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Having performed alongside Wyclef Jean in New York City, in front of Emmanuel Macron at a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gala, and spotlighted by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label for Black History Month, DJ Switch, by the age of 13, has progressed further on the world stage through her ethos-driven musicmaking than most aspiring leaders do in a lifetime.
She began as a spoken-word poet at the age of 9 but quickly learned to DJ at the encouragement of her parents to make use of her effortlessly enviable singing and dancing talents, too. Her spinning skills won her first place on a popular TV competition in her home country of Ghana, which jump-started her fanbase – and her use of music to preach messages of inspiration and positive change.
“Every song has a dance,” she said at a Global Landscapes Forum event in Accra in 2019. “Imagine if a song on tree-planting goes viral with a particular dance, where everyone would be singing and dancing with a tree to plant.”
Ghanaian Erica Armah Bra-Bulu Tandoh goes by the DJ moniker “DJ Switch” because she likes to use her music to switch people into a positive mood, but she has ambitions that far exceed this. Already, she has established the DJ Switch Foundation to support underprivileged Ugandans, and she eventually hopes to be a gynecologist. And perhaps that’s the reason for her success – her dreams for the future do not in any way hinder her desire to make change in the present.
“Don’t you think we should create a song right now? I have a tree to plant. Dig, dig and plant,” she began lyricizing from the stage in Accra. “A tree cannot make a forest, but many trees. One voice, one song to restore our land.”