Making the stage his playground
By day, Jasper Thomas, 19, leads the normal life of a teenager. But at night, he becomes DJ Ovadose, one of the region’s hottest and most in-demand deejays, spinning at some of the biggest parties.
He has played in multiple cities across the United States, Caribbean and London; and for the 2020 carnival season alone, DJ Ovadose has shut down parties in Trinidad and has his eyes set on Jamaica’s carnival next month and Bahamas Carnival, May 1-3.
His ability to offer something different in the industry is what makes this young DJ a driving force.
“What separates me from every other DJ is playing the things that people wouldn’t expect at a party,” said Ovadose.
He isn’t one of those DJs that sticks behind the turntables. He makes the stage his playground, getting his audience involved from start to finish.
Ovadose said he makes a point to carry himself differently, which is also a credit to his popularity. And he’s all about showing the world that there are young, fresh, talented Bahamians who have the ability to take the world by storm if given the opportunity.
“Not trying to be boastful or vain, nor conceited – just confident. I may not be the best DJ in the country skillfully, but the way I carry myself with confidence comes across as the best. From the way I dress, the way I sound, the way I present myself, those are key things that I believe firmly in executing as a brand.”
His brand is well-established amongst his peers and the young adult set. He said it’s a known fact that many teens aren’t allowed to go to events unless their parents see his name on the flyer.
“There’s a standard that’s been set,” said the DJ. “If it isn’t up to Ovadose’s standard then it doesn’t make sense coming out. If I don’t give a full performance on stage, it doesn’t make sense coming out. But what I enjoy most is the ability to hail every single person in the event as soon as I come off stage. I like being able to reach people on a personal level.”
The teenager does not take his popularity for granted.
“I realize that all of this can be taken away at any given moment. Anybody can be in my spot and have the opportunities that I have. I’m blessed,” he said.
He also admits that his young life can sometimes be overwhelming with the amount of traveling he does, and meeting, especially when he meets people that he himself looks up to.
Ovadose credits Trinidadian soca DJ International Stephen as the driving force behind his deejay career.
“Before I started doing Carnival events for the past three years, I was doing Survival Weekend by Alpha Sounds – International Stephen saw me and decided to take me under his wings on the road, and introduced me to people. He went and spoke with my parents [Ian and Manpreet Thomas], and it was on from there.”
Six years ago, Ovadose told The Nassau Guardian that the “road” to him becoming one of the country’s hottest teen deejays began with him just being a fan of music and surrounding himself with it so much so that in 2011 an uncle introduced him to online software that he began to “fool around with”.
“I got money for Christmas when I was in sixth grade and my dad allowed me to purchase a mixer. The summer of 2012, I started my own online radio platform, giving me the avenue for bookings.”
He is self-taught, but has “soaked up” the tips given to him by people over the years as he learnt to deejay and develop his brand.
“As much as I always go out and network, I always have that foundation.”
He also credits his parents with supporting his endeavor, even as a pre-teen when he discovered the art of deejaying.
“They (parents) were always very motivating and backing me, investing in every decision I made,” he said.
His older brother, Jefferson, gets credit for his moniker; he said he noticed that every time Ovadose played, there was an overdose of music and vibes that was unmatched.
The teenage deejay encourages all young Bahamians with an interest in the arts and entertainment, and who may be battling with whether they should follow their passion or a traditional career path, to realize that it’s about doing something they don’t mind waking up to every day.
“As cliché as it sounds, I’d definitely say keep dreaming. Dreams do come true. At the end of the day things may not go the way you want it to go, but that’s life. It’s not always going to be roses. But what you believe in and what you want is what you should go out there and get. You’ve also got to work for it. Faith without work is dead,” he said.
When he’s not on the turntables, DJ Ovadose is in the recording studio or producing. He’s featured on Leon’s single “On My Mind”.
Looking to the future, Ovadose is looking forward to working with artists and entertainers he’s admired over the years. In addition, he’s looking to develop his own brand with signature events.
In fact, he is looking to shut down the final day of Bahamas Carnival with his party “Soca Ovadose” on Sunday, May 3, if Bahamas Carnival isn’t canceled due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
“It’s the last day of Bahamas Carnival [and] I want people to understand that while it is the last day, Carnival doesn’t have to end. There’s going to be a lot of soca,” said Ovadose.
The event, which he bills as “bright-colored”, starts at 9 p.m. and goes into the wee hours of the morning.
“I want everyone to come out in bright colors and really just have a good time. I have a lot of international friends coming in for it so I want us to show them how we do things here.”
If he wasn’t deejaying at this point in life, Ovadose said he would probably have been playing college basketball.