A disc jockey, Faith Stevens, aka DJ Electra, tells FAITH AJAYI, how epileptic condition inspires to keep giving her best to her craft
At what point did you discover your love for music and decided to turn it to a career?
I have always loved music. But, in 2008, I witnessed a DJ making an audience go wild at a birthday party, and I said to myself that I wanted to do that to people someday.
What is the story behind your stage name, DJ Electra?
When I decided to become a DJ, I started researching for a unique name that would be etched in people’s memories. I wanted a name that would align with my performance. At that time, I had already carved a niche for electrifying the audience with my performances and presence, so I needed a name that resonated with that. Thus, the inspiration for ‘Electra’ which means, ‘shining light’, was birthed.
At what stage in your life did you discover you were epileptic, and how have you been able to grow and not let the condition hold you from achieving all you have so far?
At the age of 18, I had my first epileptic episode when I fell head first into a bucket of water while in boarding house (secondary school). I then took note of all my triggers, which included reading, so I could not further my education to be a lawyer. I channelled my passion into music and found a way to manage my health condition by wearing protective glasses and being aware of my triggers, so I have never had an epileptic episode during any of my major gigs. It must be noted that seizures vary from different individuals.
What are the things you tell yourself or do that keeps you going in the face of stigmatisation?
I have experienced stigmatisation, but it only inspires me to keep pushing and not wallow in self-pity, believing that someday, I will be given a chance.
Being a female DJ, what were some of the challenges you faced in the early days of your career?
I must confess that I did not find things difficult, because I knew I had a lot to learn.
How were you able to overcome those challenges?
I just respected my elders (laughs).
What or who inspires you?
My mum and my aunty, Florence, are a major source of inspiration. She sacrificed so many years of her life looking after me when my epileptic episodes started, which I felt affected her personal life goals. I will forever remain grateful to her for the personal sacrifice.
You were recently sponsored to the United Kingdom by Inside Out Media on your first sound project for a movie in January 2023. You have also performed for the US Consulate General (in Nigeria?) on two occasions. How has that impacted your career?
Creating soundtracks for movies has spurred my growth in the entertainment industry. Working with the United States Consulate has also broadened my horizon. I am constantly doing what I know how to do best, which is carrying out research and learning, in order to leave a lasting impact on my diverse client base. It is always fun and exciting working with them.
It is known that people with certain health conditions are usually stigmatised. Have you ever been in a situation where although you knew you had a chance at getting something but were not given the opportunity because of your health condition?
Yes. I was recently booked for an all-expense paid trip to perform in an European country. The deal was worth 20,000 Euros for 10 days. The deal was cancelled because, according to them, they saw on my social media page that I was epileptic. They said they could not pay for my insurance. I found that interesting, because if they could pay 20,000 Euros for my performance, they could also afford to pay for the insurance. Those were some of the things I faced.
You also own a charity organisation, where you sensitise people on the different forms of epilepsy. How do you fund these activities?
I created epilepsy awareness, and support some people struggling with epilepsy with medical support and products, such as like earplugs, which can help them prevent noise pollution. Most of those products are donated by people. Some people also give us cash donations. I also use my personal money to sponsor some of the projects.
How have you been able to balance your busy schedules in a way that it does not affect your health and family?
I don’t joke with my free days. Also, the lounges and clubs where I work have been vey supportive.
What are some of the qualities one most have to succeed as a DJ?
One should be humble, believe in the works of one’s hand, and never feel that anyone is bigger or better than one. Also, one should always inspire oneself while also inspiring others.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I will be somewhere in this world, smiling, knowing I have allowed myself, with the support of many, to have a major impact on the world, especially in terms of epilepsy awareness and other things. I believe that the world will be highly electrified by this inspiring DJ— me.
Aside from being a DJ, what are your other areas of interest?
I love to farm. I have a small farm that I manage with my mum.
What is your favourite meal?
I love yam and eggs.
How do you unwind?
I enjoy streaming music at about 2am; as well as having a beer or two with close friends.