WHAT DO YOU DO?
I'm a professor, so that means two things, I teach people how to DJ, whether it be individual lessons or group lessons. I also have a team building activity within my company that I can do corporate sessions, retreats, and group activities as well.
I'm a professor at Cal state Fullerton where I teach at a 300-level class in the Mihaylo School of Business and Economics.
Additionally I have my own podcast and I teach people how to do create, produce and promote their own podcasts.
My podcast is called the Amani Experience and I interview people who used to work in the corporate world and have left to do something more creative. I cover a wide range of professions like photographers, other Dj's, pilates instructors, spoken word poets — people who are at various stages of their creative journeys.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
While I was working the corporate life, I started my DJ company on the side and started to build that up so that I’d have something when I was ready to move on. I “retired” from the corporate life a little over seven years ago and went full-time on my entrepreneurial pursuits. I was running my DJ company and doing social media writing to bridge the gap. From there I went to Scratch Academy Los Angeles to build the foundation of my DJ skills. That's a year- long program. I like to call it like getting your “masters in DJ’ing.” A year later, I went back to Scratch Academy Los Angeles for music production. I was working in the field but also continued to educate myself as well because I find that's important and just helps you perfect your skills. As I'm growing my DJ business, I wanted to be more of a thought-leader in this space and not just a DJ.
I wanted to do things that allowed me to share more of my expertise besides just in the DJ space. That's where the podcast comes in. So I started my podcast like a year and a half ago.
The podcast has helped me to network with more people, show my skills off, whether it be original music, interviewing, listening and then you add on the teaching skills as well. I love teaching because that helps me share my knowledge with other people. It helps me grow my client base as well. When you teach you also learn as well. I find that for a whole combination of what I just described helps me get to where I am right now.
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN YOUR FIELD?
I think the combination of the experience that I have in corporate America, which is high-level customer service coupled with the ability to DJ & produce music. I have this very unique combination and I think that those three or four things allow me to stand out and make my skill set very different from traditional people in my field. So when you add up all three between hospitality experience, deejaying and music production, I find that's very rare in my field.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
Right now my producing partner and I are working on our third EP. To date, we have released two remix EPs, with the most recent one being released in January of 2019. We are about halfway through our 3rd EP.
I’m always working on my podcast, and we’re coming up on our 100th episode, which is pretty exciting.
Finally, I’m working on a book. Basically what the book subject is how the timeline of a DJ set relates to growing a business. It takes the time periods of a Dj set, say like 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM and it relates a stage of the business to each time slot. For example, the first time slot will be like 10:00 PM to 10:15 PM. You are just starting out. You are building rapport with the people that are in the club, bar or business. When you first start a business, you have to get to know potential clients, building rapport and networking. The book goes back and forth throughout different time slots throughout the entire night and relates each one to starting or running a business.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I would show them the book.
If we're talking about music production, I would share our second EP.
In terms of my DJ style, I love to play like old school, hip hop, funk, and old school r&b. Of course I can DJ any genre. I also love to mix some salsa in as well.
In terms of my personality, I am real laid back. I love to listen and observe people.
WE ALL HAVE MULTIPLE SKILLS OR WORK IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FOCUS ON MORE?
I would love to spend even more time on the music production.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
What frustrates me right now is i’m in this stage where I'm trying to get to a level where people understand and appreciate my worth and I'm not having to fight about rates.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Hm. I would have them do the social media writing and work for myself and the clients that I have. If I could get someone to assist with all the social media work and content creation I have, I can focus on creating more.
I would have them help me with anything that has to do with numbers - whether that be taxes, budget plans, management, etc. I’ll add in cooking me meals as well!
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I love this question. I would have wished I would've told myself don't be afraid to pursue DJing earlier on. I had the idea to start DJing when I was 21 but I didn't start till I was 32 due to fear and worrying about what people would think. So don't be afraid to start DJ early on and just think big. Think bigger. Don't be intimidated by people that are prestigious positions. Don't let people who are close to you talk you out of pursuing things that you really want to do if even if they're very big in nature and big in terms of what you're going to be trying to do.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
I think I would want to talk to a music producer about how to partner with record labels that you love. A close second would be the best way to clear samples in music.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I'm looking to work with people who want some assistance in creating and producing their own podcast.
I'm also looking for people who want original music for their projects, whether it be movies, TV shows, videos, presentations or commercials.
I am looking for people who are creating experiences and want to add a DJ element like my team building activity into the experiences that they're creating, whether it be for clients, launch events, experiential events.
I am always looking for people who want a dope DJ for their events!
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
My ideal client would be someone who has a creative idea, like a podcast or event, and help them package it and make it the most it can be. Someone who is willing and trusting of my experience to guide them down the right path.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
My pricing varies per project and needs but it is typically $50-75 an hour.
WHO ARE SOME CREATIVES THAT HAVE HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR CRAFT?
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Either email me or find me on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and approach me! I'll always listen to anyone's ideas and give them my perspective!
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?’
I love to read. I read, listen to podcasts, watch interviews and then I'm a really big fan of the Artist's Way. I'll do my morning pages every morning. I try to get to an artist date every week by myself and that kind of helps me stay creative and let’s me kind of step outside of my tunnel of work and really see what's going on out there, whether it be to go to a museum, art exhibit, a book signing or a concert.
This member profile was originally published in May 2019.