Music is the Spice: An Interview with DJ Mickey D

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DJ Mickey D not too long ago spoke with Liam Sweeny of RadioRadioX.

While you consider a DJ, you may consider turntables and scratching, file skipping and beat tracks and all types of bending of time and house. However DJing, in its easy actuality, is offering a soundtrack for an expertise. We would assume that DJs play music tracks, and the great ones are gifted, however perhaps it’s extra to the purpose that DJs play the group itself.

DJ Mickey D

DJ Mickey D has a wealth of expertise taking part in totally different crowds, from “Rocking New 12 months’s Eve” with Ryan Seacrest to DJing for Mary J. Blige. And with a present known as “The Spice of Life”, he shares along with his crowd a particular little mixture of his personal.

RRX: In your web site, you speak about DJing by no means being a job, however a ardour. And also you’ve DJ’d for such individuals as Mary J. Blige and Jay Z. So, most individuals would see your resume as a dream come true. While you speak about it being your ardour, there may be additionally a job in there. How do you retain it a ardour when there may be a lot work concerned?

MD: I began DJing after I was 13. It gave me such self-confidence which I wanted as a result of I had low shallowness on account of being born with a cleft-lip and palette. I discovered that I used to be ready to hook up with individuals by means of music and make them smile. Through the years I’ve all the time volunteered to DJ for all types of worthy causes like Operation Smile fundraisers, Boys & Women Membership, the checklist goes on. I all the time make sure that to provide again and my present to provide is music. I feel that’s how I keep keen about music. It all the time offers me confidence like nothing else in my life, and I all the time make sure that to play gigs which can be altering the lives of others.  

RRX: While you open for a famous person, while you open for a Jay Z, it’s most likely not the identical as while you open up to your cousin Mark. There are, I think about, necessities, situations it’s important to navigate by means of that you simply wouldn’t on a smaller gig. And I’m not speaking state secrets and techniques; only a totally different stage. What may be some variations? 

MD: I created the chance to open for Jay Z as nicely turning into Mary J Blige’s tour DJ. That’s the primary and most important distinction. Jay Z was on his “American Gangster” tour and once we hit the Hammerstein in NYC the dream gig introduced itself. Funk Grasp Flex was opening the present and needed to go away early whereas Jay Z has been delayed and was coming in late. I approached the tour supervisor and instructed him that I used to be an superior DJ and wished to play.  It changed into an unbelievable 40-minute set of old-fashioned NYC hip hop in entrance of a sold-out crowd. It was an identical scenario with MJB. The entrance of home engineer was taking part in boring music on the prime of the present so I approached the tour supervisor and requested if I may DJ. I had researched Mary’s influences and put collectively a pattern playlist of what I might play. The subsequent day I auditioned in entrance of the tour supervisor in addition to Mary’s supervisor and the gig was mine. It’s essential to notice I didn’t receives a commission further to DJ and I nonetheless needed to carry out my stage-managing duties. However I knew the experiences can be superb and repay in the long term.

When creating these superb alternatives, it’s essential to remain humble and true to the duty at hand. Simply because you could have a large sound system to play on and hundreds of individuals to play for doesn’t imply that’s your alternative to develop into DJ primary and create an vitality that isn’t conducive to the opening acts or headliner taking the stage. My identify was not on the marquee or the flyer. My job was to play music that set the group up for the present to take them on their journey. 

If I may provide somebody one piece of recommendation to a DJ that finds themselves within the place of opening for an act of any caliber, don’t play their tracks throughout your set!

RRX: You’ve gotten a present, known as the “The Spice”. I noticed that you simply had Whoopi Goldberg on the present for the season two finale. And in addition, climatologist Ginger Zee. It’s a variety that speaks to a present known as the “The Spice”. Are you able to inform me just a little bit in regards to the present, the way it began? Who was an fascinating particular person you’ve had on that shocked you?

MD: When the pandemic started, and we went into lockdown I rapidly grew to become uninterested in livestreams. There was no connection between the performer and the viewers. And we wanted to hook up with each other. I began throwing Zoom dance events and that developed into the digital occasions firm Uru Connects with my companions Chris and Kerstin. My function is director of occasions so I started experimenting with totally different concepts for music centric digital occasions. That is when The Spice was born. A present the place buddies collect every month to inform tales and share reminiscences that remind us how important music is to our lives. The primary season was utterly digital. The second season was streamed reside from a non-public social membership in Brooklyn known as Membership Curious. This membership is a inventive house created by my buddy and the proprietor of the craft nonalcoholic beverage Curious Elixirs. Having the visitor in particular person with a small feast of buddies gave the present such superb vitality that I made a decision to take The Spice on the highway this summer time. First cease is Arlington, VA on 6/12 with Meghan McCain and Kyra Phillips. 

