Ray Dizz in Las Vegas, US

Ray Dizz in Las Vegas, US

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THE name Rayhaan Jassat might not instantly ring a bell, but this individual has taken his craft to greater heights, setting the club scene ablaze with his versatility behind the decks.

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Popularly known as Ray Dizz, this revered DJ has been redefining the art of Deejaying on the local entertainment scene, manipulating his creativity to infuse other elements into his act.

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Besides being a resident DJ at some of the biggest clubs in Harare, he has also become a permanent fixture at the Harare International Festival of the Arts.

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At this year’s edition, he was recalled to mash it up alongside Bassjackers, Blinders and Jason Le Roux for the Sonic in Wonderland Show, after an extraordinary display during his set the previous day.

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Ray Dizz has shared the stage with international acts like P-Square, Ice Prince, AKA, Movado and D’Banj, to mention a few and has made a mark on all these occasions.

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Last year Ray Dizz got the opportunity to lift the country’s flag high at the Miller Sound Clash Finals in Las Vegas, USA after brushing off competition from local and South African DJs who were also targeting the slot.

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The award-winning DJ has not limited his art to the decks — he has taken it to the studio to explore his capabilities behind the microphone.

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Working with the likes of Simba Tags, Reverb 7, Smiley and Lochnation among others, he has managed to cook up several songs, which include “729” and “She Loving the Crew” to mention just a few.

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He is currently riding high with the “Party Remix” video, which features Simba Tags, shot both locally and in Las Vegas.

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Last week, The Sunday Mail Leisure tracked down Ray Dizz to excavate the details behind his road to stardom.

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The 29-year-old DJ was born and raised in the concrete jungle of Harare, and attended Twin Rivers Primary School before proceeding to Prince Edward High School. He completed his secondary school studies at Species College.

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He went on to further his studies at Totton College in Southampton in the UK.

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“I had a passion for art so after High School I enrolled at Totton College in the UK where I managed to finish my degree in Arts and Designing. Although, I can draw, paint and sculpt I chose to specialise in graphics designing because I found it to be cleaner and since I was techno-savvy it was easier for me to handle,” says Ray Dizz.

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Unlike artistes who discover their talents early in life, Ray’s situation was different. He saw himself growing up to be a geologist or professional soccer player.

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“When I started college I was more into soccer than music but then things changed along the way and here I am. I have always been an avid hip hop fan ever since I was a kid, but I only got interested in becoming a DJ when I was in college, bought myself turntables and started practising.

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“I never sought professional help but would lock myself in my room learning all the tricks I could master, making use of internet guides.

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‘‘I had to practice for more than one and a half years before I had the confidence to start playing for a huge audience.”

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Getting into the UK club scene was not easy.

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“Several friends of mine were club DJs so I offered to carry record crates for them when they went to play which gave me an opportunity to further my knowledge of the trade. Eventually they started to let me play and as my confidence grew, I started playing at house parties and small events.”

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His abilities started turning heads and in 2006 he was invited to play at The Ministry of Sound, a popular London club.

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“Playing at The Ministry of Sound gave me my first experience of how it feels like to be in control of a huge crowd and the energy from the crowd was just overwhelming.”

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Ray decided to come back home in 2009.

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“When I came back I had to start from scratch because I had left most of my stuff in the UK but eventually I managed to buy a laptop and started playing at house parties and small events.

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“During that time I was also designing flyers for DJ Rex but then we later on became a team and as we started penetrating the club scene our following began to grow with time.”

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The duo then teamed up with DJ Rawse to form one of the most sought after acts in Zimbabwe.

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“We have been resident DJs at clubs like Mekka, Sky Bar, H2O, Liquid Lounge, Lime and I can simply say we have played at almost all the major clubs in Harare and other cities as well. Currently we have a residency at 1+1 Happy where we are playing alongside Judgement Yard.”

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Ray Dizz is also a fashion designer specialising in Afro-urban wear under his 729 clothing line.

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“I used to work for Faith Wear as a designer but then I ended up starting my own fashion line which has been in existence for the past six years.”

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When he is not behind the decks, in the studio or designing clothes, Ray Dizz winds down by skateboarding.

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His manager Philip Chard says that they are targeting international markets and have already made contact with some players in South Africa’s entertainment sector.

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“For now we are targeting the African market and we decided to start with South Africa since it is the gateway of African entertainment. The music and videos we are pushing are for promotional purposes and they act like flyers advertising the Ray Dizz brand,” says Chard.