Making a living from creativity – The Mr. Dei story

Making a living from creativity – The Mr. Dei story

Just like many, David Dei-Awuku completed university and was not sure of what to do for a living; one thing he was certain of was that a job tapping his creative instinct and witty character would make him a fulfilled man.

His creative journey started at Ashesi University. During his four year stay, he was the go-to MC for most campus events. This was after he excelled as the stand-alone MC for Floetry Night – A bi-weekly talent show created by fellow classmates, Edem Dotse and Emmanuel Nkansah. The show also launched his brief rap career that saw him create six different songs that are still on Soundcloud to this day. He chose the name Mr. Dei because it was simple and represented the perfect persona for all of his creative exploits.

Right after his Ashesi Graduation in 2013, Mr. Dei became a Service Delivery Officer at Sproxil Ghana Limited, a consumer verification service firm. After Sproxil, he landed what he described as his first fulfilling job at broadcasting firm, Starr FM.

“It was a job opening I saw on the Ashesi’s Career Services Page as Production Assistant for their morning show, I sent my application and was called by Kafui Dey. I was shocked when Kafui called me for the interview. I was really happy to speak to him as he’d always been someone I look up to.

I came for the interview and got the job. For many people who knew me, working at Starr was a match made in heaven because it was an opportunity to do the things I loved best, as a full-time job. I owe a lot of learnings, contacts and opportunities I have today to my time at Starr FM” Mr. Dei told the B&FT in an exclusive interview.

Life at Starr fm  

A typical day at Starr FM started from 6am -10am on the Morning Starr with the first host, Kafui Dey. Wanting to learn more about radio production and broadcasting, he approached his boss for extra duties which this landed him on the mid-morning show, The Zone, hosted by Naa Ashorkor.

Two and a half years later, he rose through the ranks to become lead producer and was assigned to entertainment production which took him away from Morning Starr. Leading the production team for The Zone and Starr Drive, Mr. Dei worked with industry giants such Anita Erskine, Giovani Elolo Caleb, Berla Mundi, Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD), DJ Mono and DJ Vyrusky. During this time, he was also the Entertainment News Anchor.

While working at Starr FM, he pursued a three-year LLB Degree Course from MountCrest University. After working at Starr for four years, he resigned and moved on to pursue another degree. This time, a Masters in International Business from University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) of which he completed in 2020.

Life at EchoHouse

In September 2019, Mr. Dei joined creative marketing agency, Echohouse. He started as an Account Manager for the Mass Marketing below the line department working with brands like Ideal Milk, Maggi cube, NIDO, Jägermeister among others. As at now, He is a Creative Lead at the firm’s digital marketing department, leading all creative thinking and strategy for clients such as Access Bank, Perk Biscuits, Jamaa Soap, Fortune Rice and ABC Beer.


After being the default MC during his stay on Ashesi campus, Mr. Dei put aside the microphone after he graduated in 2013. For four years, MCing was just a hobby for close friends. But after his wedding in 2017, Mr. Dei pondered over a ‘side hustle’ that can combine his passion and serve as another stream of income. He got this realization after reading American bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. “For me, I needed to put what I had read into practice,” he mentioned.

For him, fulfillment was when one could find their passion and profession in the same job.  Public speaking came top of mind and he started making arrangements to launch himself into the events industry as a Master of Ceremonies. He chose ‘Professionalism’ as his brand identity with ‘Book A True Professional MC’ as his tagline.

“I decided to approach MCing as though it were a corporate job. I started putting in minute details as to how I run my MCing business. I have a structured way of engaging clients, a structured way I do my videos, the timing I post the videos, and everything is planned. I hold myself to a high level of professionalism internally and this spills over to service delivery with my clientele,” Mr. Dei said.

To date, Mr. Dei has emceed close to 300 events including weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, baby christenings and many others. He also runs a Public Speaking Masterclass dubbed Mr. Dei – Masterclass to teach and give back the experience he has gained to develop and groom more professional MCs for the market.

Friday PunDay   

For those that know him well, Mr. Dei has always used his wit and creativity in his interactions. It therefore came as no surprise when he started ‘Friday Punday’ – a bi-weekly show for Bad Jokes on Instagram and Twitter. “I have always liked bad jokes and I used to make fun with it back at Presec-Legon. I have always wanted to make a show out of something very fun and relatable; when I realized that I could make that out of bad jokes, that was it for me,” he told the B&FT.

