The NV of the airwaves
FROM THE bright lights of New York City to the sun-kissed shores of Barbados and reaching to the Motherland, Natassja Bynoe is making her voice heard.
Better known in local radio circles as Lady NV, she boasts over two decades at the mic as an announcer and later deejay. Five years ago, she got an opportunity to create pre-recorded mixtape shows to be broadcast in Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Ghana.
The proud daughter of Barbadian parents uses the show Urban Vybz to introduce the music of the Caribbean to a wider audience.
“A lot of people in western Africa know a lot about Machel Montano, Alison Hinds and I get a lot of requests for African dancehall artists to do collaborations with Alison Hinds and Machel Montano,” Lady NV told EASY in an interview.
“I have been able to introduce King Bubba, Gorg and Peter Coppin, and I play a lot of different artistes from Barbados. As long as the music is good, I will play it.
“In a lot of the music, like azonto (a genre originating in Nigeria), certain beats sound very similar to soca. Even when you go down to southern Africa, the beats sound very similar to soca or ragga soca,” Lady NV continued.
The DJ has also been trying to encourage local music producers to make their own musical connections to Africa, revealing that, “for the past three or four years I have been asking the producers to do their homework on western Africa or African music – period. I will be very honest and say that only one or two people have really enquired or who’ve stepped up and did their homework.
“There is so much that can be learnt about African music and African beats and how it can be fused into soca. The artistes in Africa are very talented, and I think there can be some major collaborations with their artistes and those from the Caribbean.”
While she understands the popular misconceptions about Africa and its people, she asserted that there were clear signs that the continent is on a rise to global prominence.
“A lot of people think of Africa and they think undeveloped. Yes, there are a lot of places in Africa that are underdeveloped but there are still some places which are very developed and very wealthy . . . . There is a market for these places and if there isn’t, create one! People love anything new and this is one thing I wish my Bajan artistes would really understand and grasp. I love Barbados, don’t get me wrong, but with this recession that we are in, you have to think globally.”
Although she has never been, Africa is a place that the “lady” of the airwaves is beginning to know well – through part-time history studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus.
“I decided to focus on more Africanised courses and I feel like I can connect with them on a higher level. I can understand what is happening in their country, origins [and] up until [present day]. By understanding this I understand my people a little bit better.”
However, a chance to visit continent might come this month – once the funds were available. Lady NV is up for the International DJ Award at the DJ Awards in Accra, Ghana. She found out about the nomination via Twitter as she was getting ready for work: “I started screaming and I was elated. I was stunned, humbled and honoured.”
This would be one of the firsts in her career, including one of the first DJ to play at a major event in St Lucia.
Recalling the experience, she said: “1 000 people were there and 300 people stop one time because they had never seen a female DJ before, especially one that played well. I got over my nerves and kept on going.”
In her early years, she admitted that men did not take her seriously until she started to do her thing.
“ . . . . They realized that this girl ain’t playing around. I actually taught some of them things as well.”
After the bachelor’s is completed however, Lady NV has hopes of becoming Dr NV and a lecturer.