DJ Lentini – Sonic Eclectic Interview
DJ Lentini has a knack for picking the right songs at the right time that allows people to get lost in the music and simply have a great time. He is passionate about Afro Pop music and continues to use his skills as a DJ to draw more attention to modern day African music. It was my pleasure to interview DJ Lentini for SE.
SE: So how did it all begin?
DJ Lentini: I had always been into entertainment right from my childhood years when I was always going to watch Fela Kuti at the shrine on Pepple Street in Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria. I was fascinated by the number of celebrities I saw at the shrine. As I grew up around that environment I was very much into music so I started promoting parties in My college days and in my neighborhood in Ikeja Lagos. When I moved to the United States (Bay Area) in the early 2000’s I saw the lack of Nigerian entertainment and Nigerian music. I started an entertainment company called Naija Bay Entertainment (NBE) with a couple of friends and got an African American DJ Hennessey. In 2008 when I moved to Los Angeles, I had close to 4000 Nigerian music in my library and a lot of people in my new city had not heard 1% of the good music I had so I figured I should be a DJ so I can spread the good music. Here I am
SE: What gave you that initial push?
DJ Lentini: The Initial push was the fact that I had a lot of Nigerian songs that where really good and also I attend a few parties where the DJ had no clue about the songs he was playing. I knew I could do better than they did.
SE: How would you describe the style of music that you play?
DJ Lentini: The style of Music I play is simply Afro Hip-Hop music, But Nigerians and other African countries call it Nigerian music. It branches out to several ethnic music due to the number of ethnic groups in Nigeria. When I Dj at those types of parties, I play songs that they understand and have meaning to their part of the culture.
SE: What was the first event you ever played at/put on?
DJ Lentini: It was at the Project WE (Women Education) event organized by the Miss Nigeria in America pageant (MNIA) in 2008
SE: What was your first record you bought?
DJ Lentini: Beat of No Nation by Fela Anikulapo Kuti
SE: Funniest thing that ever happened at an event?
DJ Lentini: The speakers went out in the middle of the event when half of the crowd was on the dance floor.
SE: Do you DJ non Nigerian / African events?
DJ Lentini: Yes I do. I have played at a few African American weddings and Birthdays
SE: What do you do outside of the dance music scene?
DJ Lentini: I have a regular 9-5 job where I am a facility coordinator at the company. I also organize events around California.
SE: What advice would you give to up and coming DJs
DJ Lentini: They should often research the genre of music they play. Especially with the Nigerian DJ’s that keep recycling a set of songs for several years while the artist keep releasing singles and albums on a daily basis
SE: When you play is this pre planned set?
DJ Lentini: Some are pre planned and some are not
SE: How do you see the Nigerian Afro Pop scene 5 years from now?
DJ Lentini: I believe it will be the biggest scene to be reckoned with by the rest of the world. And I also see a Grammy award in the bag for a couple Nigerian artists.
SE: What would you like the world to know about African/Afro Pop music?
DJ Lentini: I want the world to recognize the massive talents in the industry and also to open up to listening to those talents.
SE: If you could arrange a collaboration between a Nigerian artist and an American artists, who would you pick and why?
DJ Lentini: This is tough to answer because some are already happening at the moment. Dbanj and snoop had a great song together, Darey and Chamilonaire, Tuface is working with Akon in the studio. But if I must pick collaboration, it will have to be Terry G and Lil Wayne and the reason is that they are both very crazy and talented at the same time. I think the entire Kingston, Jamaica will run out of weeds before the song is concluded