I’ve got the power’
DJ Ohmz is a BET house DJ who has appeared in commercials and modelled for Gap.
But seven years ago he was just Omar Anderson, virtually unknown and feeling stuck.
His home town of Springfield, Massachusetts, offered only a few nightclubs to play in.
Opportunity popped up in an unlikely place — Bermuda.
“I had a friend from Bermuda, Lou Simons,” said Mr Anderson, on the island this week to market Luc Belaire, a sparkling wine brought in by Pitt & Company.
“He suggested I come to Bermuda to play, but I wasn’t so sure. I thought it might be too different there.”
His friend talked him into it and he visited in 2010.
“I loved it,” the 34-year-old said. “I played at a nightclub called G135 on Front Street. Then there was a local DJ competition. I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’ And I entered.”
It turned out that a director from Bermuda’s Power 95 was in the audience.
“Afterward, he asked me where I was from,” said Mr Anderson. “Then he invited me to be on the radio.”
He went back to Springfield but for six months afterwards, sent his mix tapes. They played every Sunday from 4pm to 5pm.
It gave him a much needed confidence boost.
“I’d call my friends and say, ‘Hey, I’m on the radio in Bermuda. Tune in!’
“It helped me by building my name up on the island while connecting with local artists,” he said.
He has since been brought in to play at crowd draws such as Cup Match and Bermuda Day.
“Bermuda is like my second home,” he said. “I’m there all the time.
“I’m really interested in inspiring Bermuda’s young people. I think young Bermudians need some encouragement. A lot of them think they’re stuck here. I wanted to share my story.”
His advice is to take a leap of faith. “When I started coming to Bermuda no one knew me, but I started networking and meeting people,” he said. “I did that on my own dime.
“I say to young people, at least try. You never want to say what if. Those what ifs might haunt you in the end.”
He listed some of the crazy things he has done over the years to get attention.
“I turned up at Jay-Z’s office in New York and pretended I had an appointment with him,” the DJ said. “I was escorted out by police.” He managed to hand out 3,000 business cards in Times Square.
“Some people saw the cards and hit me up on social media,” he said.
And then came success. He e-mailed BET twice a week for over a year begging to be on its weekday countdown of popular hip-hop, R&B, reggae and dancehall music videos, 106 & Park.
“I knew sooner or later, I’d get a response,” he said. “It worked. In 2011 I got a call from BET’s audience manager Terrence Clayton saying, ‘You done e-mailed everyone but my mama. I want you to go and do this show with Jennifer Lopez. Are you free?’
“I went there and met Jennifer Lopez and gave her a hug. I was so nervous my first time on live television. Terrence touched my shoulder and said, ‘Calm down, this is not the last time you are here’.”
He was put in rotation, appearing every month-and-a-half.
“Now, the folk at BET are like family,” he said.
Next month he will be the red carpet DJ for the BET Awards in Miami.
“I often think, ‘Why me?’,” he said. “There have been a lot of other DJs in the game who have been in it longer than me, and done way more stuff than me.”
Since catching BET’s eye he has appeared in television commercials, magazines and is a DJ on HOT93.7 WZMX FM in Connecticut, and 98.2 The Urban Beat in Japan.
He still keeps a day job, working in a warehouse in Springfield. He likes the security.
“I am like Bruce Wayne by day and Batman at night,” he joked.
He has two children Maya, 9, and Kamare, 6.
“I am most proud that they are proud of me,” he said.
His daughter was particularly impressed when his image went up on a large billboard in the New England city.
“Springfield said I’d done a lot for the city,” he said. “The first time I saw my picture on a billboard I had to pull my car over.
“I was in tears looking at it.”
Friends have urged him to move to New York to be closer to the music scene, but he chooses to remain in Springfield.
“I like my space,” he said.
Look for DJ Ohmz on Facebook.
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