One on one with the effervescent DJ Proffer
By Rosalia David
LOCAL music industry enigma, dancehall musician and producer George Hendricks popularly known as DJ Proffer is making a name for himself on the international scene with his music nominated in the Djooky music awards and subsequently bagging a one-year contract with Bentley Records.
Djooky Music Awards is the largest online global song contest while Bentley Records is an award winning luxury international record label founded in 2013.
This week Confidente sat with the dancehall artist to get a glimpse of how he started his music journey.
Kindly give us a background on who DJ Proffer is?
DJ Proffer, real name George Abel Hendricks, was born in Keetmanshoop’s Tseiblaagte residential area on 27 February 1985. In the late 80s, my parents, my big brother and I moved up north to Tsumeb, where I started and finished my primary and high school career. Tsumeb was also the town in which I discovered I possessed music making superpowers.
You were nominated in the Djooky music awards, what does this mean to you?
It boosted my confidence in the sense that I realised my music can compete on a world stage.
However, I produce music for everyone to enjoy or relate to, and not to compete or receive an award/prize for it. It’s strictly passion, fun, connecting with music lovers and networking with artists from all over the world.
When and how exactly did you start doing music?
Since way back when I was a toddler. I grew up listening to a variety of music – thanks to my father who is a guitarist and had love for music in general. I remember as a youngster, whenever I heard my father playing, my siblings and I would sit with him, enchanted by his tunes.
My siblings were probably serenaded by the notes of his guitar strings, but due to my scientific curiosity I had as a child and still to this day, I was intrigued by the anatomy of the instrument and how my father, barely looking at his finger work, was strumming without missing his notes.
Still in the early 90s, I watched my father record himself on a cassette with only a mic he had plugged into a tape recorder/player. Again, I was curious and fascinated by how that was possible. Fast-forward, to the year 2001, my parents left my siblings and I home alone for about a week.
This was the butterfly effect that would later give birth to DJ Proffer. After my parents had left, I decided to put my childhood curiosity to practice. My first recording was a rap verse I wrote on a Dr. Dre ‘Nuthin but a G’Thang’ instrumental. After recording myself on a cassette, I played it to my younger brother – he was stunned and had asked me to write a verse for him too. We made our first mix tape. Soon, our neighbourhood in Tsumeb heard about us and we managed to inspire some of our friends to join in. We established an underground rap group titled ‘The Fleep Syderz’.
Being the only one in the group that finished high school, I realised that for us to become successful in the rap game, I had to enrol myself at an arts school to perfect my music skills. In 2007, with the assistance of my parents, I moved to Windhoek and enrolled at the College of the Arts and graduated with a Sound Technology diploma in 2009.
During the lockdown in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, I decided to keep myself busy and entertained by mixing songs with deejay software, and then upload them on my Soundcloud account. I later thought to myself ‘why don’t I make music instead of mixing songs by other artists?’ I linked up with a college classmate of mine who lives in Zimbabwe, Jay Radix, and asked him if he knew a few artists I could work with. He immediately linked me with international artists.
I produced the beats and would send it to them via WhatsApp, which they would record on and send me the vocals to mix.
You’re one of the few musicians/producers in dancehall music; would you say that Namibians are slowly falling in love with this genre compared to other sounds like House or Kwaito?
Yes, dancehall is gaining popularity in Namibia, thanks to its cousin genre – Afro-beats. Big ups to West and East African artists for introducing Afro-beats to the rest if the world, and also to the Caribbean artists for inspiring me with their music and culture.
When I released my first dancehall single back in October 2020 (Pull Up Dat! Ft. Patexx), it was well received during the first two weeks, locally and in the United States of America and Canada, although I didn’t launch the project through the media. That same single also earned me a one-year contract with international music label Bentley Records in 2020 and was nominated for the Djooky Global Music Awards earlier this year.
Do you have any plans to drop another project? If yes, kindly give us more details.
Yes, an EP before the release of my debut album under my label Bentley Records. I’m 98 percent done with my album and it will drop mid-year (preferably June 2021). The album is a 16-track album that features artists from Africa, Jamaica, United States of America and United Kingdom. Genres include: Dancehall, Reggae, Afro Pop, Pop, Hip Hop, R&B and Contemporary Afro-beat. Both the EP and album will be available worldwide on major digital music platforms. I will also avail 100 CDs to individuals who still prefer the traditional way of listening to music.
Music fans can follow my Instagram page @djproffer or my twitter handle @djproffer or Facebook page DJ Proffer for surprise releases, merchandise and give aways.
What is your advice to those talented underdogs who are at the verge of giving up on their art due to lack of exposure?
Just do it!
Giving up on your talent is the worst sin one can commit. I feel like it irks God and makes him regret he ever gave you a talent so powerful it can uplift your community – yes, your song(s) can solve problems and inspire your community and the world at large.
It’s not about exposure, money or fame. It’s about passion for music and spreading positive energy through your artwork.
Take it from a guy who got less than 500 Instagram followers, never appeared on television, this is my first newspaper interviews (Big ups Confidente newspaper), my songs, as far as I know, only rotate on Nam Radio (Big ups Nam Radio) – but I got picked and signed by an international record label (Big ups Bentley Records). So, just do it!