DJ Steloo: Proof that being an artist in Accra is serious business

Accra-based sound and fashion artist DJ Steloo is pioneering the electronic music scene in Ghana. Steloo is not afraid to be different.

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Growing up in Accra, Ghana, DJ Steloo didn’t know what electronic music was when he was young. Now he is pushing the house music, dupstep and electronic music scene in Ghana and has built himself a cult following, often doing surprise pop-up gigs in the city's townships to bring the music to the people. 

I decided to take the responsibility to create a scene and to inspire people to the genre of electronic music.

Ghana is not the easiest of places to be producing electronic music in. Lack of infrastructure, slow internet speeds and inconsistent power all provide their own challenge. The residents of Accra have a word to describe the power outages. “Dumsor” (made up of two words in the local Akan dialect) literally translates to “on-off” and describes the constant state of unpredictable electricity. In Ghana dumsor can last for days… If you can’t rely on the power, be the power. 

Infrastructure isn’t the only problem: in Ghana it is commonly believed that artists are aimless individuals who won’t be able to support a family. 

“Being a creative in Accra is very difficult. For instance, in most homes or in the country itself, being a DJ is not a big deal, because we don’t have DJs that we look up to,” explains Steloo. “I decided to take the responsibility and erase that stereotype of people thinking about DJs [as aimless]. So I put a lot of work to build my brand – I market myself properly to prove those who think you can’t take being a DJ in this city seriously [wrong].” 

Steloo’s unique look is made up of clothes he has found in thrift markets and clothes he has made for himself, including his pilot-inspired fabric hat.

“This is my look everyday. This is how I show up everywhere. There are other artists that have two different lifestyles: they have their artists lifestyle and their behind-the-scenes lifestyle. Mine is not like that. I live as an artist. I live as my craft.”