJ.
Apart from being a DJ, do you have any other qualifications?
Milky Way: I am a Psycho-Social counsellor and social worker, I have a qualification in social science.
What gig made you rise to Prominence?
Milky Way: I think the Jameson connect made me, it’s one of the successful gigs that I ever had.
Don’t you get intimidated being in this male-dominated field?
Milky Way: To be honest, I do get intimidated at sometimes, but again that is why it is more important to believe in yourself as a woman. If I let all those intimidations get to me, at the end of the day I would not have achieved whatever I have achieved. So the more they intimidate me, the more I become better.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years as a DJ?
Milky Way: I see myself around the world doing what I love most that is making people happy, laugh and dance by simply playing music. Just imagine, I am just a girl from Kitwe on the Copperbelt, recently moved to Lusaka and had already been to other countries and I have played for major local events like the Oktoberfest. My aim is to go higher and higher, already I was called a pan African DJ, so eventually it’s myself to the world.
What are your hobbies?
Milky Way: I love listening to music, dancing, playing and watching soccer.
Your advice to young girls who want to pick up DJing as a career?
Milky Way: First of all it is important to believe in yourself, and also surround yourself with people that believe in you, like that you can go very far. Most importantly young girlos out there should know that DJing is a craft, it’s an art. It’s not just mixing music.