TBWM : So , one could say you didn ' t have much of a childhood when you got to the UK , or did you ?
China : Yes , I can definitively say that . I did have a stepdad , but we were not close . I felt alone most of the time . It wasn ’ t like in Sierra Leone where a family member was near to lend support ; in London , you are alone . Luckily for me , as a child growing up with my mom , she instilled God in me , so God was who I had . I share with individuals that I do not know if I would be alive today if I did not have God . I also believe I had a sound foundation before age 13 , which helped me weather the storm .
I believe the years leading up to becoming a teenager are a pivotal phase in our development . What we learn or how we learn to cope during this time usually sets the foundation for a solid or dysfunctional journey as we grow . And I had that solid foundation growing up in Sierra Leone , even though my mom traveled often . I found myself living with different relatives , and this has helped me today in how I run my agency as I learned how to deal with different personalities and different people .
TBWM : You are in a position now to look back and assess that period in your life . You mentioned the solid foundation that you now appreciate . Looking back , how did it all make you feel ? The absence of your mom , the illness , becoming responsible at such a young age , etc . Did you have time to think about your feelings , was there a self-identity issue that you had to deal with as an adult ?
China : I think I struggled even though I did not realise it at the time . And relocating to London was just as bad , simply because I was completely on my own . I was looking forward to joining my mom , but the reality was having to deal with an unexpected mental health situation . So yes , it was a lot to deal with , but now I say I am a blessed woman . I don ’ t have a child , not because I do not want one , but because of what I went through . A lot of the choices I make are because of my experiences , probably also a bit of fear , but I refuse to settle for or accept just anything . My experiences have allowed me to make better choices . I want to have a healthy life without compromise . I also believe my relationship with God has allowed me to heal the hurt of the past , and I am big on personal development so , I work on myself . I want to eliminate any possibility of dysfunction because of my past experiences . If we do not take the time to know and understand the how or why of what we have been through , we will stay stuck and perhaps make harmful decisions . I have been in horrible relationships , but through investing time in myself , to heal myself , I am now in a position to pick , choose and refuse the things that are good for me , as the case may be .
TBWM : So how did this whole matter of becoming a Deejay come about . What was the inspiration ?
China : I ' ve always wanted to be an actress growing up , I loved dancing and singing and so becoming a Deejay was never something I thought about — who does anyway ? The thought was always towards a career that people could see the money * laughter *. I remember a friend of mine called me to share her plans for her birthday party and that she wanted a deejay , and I jokingly said , " I will ". Anyway , she had the birthday party , but I realised she looked unhappy and asked her what was wrong . She replied , “ nobody ' s dancing ”. I immediately went to the booth and said to the guy there , “ I know big tune , show me what to do ”. He showed me , and I took over , and everyone literally started dancing , I could not believe it , and the rest is history , as they say .
I realized how immersed I got into the vibe that night , and with everyone complimenting me afterward , subconsciously , I knew I was on to something . When I got home , I said to my mom , I am going to be a DJ . That was in the year 2000 . The next day I found myself at a shop in London that sold second-hand equipment and all that I needed to get me going . Next , I went to my local youth center and proposed a youth night with me playing music , and having them dance . They agreed , and that is how I got started with the ‘ Chill Out Spot ’. And from there , I started volunteering in other Youth centers , and I even had my own night at the Baptist church I attended .
This discovery was heaven-sent for me at a time when I believe God knew I needed a distraction from what was happening in my home and my life . And because I stammered so badly , I finally found something where I did not have to speak . All I needed to do was play music . It was an OMG ! moment for me . After that , I started my first enterprise called ' Raw Talent ', and I discovered my purpose in life — to help people . So , my goal was to help those under 18 , who had talent but lacked confidence . I organised a talent night and got funded by The Prince ' s Trust . I had volunteers and paid workers to help with organising the young talents and