The pandemic era was one of the worst periods in modern history; jobs were lost, forcing many to press restart on their lives.
For Renee Osego Bakwadi, starting over exposed her to hidden talents and took her life in an unexpected new direction.
Bored from the same daily routines, Renee took up DJing lessons; with time it evolved from a hobby to her daily grind, trading as Mr Hennyyy.
After an explosive performance at the Simply Piano Festival two weeks ago, we caught up with the disc spinner.
Interesting name, why Mr Hennyyy?
The name was inspired by a thought I once had about being unique from all the other females in the industry, and believing that I can rock at the same level as the men in the industry.
How often do people think Mr Hennyyy is a guy?
I think because of the images and graphics on the flyers, it’s easy for them to put two and two together.
However, I do get questioned on my sexuality a lot.
So, how’d you get into DJing?
I was super bored during the pandemic, and I decided to pick up a new hobby.
I went to a DJ school curated by Piet the DJ, who was my main mentor, and DJ Izzy, who took me under his wing and opened the door into the industry.
What genre do you play the most?
I play a lot of Amampiano, but when I learnt, I studied through Afrobeat.
How has the industry been so far?
I’ve been through a lot of unfortunate situations.
I’ve been booked at big shows and not had the chance to perform because bigger brands were given more of a priority.
I’ve been in situations where promoters request services they don’t want to pay for.
I’ve been painted as a red flag by certain individuals within the industry because I speak the truth about the industry in terms of what we face and offer up solutions to the problems we encounter.
I’m sure there has been memorable moments as well?
My highlights would be everyone I’ve worked with right from the beginning till now.
I’d like to appreciate my team first and foremost: Cindy Moalosi who is my Bookings Manager, Teto Thebenala the Team Manager, Deckson Debbie the Road Manager, Game Lekgotla Finance Manager and Ronnie Mphets the Media Manager.
If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience the atmosphere of events such as Ke Mokgatla Festive Experience happening on the 31st of December at Ledungwana farms, Homecoming on the 24th in Mahalapye and a couple of other events in countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Another highlight would be having the chance to work with people like DJ Bunny, DJ Nendiyo, Kyotic SA, and many more established brands that help me maneuver through the struggles of the industry.
What would you say is essential in winning as a DJ?
Discipline! The key to being a successful DJ is self-discipline and understanding that growth takes time.
How do you ensure your listeners vibe to your music all the time?
I play according to trends.
Not TikTok but genre trends.
I spend most of my time playing around with sounds and creating new music mixes.
Projects you’re working on?
I’m working on my first event called HENNYYY & FRIENDS to be held in September 2024.
I’m also working on a project with four International artists which I cannot disclose as of yet.
Location you would never play at?
There’s never a place I wouldn’t play at.
The only reason I would turn down a gig would be because of disagreements between myself and the event promoter.
Your dream gig?
My dream gig is currently Cotton Fest JHB and Coachella [a festival in California, USA].
Lowest amount you’ve ever been paid for a gig?
I’ve played at multiple venues for free.
My lowest paying gig was P500.
What about the highest amount?
The highest amount I’ve been paid for a gig was P3, 000.
Other hidden talents?
I play the drums and Marimba pretty well.
Five things people don’t know about you?
1. I’m a criminologist
2. I started in the industry at a really young age
3. My best friend became my manager
4. I’m relocating to a new country soon
5. I’m also a swimming coach and a Karate Black belt