DJ CEO aka “the best dressed DJ PERIOD!” has been spinning records since 1997. He started DJ’ing as a hobby. However, he quickly realized the wheels of steel were his creative home. DJ CEO grew up around music; his father was the family and neighborhood DJ, playing music for local house parties while his uncle was a musician with his own live band.
DJ CEO has played at some of the top venues in New York City including The Gansevoort Hotel, BLVD, Room Service, Nikki Midtown, Gild Hall, Tribeca Grand and Stone Rose Lounge. He has also played for several notable events such as the Pre-NBA Draft Party, the Pre-MTV Video Music Award’s Client Party, SFK Fundraiser, Howard University’s Homecoming Alumni Yacht Affair and The Urban League Young Professionals of Virginia 10th Anniversary Gala.
DJ CEO has become synonymous with style and grace fostering a unique and unforgettable musical experience second to none on the New York party scene. Music is his energy and this energy transcends from today’s hits to timeless classics never disappointing his loyal following while capturing new admirers just the same.
Q&A DJ CEO
BS: What were your aspirations prior to your realization that being a DJ was your true calling?
DJ CEO: I wanted to play professional basketball. I played 4 years of varsity in High School and 1 Year in College. I then transferred to Howard University. Due to some red tape, I didn’t play there and after I turned my focus elsewhere and that was to producing television and film. I started my own production company in 2005 and we had some success, but I drew tired of what the networks were looking for and that was crappy programming. Simultaneously, my DJ career was picking up. So I dropped everything and followed my heart.
BS: What factors did you think of in which gave you the courage to devote all your time in DJ’ing? Were there any risks in choosing this profession?
DJ CEO: All I cared about was doing what I loved. Doing that gave me joy. I knew it would be difficult in the beginning but it would all pay off. In the beginning I wasn’t making a lot of money, my brand wasn’t clear and solid. So it was a struggle. The biggest risk was not making any money. But no risk no reward right? I’m the kind of person that isn’t afraid of much and don’t need much to encourage me to do anything. If I want something, I’m going to go get it no matter what the price is to be paid.
BS: People assume DJ’ing is just about spinning discs. What other elements and skill play a role in your profession?
DJ CEO: It’s always funny to me how confident people are in their ignorance when commenting on DJ’ing. Everybody can’t do this. For one, I think you should just be gifted. It is a calling. The great ones are called. You have to be able to read the crowd. In some parties you have to have good mic presence. You have to manage the time spent on certain sets like reggae, old school, hip hop, house. Knowledge of the crowd is the most important thing. Sometimes the only way you’ll learn your crowd is to play the music and see what they react to. And on top of all that you have to have a solid skill set. You need to know how to mix & blend. You have to know when to play the hot songs, where to bring them in. You have to understand tempo, beats per minute. There is a lot that goes into it. But the really good ones make it look simple and that’s because we’ve put in years of practice.
BS: How did you use your talent to create a business? Is it hard to generate clientele? What major factor plays a role in the success of your business?
DJ CEO: I used my talent to create a business by creating a brand. I learned that folks invest in brands not talent. Women don’t love Beyonce because of her talent but because of what she represents. What her brand is. They love her because she’s sexy & a diva. My business partner told me I’ll never make a million dollars being a DJ. I’ll make a million dollars being me. So my brand is very important. Being The Best Dressed DJ PERIOD is the brand of my business. Aside from being a great DJ people come to my events because they are going to see a very well dressed, cool cat do it.
It’s not hard to generate clientele. Once you do a great job, everything becomes word of mouth. But it does take time. It doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll generate fans faster than you will clientele. But that’s not bad either because you can turn those fans into dollars. Being consistent is the biggest factor in my success. They always know when they come to an event or party that DJ CEO is spinning they are going to see a well-dressed and smooth DJ and the music is going to be on point every time. No one can ever say that I didn’t do my job well and look good while doing it.
BS: DJ’s have played an important role in the entertainment industry. Do you believe your profession can be used as a tool to positively influence the youth within the Black Community?
DJ CEO: DJ’s can definitely be used to positively influence the youth within the black community. In fact it’s on my agenda. I want to use my image and popularity and influence to show the youth in our community that yes I don’t look like the stereotypical black guy from the hood that is supposedly hip hop but I’m very hip hop. Look back at Big Daddy Kane & Kool G Rap. They wore shark skinned Suits. Rakim too. But not only that, you don’t have to follow the crowd. You can make your own lane and people will accept you and respect you more because they know you aren’t fake.
BS: How important is the Black Community to you? What can we do to showcase its greatness and remove negative stigmas?
DJ CEO: The Black Community is very important to me because it’s my community. What goes on in it affects me. If something bad happens in the black community it’s like it happened to me personally. I just wished that Hip-Hop would do more to help out our communities. They need to be taught and encouraged; and right now they aren’t. Some of the things I hear and see in our neighborhoods are sad and I feel it is up to those of us who have been exposed to more and cultured to take our experiences and share with them.