Third in Ilovecarnivall’s UK promotional teams series is the Dame Du Show team. If I want to hear guaranteed soca, zouk, kompas, bouyon, afrobeats, dancehall, house, R’N’B all at the same event, I will head to a Dame Du Show event. That’s a no brainer. However, the Dame Du Show promotional team is still a bit of a mystery to me. I know there are some French connections in the team and have experience of regularly putting events on in two different cultures. Got lots of love for Anoko. But I can’t say that I have good working knowledge of the team. I sat down with Anoko and spoke to Anusha before their 7th year anniversary event to find out more about their brand.
How did Dame Du Show come about? Well it’s four women from different backgrounds. Cinderella the DJ and Anushka are sisters. They are Sri Lankan and Australian and grew up all over the world including Belgium. I am half African, half Russian; Nadia is Moroccan and lived in France. We all had something in common and that is music. I went to university with Cinderella and went to boarding school with Nadia. So I have known them for a long time. When we all ended up London, we realised we had to go to different places to hear the different types of music we liked. We have the French Caribbean side, most of my friends speak from the French Caribbean or Africa. So, there is the Zouk and Bouyon and we could not find that. We decided we have a DJ, let’s just start something and see how it goes. And we are fortunate that we are friends with one of the top DJs in France and the French Caribbean, DJ Jairo. The name Dame Du Show was a joke between myself and Nadia. It has two meanings; the literal meaning is ‘lady of the night entertainment’ but there is French meaning or saying ‘just get on with it’. We used to say it all the time. And people used to call us that. And we grew out of that. Dame Du Show has been running for seven years. At the beginning, we were more well known in the French Caribbean society because they had the same feeling that we had.
Do your team members have very specific roles? Yes. The planning we do together but getting the venue and speaking to the management would be me. I am also the most active on social media so that is also my role. Then Anushka looks at the themes, give aways, decorations. Cinderella does the promo and PR because she is on radio. We have one guy DJ Alitwist. He is a designer, does all our visuals and flyers. The line-up, the majority wins and I have the passing vote. But I have never had to enforce it.
How many times a year do you have events? Four to five times in the UK and three in France. We don’t do anymore because we want to keep the quality. I don’t want people to get bored. People get bored easily and it loses its oomph if it is too often.
Do you always have your own DJs? We have two in house DJs; Alitwist and Cinderella are our resident DJs and they will rotate. Then we might have DJ Jairo from Paris and we always try to get a local DJ from London.
Who is your target audience? Our audience is more open minded people with a Caribbean and African flavour, from 25-55 so quite varied. They like the diversity of the music. We always say that it is one of the most eclectic nights in London. People always say you should play or do more of this and that you would be much bigger. But we all have 9-5 jobs, we’re career women but we like entertainment. I rather have the quality.
What is premium entertainment for Dame Du Show? For me it is caring about your customers. We have been around for so many years. So, for example in June, I may know whose birthday it is, get them a table, personalised cake. I look after them. Our tables are free. I would like them to come here and enjoy themselves. The customer care, attention to detail. I know we can afford to do that because we do not have thousands of people but even if we had, our can focus on certain people as they have been returning our events for so many years. You can contact any of the team and we will do our best to make sure you have a good time. Anusha: At Dame, Du Show, we feel we have an obligation to make sure that all who attend our event has a good time because they have chosen to spend their money with us. London is a big city, there are many events and the fact that you chose us? We appreciate it. Hospitality is at the core of what we do. We want it to feel like a glorified house party. It starts from the door. We greet you well and give you a giveaway. We ensure you have a good time.
What do you look for in a good venue for your event? We look at the location, the décor, depending on the DJ and time of the year, the size. But always the vibe. We fight hard to stay in the city as we are women and we always think of security. Then we think of whether we can work with the management. The urban music always has a bad reputation for some reason. We must sometimes say and show there will be no concerns.
Your team is the one of the few if not only all female promotional team in London. Has it been difficult? Absolutely, I am not going to lie. It is the way that the world is. They think ‘Is she serious about this, will she have a boyfriend and children and forget about the business’. A lot of people have said, if you were a man, you would be much bigger. I’m not going to put a man in front of the organisation just to sell tickets. I rather take the long way.
Have you find there to be any competition between promotional teams? We’ve had that but again we are different and most people underestimate us. There are some promotional companies, I may ask for their dates in advance as I don’t want to clash or come across as disrespectful. But we have different aims, different types of music so we have a different target audience. We do well.
Dame Du Show has been going for 7 years. How do you keep it fresh? Our team is very innovative, we try to see what is out there what is new. And because we are so close to our customers, we listen. We always want feedback. We normally have about 300-400 but as humans. There are always clicks. So, for example, if there are 9 tables of 10 people, I communicate with at least 1 and they talk to the rest of the crew.
What is differences between promoting in the UK and promoting in France? It’s very different. For example, in France certain DJs you book, they will easily bring you 700 people who will come to hear them play. In France, the numbers at our events are bigger especially in Paris. In the UK, it is not the same. People do not follow the DJs in the UK. DJ Private Ryan is probably one of the very few in the Caribbean who may pull out a massive crowd. Also in the UK people are very clickish. It’s like ‘oh I am going to go there because I know the people’. French people are more adventurous and willing to come out of their comfort zone and go somewhere different. The French crowd are also very demanding. The French Caribbean listen to music in different languages and are more open to other things and demand more of their events and Ds. Whereas if you are from an English-speaking country, you understand everything so you may not make much of an effort. You have to be very adventurous as an English-speaking person to want to listen to zouk or reggaetón.
How do you know that a Dame Du Show is successful? When they do not want to leave. When the light comes on and they look at me like ‘really’. And then security gets upset with us and says you need to get them out’ when the music stopped 20 minutes ago. They won’t leave. And they beg the DJs for one more song. That’s when I know.
What is the future for Dame Du Show? I think more collaborations because I think we are a link between so many cultures. A lot of the French crowd would like to attend our events in London so maybe we will arrange travel. There is a lot we are planning.
Foremost on the minds of the Dame Du Show team is hospitality and giving the fete attendee the best service ensuring they have a great time; from the choice of a venue to the warm personable welcome at the door to a varied mix of music by the DJs. As Anusha stated, they want the feel to be that of a house party. They cater to their customers, providing a musical home for those who probably don’t hear so much of their music when they come to the UK and want that cultural connection; this is at the core of Dame Du Show.
My admiration and respect for the Dame Du Show Promotion Team has doubled after this interview. This female team have become successful in a predominately male industry in two different cultures no less, quietly yet powerfully doing their thing. And who have remained so humble. With the little personal touches, DJs Cinderella and Alitwist on decks, drawing from various cultures and the focus on first class customer service, the Dame Du show events are always quality. Really really looking forward to their next event.