MEET THE DJ: DJ SKILLZ
- DJ Skillz is a name that already explains itself, so where did your name originate from exactly?
I was mainly known for playing sports growing up until high school and when I started dee-jaying I called myself DJ B. One of my friends insisted that the name was whack and that I needed a name to describe me and what I was capable of doing on the turntables; so we came up with DJ Skillz.
- How long have you been dee-jaying?
A little over 15 Years
- What do you like most about your profession?
The fact that I can be me and put people in a happy place all thru music, no matter what they are going through.
- In the past 5 years, it seems so easy for people to classify themselves as a DJ. Do you think people are doing it for the money or for the love of dee-jaying?
I think now, a lot of DJ’s are getting into it for the money and attention rather than doing it for love and letting the money and attention come.
- Dee-jaying is so competitive today, how have you succeeded in a field where so many others have failed?
There are a few things that contribute to my success: When I started dee-jaying I was exposed to a lot in the industry and how things work. I already had a love for music but by me being hands on as a DJ, I developed a passion for my craft that still carries till this day. Also during those early years, I was taught to be able to do it all: mix-tapes, radio, clubs, be versatile & be able to play for all demographics and any race. Having that solid foundation instilled in me early on definitely plays a major role in my success.
Then comes the performance and delivery side. Whenever I play, I try to make sure I give people the experience of a lifetime by taking them on a musical journey and playing records in a way that they’ve never heard them played before, or by playing rare songs that I know party goers know but normally don’t here other DJ’s play. I always say “It’s never what you play but it’s how you play it.” With all of those things combined, it has contributed to my success and has put me in the situations that I needed to be in to succeed and stay ahead of the curve.
6. You have worked with some very high end and some big celebrities in the game such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu and Nelly just to name a few. What was it like to work with them?
Each experience was different in its on way, but still great and memorable at the same time. I would have to say working with Kanye West stands out the most because when we connected it was at a time when no-one really knew who Kanye was, and he was being introduced to the world as an artist and had the industry in a frenzy: a little different from the Kanye y’all know today (Laughs). But during those years and beyond, Kanye would always show his appreciation to me for being there when it was needed whether it was me doing the College Drop-Out Platinum Parties, Concert After-Parties, mix-tapes, etc. I will say this, it’s always a blessing when you can get called to DJ or do work with any big name celebrity or entertainer, at any time.
- Okay! So think back to every event you have ever done from start to now, which one was your favorite and why?
Out of all my events, I would say me playing in front of 60K people before Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick performed last year at the Georgia Dome, is at the top of the list. To hear that many people screaming at the top of their lungs and going crazy to what you’re doing as a DJ is an experience within itself. I still play that moment back in my head until this day. Also, for The World’s Greatest Entertainer to tell you he was watching your entire set from his dressing room and say “Skillz You Kilt The Georgia Dome and that he felt the floor shaking:” A response of that magnitude from Doug E. Fresh is Priceless.
- Along with having a hectic dee-jaying schedule, you are Rapper Big Pooh’s official tour DJ. How do you balance your time?
It kind of goes back to what I mentioned earlier. I was taught to be a versatile DJ and to be able do it all. So, it’s not as hard for me to balance as people would think. Also, Pooh knows my demand level on the party scene is pretty strong so we make sure our communication is on point when it comes to my dates and his. So we make it work.
- How did you first meet Rapper Big Pooh?
I met Pooh when Little Brother first formed as a group around 2001. I was apart of a DJ crew called the Coaliton at the time, and the place where we use to practice and meet was one of Little Brother’s hangout spots and it was also a place where 9th Wonder would be at on a regular basis playing beats. From there, they would come to the college parties we were doing throughout the Raleigh/Durham area and host while we dee-jayed. This was during a time when nobody knew who Little Brother or The Hall Of Justus Crew was. Moving forward, LB started to blow and around the same time I started to DJ for RnB singer and then Roc-A-Fella Recording artist Rell (Love For Free/ No Better Love). Me and Pooh stayed in contact thru the years; even after I moved to Atlanta to work under Kenny Burns Studio 43 imprint with artist Timothy Bloom: And when Pooh started to do more of his solo thing he reached out: and 6 years later here we are with everything still in tact.
- Who are you looking forward to working with in the future?
I would love to do an event with Stevie Wonder. He’s the last person on my bucket list that I haven’t played for or worked with yet.
- What projects could we be looking for in the next couple of months from you?
I have a project that I am releasing with Rell this fall, titled “The Lost Files”, which is a collective of his music that no-one has ever heard while he was signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. Also, I’m working on project with Southern Songstress, Ne’Sha that’ll be out early winter. Also, be on the look out for Singer/Song Writer Steve Roxx as well.
- What is one industry advice you would give to someone who is breaking into the music industry?
This is an industry surrounded by a lot of NO’s and This Won’t Work scenarios but as long as you apply Hard Work, Dedication, Quality, Consistency, & Faith into what ever it is you’re doing. Something will eventually break through. All it takes is ONE Yes, Just make sure you’re prepared when you get that YES.
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