Chances are, you may have seen DJ Shunz do her thing before. The South East London selector seems ubiquitous on the UK events scene and has DJ’d for a heap of Christian artists, including Bizzle and Datin when they came to the country. But now, for the first time, DJ Shunz is flexing her muscle as a producer, releasing her debut single Armour. We caught up with her to find out more.
We know you mostly as a DJ. How did producing come about? How long have you been working on your skills?
Producing came about the end of 2020. I got a word from one of the elders at my church saying that I would be making rhythm tracks and writing, although at the time I was doing neither of those things nor did I have any interest in doing either of those things. But then came an idea for a song and instead of giving the idea to someone else I decided I was going to do try and do this for myself. So it was about either learning to make beats or sourcing someone who can make the beat for me. So I went on a journey of deciding what I wanted to do, whether I wanted to learn to make beats myself or if I wanted to get someone to do it for me. With it being time sensitive – which a lot of things are with me, when I get an idea, I want to do it straight away – I was like; let me find a producer who can make the beat that I want. I was working with a few people, but then I met Joel from RichMitch, and it just worked. We came up with the Armour beat and the rest is history.
You’ve just released your debut single Armour. Tell us about it.
Armour is all about vibes and dancing. The concept came about because I wanted to create a track that Christians could dance to. I realised when I’m DJ’ing, and I’m out at Christian events and they allow secular music, I end up playing a lot of secular music because there aren’t a lot of tracks that Christians know of and actually dance to. So I want to try and change that narrative and make music that people can dance to, so when I’m out DJ’ing, and I drop the song everyone is ready to go, everyone is ready to dance. That is how Armour came about, a fun depiction of the Ephesians 6 scripture to put on the full armour of God. It’s fun and it’s a vibe.
How did you choose the artists you worked with on Armour?
I chose these artists because the concept came from the Dumpling remix, which is a Stylo G song that has Spice, Stylo G and Sean Paul on it. I wanted the same thing – male, female, male. When speaking to different artists and hearing their take on it, getting the concept and wanting to do a verse, it just ended up being four artists. 4eva Siege is a good friend of mine and a little brother to me. I played him the beat, and he was like; “This beat is cold – I want to jump on it,” so that’s how he ended up being on the song. I had already spoken to Maestro, and he was there from the beginning, like before I even had the beat, when I just had the concept and idea. He’s seen it from what it was to what it is now, and then I asked Ayarna to be on it because I wanted a female on it to bring that vibe. I also wanted a Jamaican accent on part of it – from a female, so the fact she is Jamaican and bussed little patios brought the track up for me. Nathanael is an amazing artist – someone I was listening to at the time, and I was like; yea – I want to try and work with more international artists and bring them together, bringing together UK artists and international artists, so that’s how he ended up on the track as well.
The track got revealed earlier than you expected. What happened at Premier Gospel?
What happened was, they put up a question box saying ask Lecrae a question. So I put for my question: Lecrae can you listen to one of my songs and let me know what you think and give me feedback? I sent that and Muyiwa [Premier Gospel station manager] messaged me asking for my phone number. He then called me and said; “Oh, so you’re making music – send me your track.” I sent my track to Muyiwa, and he played it to Lecrae, got feedback and put the video up. I was expecting to get the feedback behind the scenes, but the video went up online and everyone basically heard a snippet of the song. So I knew I had to release it as the cat was out of the bag but because the feedback was good I was happy, I was gassed. I feel like if that didn’t happen that way I don’t know if Armour would actually be out right now, so it’s like a blessing in disguise. I think it’s God orchestrating things in a way to be honest.
What was the worst DJ gig you’ve ever had?
I don’t really have a worse gig. I think sometimes weddings can be stressful whether it’s uncles complaining or everyone coming up with their song requests, and you can get flustered because it’s like song request after song request after song request. You can feel like; let me breath, let me mix, let me just play!
Sometimes they want songs all higgy hagga but they’re not the right BPM, or they can’t mix in with one another. So it can get quite hectic, but I don’t have a worse gig story and I don’t want a worse gig story. I’ve been blessed so far to be a part of some amazing events.
If you could choose anyone, who would you want to be the tour DJ for?
I’m happy with the people I DJ for now. I DJ for Mulah (Hayley Mulenda) which is amazing and very enjoyable. Also, for 4eva Siege aka Prince Siege – that is amazing anytime we are at events together, and I get to DJ for him. If I could pick anyone, it would be someone whose songs I already know and who would be a vibe on stage and energetic. So someone like Still Shady or anyone from the reggae gospel genre – so Maestro Bravest, Minister Taf, DJ Nicholas. Anyone I can have fun DJ’ing with, and it’s hype and the crowd is hype. That would be amazing.
What makes you happy?
So many things make me happy in life. When I come home and I see my daughter, and she smiles, if it’s been a long day, or I haven’t seen her for a while that makes me happy! So so happy! Sleep makes me happy, eating makes me happy, food makes me happy, going out to a restaurant makes me happy. Chilling with my husband watching a film or going to the cinema, like when we are doing things together, and he’s making me laugh – that makes me happy. Chilling with my friends, having banter and making jokes, going away makes me happy – seeing new things and other cities and places. The sea makes me happy, heights make me happy but most of all, my happiness and joy come from God because sometimes my life is in turmoil or things are all over the place, but I have a peace and I have a joy in God that is immeasurable. I can’t fathom why I am happy sometimes with everything that is going on around me, but it is literally God. God keeping me.
What next for you?
More gigging and hopefully more touring. More music – releasing and creating more songs. I want to write more and speak about my experiences. People will get to know me, know my heart for God. Growing in my purpose, my calling and having an effect on the next generation – so helping other DJs come up, other artists to grow, produce for more people, work with more people, more artists that I love – that’s what is next for me.
Armour by DJ Shunz is out now