We're back with an all new edition of Humans of Creativity with DJ Dollar. Dollar has put his entire heart into the art of DJing. You can clearly see this with the way he presents himself as well as how open he is to give advice to DJ's who are just beginning to learn the craft. Through this conversation, we're able to learn more about his journey into the world of DJing.
1. Who is DJ Dollar?
I was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa into a family of entrepreneurs who listened to good music and taught me how to live life simple and just and do business in an honorable way.
2. Have you always been musical as a child? Or did that evolve as you got older?
I played the flute in middle school and was pretty good at it but that was it. I am never trying to be a trumpeter again. A lot of people think being musically inclined means you need to play an instrument. I can agree that it gives you more depth but DJing is an art and there is so much you can learn and so much room for development as you grow.
3. As a DJ, what’s the most pertinent thing you need to do to make sure your set runs smoothly?
Build crates ahead of time. You need to prepare because if you don’t prepare, then you are preparing to fail. You need to know your crowd or anticipate what genres or style of music they will be into.
-Don’t be afraid to test new music or different styles in a crowd. Make sure you blend it in well.
-Use the right tool for the right job. You can’t go to a gun fight with a sword. Make sure your equipment runs smoothly and is dependable and can handle the event you are about to put it through.
-Don’t do in public what you didn’t master at home. Never try it. Keep it simple stupid ... K.I.S.S.
Those are my tips on how to make sure your set runs smoothly.
4. Out of all the events you’ve DJ’ed in your life, name one that made you truly feel like you were doing your craft better than anybody else and explain why.
This is a tough question because my competition is that guy in the mirror. I sucked really bad when I first started. There are mixes I had online that I had to take down because I realized how bad they were but that’s growth.
WVU Coliseum is my home base but that has opened doors to Georgia Tech Coliseum and now I’ve ended up at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is not a race and I’m not in competition with anyone. As long as I continue to set a higher bar for myself and make those who love me proud and inspire others to push themselves, I’m happy with that.
5. How does one become someone important out of the many DJ’s in the world? What helps to make you different?
It’s a combination of factors but most important at the top of the list is being a genuine person. If people cannot connect with you, relate to you, share moments with you, rely on you for basic stuff, or have conversations with you, you can only go so far.
In addition to that, you need to put in a lot of work whether you have the talent or not. My favorite quote as seen in my instagram bio is “To be in the game, you need to go where the game is played”. You can’t play basketball if you don’t go to the park. You can’t play competitively if you don’t play pick up games, or play for your school or AAU. You can’t go pro if you don’t go to college.
Same thing with DJing, you need to go to DJ conferences, trade-shows, music festivals, concerts, small to large shows etc. to network. That’s the way forward. No one will invest in you if you are not already investing in yourself.
6. What do you feel is the best advice you could give to a DJ beginning to hone their craft?
There are two things I would advise upcoming DJs on. 1. Values 2. Never take shortcuts
Values - you need to know yourself and have genuine love and passion for the art of DJing because once a DJ, always a DJ. You can NEVER retire from DJing.
Shortcuts - If you suck, own up to it and practice and ask for help. Read books and watch videos on that thing called YouTube, it has all the answers in this world. Go to DJ schools like scratch academy and take a private lesson.
Try out turntables, try out DJing with CDs and LEARN. Shut up and never act as if you know it all by saying controllers are amazing. Yes, they’re petty dope for small gigs and the convenience. I have nothing against controllers but before you open your mouth, make sure you’ve tried the old school methods of DJing because my friend, it will set you apart in the game. You will learn so much. Have a relationship with everything you do. Take care of that relationship and show love because if there’s no love and consistency, relationships break up.
7. Why is DJing important to society?
When I DJ, I don't play music. I create experiences and memories. I have been
Gifted to put people in great moods and help brighten their days and also create opportunities for people I work with to earn income by doing what they love and set an example for people to follow.
This is more than music!
8. What does the future hold for DJ Dollar?
I just want to be great and help others be great too. Come on this journey with me as I move on to making DJing more than the average person thinks it is. I can’t release much information now but stay in touch.
Make sure to keep up with DJ Dollar through social media to find out when he's performing as well as when to tune into Shade 45 for his sets through the Core DJ Radio show.
PHOTOS BY: Garrett "G" Yurisko