Ugandan born Jenifa Mayanja has been deeply entrenched in the underground deep house music scene for more than 25 years, staking her claim in New York since the early 90’s. Steadily rising through the ranks, Ms. Mayanja’s profile has maintained an underground buzz that has earned her a revered place as the “first lady of deep house” and a reputation for being an innovative, fearless and respected musical ambassador for women in house music. CDR is more than excited to welcome Jenifa to the March event- we caught up with the artist for a few words…
You moved to Berlin last year from the States. How are you enjoying living and working here?
Berlin is a big city with, somehow, a small town vibe because of its diverse communities. It has been quite a challenge adjusting to the living situation here because of the language and cultural differences. I have been working differently because of the schedules of the family and because of the amount of musical projects I have taken on.
In terms of your DJing, what would you say are the biggest differences playing to crowds in Europe than back home?
One of the biggest differences I find is that the audiences in the States (at least where I play) are interested in the vibe that you create, the journey and not so much in the DJ him/herself. In Europe it often seems that the audience cares more about the DJ and consider the whole experience more like a show.
Our CDR community is always interested in the way people make music. Can you tell us a little about your studio setup?
My studio setup is quite minimal by a lot of people’s standards. I have a computer, a keyboard, two microphones and studio monitors. It has served me very well and rarely do I want to add much more to it. However, if and when I am able to do so, I would like another keyboard and I am working on developing a live show, which means that some more gear might be needed in the near future.
Do you have any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing tracks to play at CDR?
Without listening to any producer/musicians’ tracks there wouldn’t be much I could offer in terms of advice. However, the best piece of advice I can give is to stay in your lane. Be yourself as much as possible.
What’s been on the home stereo recently?
I listen to a smattering of music. Mostly when I am working I listen to a “chill hop” station on YouTube and also some jazz. I haven’t bought a full length album in a while which I really miss. I really enjoy long players.