MD: Throughout my NYC DJ Sequence I had Catori from Bespoke Musik as visitor. Catori is an completed actress and musician who fell in love with DJing whereas working at The Increase Increase Room in NYC. Beneath the tutelage of my buddy DJ ObAH (Oldskool Beats and Harmonies) who was additionally part of the DJ collection (on the time of reserving I didn’t find out about this connection). I discovered that Catori has solely been DJing for 4 years and he or she was already taking part in huge occasions reminiscent of Burning Man in addition to headlining persistently in NYC, LA, and Miami. If I bear in mind appropriately, I instructed her she was a rocket ship.

RRX: There’s one thing about selection reveals, like what I really feel Spice of Life is, and proper me if I’m improper. It’s all within the sample. Like should you take a look at one thing up shut, it’s yellow and blue dots; step again, it’s inexperienced. So, should you step again from all various kinds of friends you’ve had on Spice of Life, what do you see?

MD: After I step again and take a look at the friends that I’ve had on The Spice the very first thing I see is family and friends. For the primary season that is literal the one individuals I may persuade to come back on my present had been family and friends. Now that I’m reserving extra well-known friends and the checklist grows longer (23 whole thus far!), I nonetheless see buddies, however extra so I see a complete spectrum of life views that may all be associated to music. And that’s the great thing about my present. Irrespective of social or financial standing, everybody has the tune that reminds them of their mom. Everybody who loves music can relate to each query of each present as a result of all of us have soundtracks to our lives. I can ask you what tune makes you smile the identical method I can ask everybody from a film star to the guitarist from a heavy steel band (shout out Joey Z LOA!). I point out smile as a result of I’m beginning an initiative by means of The Spice to lift funds for Operation Smile, a company that’s close to and expensive to my coronary heart.

RRX: “Rocking New 12 months’s Eve”, with Ryan Seacrest, I’ve to ask about that. One thing like that’s an intersection between an leisure occasion and a historic occasion. And as a DJ, you could have an enormous accountability for stoking the group in between segments. It’s excessive stress, I think about, but additionally excessive enjoyable. Any neat info about RNYE?

MD: Each New 12 months’s Eve for the previous 9 years I’ve labored as Ryan Seacrest’s audio handler. I run by means of Occasions Sq. with Group Ryan all evening ensuring he sounds good, can hear what he wants to listen to, in addition to managing communications for the others in our group. I’ve all the time mentioned you can by no means get me to go to Occasions Sq. on New 12 months’s Eve until you paid me. Watch out what you want for. It may be a grueling gig with the infinite rehearsals and horrible climate (just a few years in the past it was the coldest New 12 months’s Eve in 100 years, that sucked). However irrespective of the challenges, the vitality of the present is all the time superb and Ryan is superior to work with. He actually units the bar for vitality and professionalism and when it’s chilly and moist, he’s struggling the identical as his crew. However he all the time pushes by means of with a smile and so can we as a result of like they are saying, the present should go on.

RRX: You do lots of occasions and play in lots of locations. You’re continually being put into new conditions and having to adapt. So, in case you have a alternative between an enormous, large present or competition, or a small, intimate gathering, is it a straightforward alternative on its face, or does it rely upon who’s there? Do you could have a ‘candy spot’ for locations to carry out?

MD: For me right now in my life it’s not in regards to the measurement of the group or the venue. It’s all about whether or not or not I can play the music I need to play. My father handed final 12 months from most cancers and this was a really troublesome and transformative interval in my life. My dad was a DJ additionally and although he moved to South Carolina after I was 12 and we didn’t have the closest relationship, we all the time had music and DJing. So many instances he can be at a marriage and hit me up for music to play. We couldn’t discuss sports activities, however we actually may discuss music. When he died, I believed in regards to the quantity of hysteria I’m going by means of when making ready for gigs reminiscent of weddings and company occasions, the panic assaults on the best way to the present, and I spotted I used to be having these issues as a result of I wasn’t staying true to myself. I used to be persevering with to endure ache as a result of the cash was nice. To not say I didn’t get pleasure from these gigs; I all the time rocked the get together and have solely 5 star evaluations. However after I determined to get actual with myself and cease taking gigs due to the cash, so many superb alternatives opened up for me. Now I’m a Love Prophet with Dr. Jah & The Love Prophets in addition to the DJ and coloration commentator for an MMA promotion in Rockland County. I don’t make practically what I did earlier than however I don’t care. I’ve a lot enjoyable and solely play music that I really like.

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