abranteeWith his distinctive voice and high energy presenting style, DJ Abrantee has indeed become one of the biggest DJ’s at Choice. However do not get it twisted and think it has been an easy road on the contrary it has been a tough road from graveyard shifts to a loss of friends, this buoyant dj takes his current success with heaps of gratitude.

So why did you decide to stay with your own name rather than some fancy name?
Abrantee means “gentleman” in Twi and basically it was a name given to me. I was always basically a gentleman and I am very much into my roots even though when I was at school I was Jamaican. But I was passionate about my roots and when I first came into the game people could not even say my name but people have now learnt to say my name.

Why dj’ing as a career?
I got into dj’ing when I started in a group called 90 Percent a group of Ghanaian dj’s. I was passionate about music before because one of my cousins used to be in one of those old fashion sounds and he was the only one that could get me out because my day thought he was good but he was bad.

And how did you get into dj’ing?
Essentially it was through my relative who was a dj at the time. My dad would only let me go out with him because he thought he was “good”. He eventually gave up music and he gave me all of his collection because he became religious and that was that really.

And what about your inspirations in terms of UK dj’s or sounds.
I started following Mistri and Special Touch they were heavy.

So how did you end up on one of the biggest stations in the UK, Choice?
The chance just came up to get on Choice and do a 3am to 6am shift. I had been dj’ing on and off as a filler dj with my crew for a while. I was offered the job of the overnight which was the graveyard shift and I presented that show for two and half years. It was definitely one of the hardest shifts I remember there were times where I thought I cannot do this anymore but people like Sway and Tinnie were like keep going Abrantee just keep going and the rest is history.

What have you learnt about the music industry?
I love the music industry and I love doing what I do but along the way the music industry is a very naughty place the haters and the back bitters. People you think that were your friends suddenly come out as not your friends. You have to be like a police horse with blinkers and focus on what you are doing.

Was it an easy transition from dj to presenter?
There is a big difference between a dj and a presenter. You have people like Trevor Nelson who is a great presenter and DJ Swerve who is a great dj. I wanted to get the best of both worlds and so when I am in the clubs it is a different Abrantee to when I am presenting. It is actually a very difficult task presenting in truth but luckily they are supporting the cause at Choice.

As a man with his hand on the pulse of UK music where do you think it stands at the moment?
Back then it was all about getting the exclusive track. Vinyl is like a culture. It is just a sign of the times I remember dj’ing at a place with this other dj and I will not even mention his name but he came with an IPod and pressed play. The danger of the scene is that a lot of rubbish could get through and then it waters down the scene and then the real talent think forget that.

Who do you admire in the music industry right now?
Jay-Z because the dude is so clever and I admire the way he can drop his lyrical flow. The best show I ever went to was Jay-Z at the Roundhouse, he tore that place to pieces. I like Tinnie because he is not putting on the nice guy thing, he is a nice guy and he is still a nice guy. He embraces his success but he is still humble. My boy Sway as well because lyrically he is one of the best and he has not achieved the commercial success he deserves however he is still doing his thing and he is persistent.

Lastly anything we need to look out for?
Well obviously there is my show, 8pm to 12am Monday to Friday and Saturday 1pm to 4pm. I am dj’ing all over and doing loads of things so just get in touch on my Twitter page.

Twitter @djabrantee, 21d8a9e7

Words by Semper Azeez-Harris