During the partial lockdown meant to fight the spread of COVID-19, boredom set in, and for Mr. Dei it presented an opportunity to try out ideas that, prior to this period, only existed in his mind. The trial episode was with his wife, he recorded a three-minute video which showed her reacting to bad jokes that he gave. The video was a huge hit. Hitting 33,000 views on twitter alone, it was clear that Friday PunDay was the next big thing.

“I put up three bad jokes and follow each of them up with a simple meme; that’s it; that’s the whole concept for Friday Punday,” he explained. The show has become the most anticipated on both Twitter and Instagram.

Currently, Friday Punday has the regular edition hosted by Mr. Dei, the People’s Edition – where viewers send in videos of them giving their own bad jokes and the Corporate Edition – where staff in various corporate entities also share bad jokes to the world. The show has also featured viewers from USA, UK and Canada. Within one and half years, Mr. Dei sold over 120 Friday Punday Branded T-Shirts to fans in Ghana and beyond.

Parents & Background

Mr. Dei stated that he grew up timid. “My parents see me today and I believe sometimes they get amazed.” He was always one to shy away from conversation and would not dare speak in public.

However, the confidence he would develop growing up came primarily from his father, a Retired Reverend Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and Communications Professor. “Growing up, my father never told me anything that will break my confidence. Even when I was wrong, he never addressed it negatively. Because of this, I’m always the most confident person in the room. He made me believe that anything and everything is possible.”

Speaking about his mother’s influence on his personality, Mr. Dei also mentioned that he gets his humility and diligence from her.

“My mum rose to become a Chief Director in the Civil Service but continued to be down-to-earth and approachable to anybody regardless of class. She is also a very hardworking woman,” Mr. Dei added.  He explained that, in his adult life, many people express similar sentiments and are stunned at the time he devotes to getting issues solved and events planned; he looks back and realizes that his confidence, devotion and humility are principles that both parents have passed on to him. “My parents thought me a simple lesson; life is how you make it,” he said.

He also mentioned the critical role his two brothers have played in supporting him in bringing his ideas to life. He added that they have been a constant source of counsel and support throughout his life.


On his first day at Ashesi University, Mr. Dei met Nana Adjoa, the woman who would become his wife eight years later. “We met on the first day of school, she was the first person to arrive at the Bootcamp and I was the second. We started a conversation and that set things in motion. We’ve been married for four years and are blessed with two wonderful boys: Jesse and Joel.”

He mentioned that marrying his wife was the best decision he’s made to date. “If you were to take Nana Adjoa out of the equation, I don’t think we would be having this conversation today.” He noted that, even though he had plans for MCing, creating an MCing masterclass programme and coming up with a comedy show (Friday PunDay), his ideas came to fruition because of his wife who is always pushing him to do more.

“My wife is always asking me what’s next? What’s your next move? How are you going to expand on what you’ve already done?” He stated. He also added that Nana Adjoa compliments him so well that she manages the finances of the MC business. She engages his clients before any deal is reached, due to her natural aptitude for negotiations. He also spoke highly about his in-laws. “Her family has been my family from the first day we met. I could not have wished for any better family to marry into and I am always grateful for their love, advice and support. They are my second family.”


Mr. Dei mentioned Jerry Adjorlolo as his biggest mentor when it comes to Public Speaking, “I just love his smoothness and the way he handles his events. He may not know this, but I’ve picked one or two skills from him since I started,” he said smiling.

Mr Dei also named broadcasters Anita Erskine and Naa Ashorkor as other public speaking mentors for him. “Anita Erskine taught me that the MC should never steal the show at the expense of the couple at a wedding. She emphasized that it was important to always put the spotlight on the couple or the celebrant.”

He also learnt to create his own “broadcast tone” from watching Naa Ashorkor present her radio shows back when he was her producer on Starr FM. He added that, one can be inspired by many but should still create their own style and find their niche in the industry.


After MCing for four years, Mr. Dei received his first nomination and award in 2021. “When the nomination came through and I put out the flier to solicit votes, I was startled. I was overwhelmed by the immense support that came through for me,” he said.

He won the prestigious Creative MC of the Year Award at the Africa Creative Awards Festival 2021. The Africa Creative Awards Festival is an event organized by Global Ovations, producers of the Global Fashion Week, and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Kigali. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Dei dedicated his first-ever award to all creatives who were yet to be recognized for their works. He added, “Your time is coming.”

Advice to the youth

When asked about advice to young people, he said: “Be consistent. Whatever you do, work had at it. Don’t give up. Its only had work that would get you a comfortable future. Take inspiration from people to do even more than them but never envy.” He added that a lot of sacrifice and learnings were necessary in your 20s in order to reap the benefits for the rest of your life.

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