Exclusive Interview: DJ Dummy Talks Career, J.Cole, Rihanna & More
DJ Dummy can be considered as nothing less than a mastermind. Born and raised in Brooklyn New York, he began spinning turntables at the young age of 7 and was greatly influenced by his father and brother who hold the same title.
After entering the DJ battle circuit he began to make a name for himself, which placed him on the radar of some of the industries finest. Over the years, DJ Dummy has worked alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry including Common and Kanye West. Both Rihanna and J. Cole who booked him to play on their sold out tours have also acknowledged his identity and ability as a DJ.
Star Trident caught up with this DJ, Producer and Musical Director during his recent visit to Barbados for an exclusive interview where he opened up about his past, career, experiences with J.Cole, touring with Rihanna, future plans, and much more.
Star Trident: How did DJ’ing come about for you?
DJ Dummy: My father, older brother, two uncles and 3 cousins are all Deejays. I could remember DJ’ing at the age of 7, I was a DJ before but that’s the first time I could remember.
Star Trident: Anyone pursuing a profession usually has a plan B, what was yours?
DJ Dummy: When I decided this (DJ’ing) I what I was going to do was to opt not to have a plan B, I refused to have a back up plan, so I had to have this (DJ’ing) workout for me because I had nothing to else to rely on.
Star Trident: Were you’re parent and relative in support of your decision?
DJ Dummy: My parents weren’t against it they just thought it would be a hobby like everyone else,DJ’ing is for a hobby. I didn’t think it was a career option either but I knew it was just something I love to do , and then after seeing Deejay competitions I was like that’s something I want to do and I’m going to win one of those (competitions). I didn’t see it as a profession but something I could achieve.
Star Trident: 20+ years DJ’ing you’ve been able to DJ for some of the industries’ finest, including Common, Kanye West, Rihanna and many more. What does this mean to you?
DJ Dummy: After DJ’ing for so many artists, the artists I’m getting with now are getting bigger and bigger. I’ve gotten to be onstage with some of the biggest artists ever and I would have never imagined it happening in my life, I would have never imagined being and opening act for any artist never the less as big as Rihanna.
Me up there by myself as a support act not as a Deejay backing up an artist, I would have never guessed that. So to see I’m working with so many artists it’s kind of amazing because these people are calling me, they have seen my talent and want me to come out on the road with them, that’s progression for me because I didn’t start that way.
Star Trident: J.Cole’s album “Cole World: The Sideling Story” were you working with him and what was your initial response to his release?
DJ Dummy: I was with J.Cole at the end of his recording of the album. He already had most of the album built, so when I met him he was just putting the album together, but to see his work ethic, he had control of what his album was structured and he really inspired me to get back into what I loved to do as far as production. He rubbed off you me you could say.
Star Trident: How did your DJ opening act for Rihanna come about?
DJ Dummy: J.Cole was the opening act, Cee lo (Green) was the support act and Rihanna was the headliner. When Ceelo Green dropped out of the tour they wanted Cole to do an hour set but his album wasn’t out so he said “Maybe you should let my DJ perform before I come out on stage” and they took it to Rihanna and she approved and the labels also approved so I went ahead and did it the first night and the crowd went crazy and they loved it so they suggested I did the 30 min set Cee lo was scheduled to and I said “ok I can do it.” Then the Barbados show, me nor J.Cole were set to perform but Rihanna requested us to do the same thing and here I am.
Star Trident: What is the hardest and the best part of being on tour?
DJ Dummy: The best part about being on tour is getting to touch so many different people, and I learn new music everywhere I go. I always bring music back from everyone country and city I’m in, I like to play a variety for everyone.
The bad part is people don’t understand how strenuous it is, the traveling, interviews, performing and finding food (laughs) but once I’m on that stage there’s no feeling in the world like it.
Star Trident: Before going on set, what do you look for in a crowd?
DJ Dummy: I can tell what music I’m playing by the way the people are dressed, by the way people talk, facial responses, everything matters and that’s why I study my crowd before I perform.
Star Trident: That was your introduction to us (Barbadians), did you expect the level of love and support show to you afterwards?
DJ Dummy: No, I did not expect Barbados to show me so much love because this was something I’ve been doing for the entire tour.
The reaction I got from Barbados was times 100, my twitter (@IMDJDUMMY) was flooded it took me 4 days to reply to everybody and I got 1500 followers just from Barbados alone.
Star Trident: What words of advice would you give to aspiring Deejays who want to become successful?
DJ Dummy: What I would say to aspiring Deejays is you’ve got to deejay for the people but you have to draw the people to you. Any deejay can play the same song but its how I play it that makes the crowd like me better than the other Deejay. Have your own way of DJ’ing.
Star Trident: What’s next for DJ Dummy?
DJ Dummy: I’m going to put out and album every year, I’m trying to put out the first album for 2012 . I will continue touring and DJ’ing but production wise I will try to put out a good album not an album with my name on it and other people making the music its going to be my music with a variety of artists. Maybe I can quit my receptionist job at Slam because that’s what I’m doing now. Hopefully in the future I can get rid of this job and I won’t be answering the phones at slam anymore.
Photo Credit: Azza Sulliman / Jai Nima Idowu.