In the Diaspora: Selecta Maestro
DJ Selecta Maestro’s legacy ranks him as a pioneer on the cusp of a flourishing UK Afrobeats scene. His rise to the forefront of Afrobeats has been more than just gigs, mixtapes, and remixes; his contribution to the scene via his radio show ‘Afrobeats Takeover’ is an example of his unending commitment to put Africa first through music and entertainment.
JF: Who are you and what do you do?
SM: My name is Selecta Maestro and I am a DJ, radio presenter, event organiser, producer, and currently manage an artist called K’adu who is an upcoming afro-fusion artist. I am also part of a travel group called Ghana Escapes!
JF: You seem to wear a lot of hats!
SM: Definitely - jack of all trades, master of many.
JF: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
SM: I am a full-blooded Ashanti man and eat fufu 24/7 – without fufu, life doesn’t make sense. I mean sometimes I dabble between banku.
JF: When was the last time you went to Ghana?
SM: I got back from Ghana a few weeks ago – I was there for the Christmas period.
JF: What is your opinion on the entertainment industry in Ghana right now?
SM: The scene is honestly flourishing with a new crop of artists emerging. The industry needs to throw its support behind the artists and scene as a whole. There are so many amazing artists including the late Ebony who I knew personally was onto big things, King Promise, KiDi, Kuami Eugene – I don’t want to leave any names out so I’ll leave that list as it is. I have found that in order for artists to make it out of Ghana and onto the international music scene, they have to overcome some real stumbling blocks – that’s why I respect artists like Sark.
JF: As someone that is well-versed in entertainment, what advice would you give upcoming artists?
SM: Be yourself! Don’t try and tailor your music to a particular audience. If your music is good, it will push through. Remain authentic in all you do. Keep a team that have your best interests at heart around you.
JF: Support or the lack thereof in the entertainment industry is a big issue. That is why we have the likes of Shatta Wale airing out his opinions from a place of evident pent up frustration.
JF: Moving across the Atlantic now to the UK. I remember being in sixth form between 2010 – 2012 and witnessing first-hand the emergence of Ghanaians in the UK-afro scene. What were your thoughts around this time?
SM: I have been a DJ for 18 years and covered a lot of genres. 2009/10 I began going to Ghana a lot more and when I came back, I realised that the sound was changing and wanted to assist the scene and sound. 2010/11 gave rise to the likes of Mista Silva, Kwamz, Flava, A Star, Skob – I fully salute those guys for leading the charge. Boomboomtah to me, was an indication that the scene was going to change and it came at the right time. Big respect to all those guys who helped uplift the culture in a big way.
JF: Now, onto your artist K’adu...
SM: K’adu is an afro-fusion artist, gearing up to release his debut EP. I would say his sound definitely fits into the UK music scene today and he is definitely one to watch. Check out his latest tracks Slow Whine and Away. [insert images of K’adu and link all videos]
JF: You mentioned that you were in Christmas for events and a part of the travel group, Ghana Escapes.
SM: Yes, so Ghana Escapes was founded 5 years ago and I have been a part of the project since its inception. 2017 saw the team round up the 5th year of the package holiday. We had 250 people in Ghana on our watch. Such a large number, which is a testament to the growth of the project. The aim is to change the perception of Ghana and the Motherland as a whole by providing a range of different experiences encompassing nightlife, culture (making local dishes), as well as tourism. Ghana has rich heritage and a number of landmarks like Cape Coast Castle, Asin Manso and many more that provide context about the slave trade. We aim to switch it up every year and it is honestly fantastic every time. Packages are currently on sale. Click here for more information.
JF: You were awarded Outstanding DJ of the year at the African Pride Awards in 2017, congratulations. What does the next year hold for you as a DJ and brand?
SM: I am aiming to continue progressing as a DJ and brand and always strive to be bigger and better. This award reminds me of the standard to maintain as a creative. JF: Are you interested in contributing to the further development of the nation given your skills and experience?
SM: 100% and every year I go back, I am laying foundations personally and professionally to action that move in the future.
JF: What advice would you give to those interested in moving back to Ghana?
SM: Fully research into the field you are going into. Continuously study your market. In Ghana, there are a wealth of opportunities – you just need to look. Be prepared to take that leap of faith.
Selecta Maestro is literally one of the most down to earth people in the music industry I have spoken to thus far. If you are an Afrobeats fan, be sure to check out Afrobeats Takeover show on The Beat London 103.6FM, Fridays from 7pm - 9pm. Follow and support Selecta Maestro and if you ever need a DJ, Presenter, Events Curator or Content Writer, Wofa Selecta does it all. Keep an eye out for K'adu this year and that EP, too!