From a teacher to house music DJ, Samrok is looking at leaving her mark in the industry

Janine ‘DJ Samrok’ Cresswell. Picture: Supplied

Janine ‘DJ Samrok’ Cresswell. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 14, 2024


Janine “DJ Samrok” Cresswell is a multi-talented artist who is determined to leave her mark on the house music scene.

Born and raised in Sydenham, DJ Samrok has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the world of house music, captivating audiences with her afro-house sounds.

From her roots in Durban to gracing stages in South Korea and Japan, her journey is one of passion, talent, and dedication to her craft.

Besides being a DJ, by day Samrok is an English teacher at an elementary school but, in time, she plans to make DJing a full-time career.

In an interview with Independent Media Lifestyle, she said her biggest influence was her dad, who was also a DJ.

“I grew up with a deep love for music. My journey began with influences ranging from ‘The Ministry of Sound’ albums to ‘Fresh House Flava’ compilations.

“My father, a former DJ, also played a pivotal role in shaping my musical prowess and instilling in me a genuine appreciation for the art form,” she said.

Janine ‘DJ Samrok’ Cresswell. Picture: Supplied

After attending Ridge Park College and studying Sport & Exercise Science at the University of the Western Cape, Samrok decided to explore other avenues and headed to Korea for what was initially meant to be a gap year of sorts.

She enjoyed the safety and ease of life in Korea which all came to a screeching halt during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With lockdown in full effect, she decided to use her time constructively and dived into the world of DJing as a respite from the uncertain and challenging times.

Her commitment and natural talent quickly propelled her to prominence, leading to notable performances alongside renowned artists of the likes of Mobi Dixon, Naak, and Mr Thela during their visits to Korea, showcasing her talent on international stages.

“The South African community in South Korea has been growing over the years and true to our culture we have an unmatched energy when we come together. To be a part of that was truly an indescribable feeling.

“Music has always been a part of my life, but joining the entertainment industry was never encouraged and out of fear of failure I never really invested time in pursuing it.

“When Covid-19 was at its peak I crossed paths with an American hip-hop DJ and he showed me the ropes. I took to it like a fish to water and used those skills and hours of YouTube tutorials to transition to house music and haven't looked back since,” said Samrok.

Janine ‘DJ Samrok’ Cresswell. Picture: Supplied

“So far most of my career takes place in South Korea. I've played at Gangnam, Apgujeong, and Itaewon. I've also had the opportunity to play in Tokyo, Japan, as well as in Bali.

“My friends and family are truly my biggest fans, whether it be in South Africa, the UK, or America. They join every live feed, listen to every mix I post, they even help me choose my outfits from time to time,” she added.

The multi-talented artist was recently featured in Pullup Horizons, a Korean online clubbers guide, as one of the top DJs in Korea for 2023. She is also very fortunate to be a regular feature on Seoul Community Radio, where she shares her talent.

She added: “One of the greatest challenges was finding someone to take a chance on me, a 35-year-old beginner, female afro-house DJ.

“I did not have the odds in my favour. But my unwavering love for music, and afro-house especially, kept me motivated. The ability to share a piece of home wherever I go brings me joy beyond words.

“Even though being ‘new’ to the game has its drawbacks, I am enjoying the journey and learning from the people I meet along the way.”

Samrok is currently looking at collaborating with some amazing South African DJs to host an afro-house festival in Korea.