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DJ Diaries: Lonyo

“You wouldn’t wait until you had a crash to get car insurance, so why would you wait until you have an accident to get DJ insurance?”

This self-explanatory but astute observation was made by Insure4Music policyholder and legendary garage DJ Lonyo Engele, better known by his stage name Lonyo. His song ‘Summer of Love’ was a top 10 UK hit back in 2000 and he has been a regular in the London garage scene ever since.

In the first instalment of our DJ Diaries featurette, Lonyo talks about his career to date, his proudest achievements and exactly why he took out DJ insurance with Insure4Music.

DJ insurance
Credit: Alchetron

A typical day for me is….

I’ll get up, make breakfast and walk the dog. As far as the rest of the day goes, the early part of the week is reserved for my acting. I’ll be responding to my agent’s calls for auditions and read through some scripts for potential roles. I’m registered with an acting agency called IAG, who also represent John Boyega from Star Wars.

If it’s towards the end of the week, I’m preparing for whatever live performances I’ve got coming up. If I’ve got a gig, whether it’s a corporate gig or a club event, I’ll make sure I’ve got all the latest records for the genres I play.


Over the next few weeks, I am…

Playing at a monthly event called Throwback Party at Fu Manchu in London, which plays classic hip hop and R n’ B. I’m also performing at Hip Hop Brunch LDN, which has won loads of awards with the London Evening Standard.

On top of this, every month I collaborate with Manny Norte, who’s a big DJ on Capital XTRA. We’re doing a live show called Dirty 30s, which is aimed at people who are 30 or older.

I’ve just done a sold-out show at the o2 Arena with So Solid Crew. My diary has been full for the best part of 17 years – I’ve not stopped playing garage gigs. Month to month, I’ll probably do at least four live shows. Around the time ‘Summer of Love’ came out, I was doing around four a night. It was crazy.


After performing, I unwind by…

Going home, sitting in the car for about 20 minutes and listening to jazz. I’m parked right outside my house but don’t feel like moving – it’s great! Because a lot of my evenings are taken up with performing, I like to recoup some of my evening when I get home. My partner looks at me like I’m a nutcase because I’m walking round the house with a cup of tea and watching sport at three in the morning! It’s not the most rock n’ roll lifestyle, but I love nothing more than putting my feet up.


The thing I most enjoy about being a musician is…

I help to shape people’s lives and give them memories. I get people saying things like “We were travelling after university and we played Summer of Love” and “We were driving through America and played your songs”. Other people have said they listened to me to get through their exams or remember when they were in Ibiza and heard one of my tunes. I love hearing their stories and feel proud to have been a part of them.


My proudest achievement in music is…

There are two. Appearing on Top of the Pops was amazing – I know it sounds cheesy, but I grew up watching that show with the whole family, so it was a proud moment for me. The other moment would be appearing at the Leeds Love Parade in 2000 to 110,000 people – that was special. It was an honour to play in front of that many people, but the fact that they knew my songs and were singing along made it an incredible experience.

I would say those two moments stand out most, but I’ve been so lucky that music has given me so many memories and taken me to places that I never would have been.


I am most looking forward to…

DJ’ing at Bikini Beach Club in Cape Verde at the end of November. I’m going out there with a DJ called Phil Drummond. It’s summer in Cape Verde, so I’ll be playing at the beach parties, which I’m really looking forward to!


The place I most enjoyed performing in is…

Australia and Brazil were amazing, but I would have to say Sweden. It’s just unbelievable out there – I love it. I DJ’d with Trevor Nelson at a couple of MTV parties and the crowds were awesome. I would have to say Miami as well, but then most DJs would say that!


The best part of my day is…

Unequivocally, it’s waking up next to my nine-month-old daughter Isabel. A year ago, it might have been a different answer!


I am most thankful for…

My health, without a doubt. In 2016, I had a double organ transplant, so I’m grateful I came through it unscathed and I’m trying to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.


Five things I couldn’t live without…

1.       My family

2.       My dog

3.       My boxing skipping rope

4.       My Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder albums

5.       Porridge – I love a bit of porridge with bananas and peanut butter first thing in the morning!


I took out DJ insurance because…

Recently, due to my standing in the garage world, I’ve been booked to play at corporate gigs by the likes of the PFA (Professional Footballer’s Association) and the National Trust. These organisations said that, unless I had specialist insurance, I wasn’t allowed to play live on their premises. The more corporate gigs I got, the more my agent was telling me I had to get properly insured.

I’m glad I did it, because no matter what level you play at, whether it’s a corporate gig or a club event, there’s always the risk of something going wrong. It’s not worth taking the risk, especially if you’re being paid a lot of money to perform.


Having DJ insurance is like…

Having car insurance – you don’t get cover after you’ve had an accident, you try and protect yourself before getting to that. So why wouldn’t you do the same as a musician? It’s just a relief to know that I’ve got that cover now and can be put forward for any gig.


My experience with Insure4Music was…

So painless – my insurance was sorted out within 15 minutes and my certificate was emailed to me straight away. The whole process took half an hour tops. It was perfect!

I’ve told my pals who are DJs that, if they want insurance, you guys are who they should go to. It wasn’t complicated at all. I just wish everything insurance-related was this easy!


We couldn’t have put it better ourselves! If, like Lonyo, you play live and need specialist DJ insurance, get your instant online quote with Insure4Music today.

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