Please describe your relationship to music and why it is important to you?
“Like most people involved in music, I started at a very young age. I wanted to be a DJ since I was about 5 or 6 after seeing LL Cool J’s DJ on Nickelodeon’s All That. Music has connected me to many people throughout the entire world because of how universal it is.”
Have you met any influential artists or members of the music industry that have impacted your life?
“Being from NYC and starting in the music industry at a very young age I have been very fortunate to see the DJ/Radio Industry firsthand. I have met some of the most important people in the music industry — some that I am lucky enough to call my friends. Being at Hot 97 on Fridays when all the record promoters are in the studio has taught me an incredible amount about the business. It has made me appreciate the artist and the song itself. It’s the reason I use the word “record” when referring to a certain song.”
When do you most often listen to music?
“I listen to music every day of the week. This includes listening to the radio mostly so I can keep up with what’s going on in the world of pop culture. When I’m walking around the city or at the gym I am listening to the radio as well, but listening for pleasure. Other than that, I’m listening to figure out how I can incorporate it in my work.”
Do you find playing music for audiences is more fulfilling to you or listening solitarily?
“Playing music for audiences is the reason why I do my job. However, I enjoy listening to music solitary to gather ideas. Most of my ideas come from listening to a creative piece involving music.”
Do you think being a DJ is an intimate and a source of connection to audiences?
“Absolutely. Mostly because of my crowd interaction, talking on the mic allows me to really feel the vibe of the audience.”
How has your work as a DJ and artist changed the way you view music?
“As mentioned before, it’s changed every aspect of how I view music. I view it as a business. I still enjoy music but it is mostly a product that we’re trying to sell to the consumer. There are many records I don’t like but continue to play just because of their potential to be big. That’s how the industry has molded me. It’s not about what I like.”
How often do you find listening to music and where?
“I basically listen to music from the minute I wake up until I fall asleep, that’s a benefit of doing this full time. I mostly listen when I’m in my studio.”
What piece of technology do you most often use to access music?
“I get my music delivered from the label to my email — so I access mostly from my computer, but my old FM radio as well — believe it or not. I also have access to many digital delivery systems where the record companies put music up for me to download and listen.”
What is your favorite source of music to listen to (Spotify, Pandora, iTunes) and why?
“The radio is still my favorite way of listening to music. To keep my knowledge up to par I listen to many specialty shows where they’ll either play new music for 30 minutes or do an hour straight of throwbacks. ”
Do you listen to different music by yourself vs. if you were in a group or live?
“When I’m by myself I pretty much listen to what I need to have in my DJ sets. If I’m out with people I’ll listen to anything. However I try to persuade people to go to places that have a DJ.”
Do you prefer to listen alone, in a group, or live performance and why?
“It depends on the situation but mostly alone so I can study the music. Then when I’m in conversation with people in the industry I can really show I know what I’m talking about. But I also like listening with a group of people to get their opinions. Music is like psychology — you really need to understand how people think to communicate more efficiently with your audience.”
Do you find that a particular of listening is more authentic than one another?
“Everyone can listen to music and hear their favorite song. I learned in radio it’s about listening critically and logically to really understand what is going on in the music.”
-as told to Alexandria