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Dimitri Tee has always had a love for music. As a young boy, he surrounded himself with all different types of genres; he listened to rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, new wave, classical, the international sound, and, of course, house music. When he was in Middle School, he owned an electric guitar, two synthesizers, and a drum machine. Later, he began experimenting with turntables, cassette decks, scratching records, mixing music, and incorporating drum machines to create live remixes.
Paying his dues
This was a foreshadowing of what he would eventually become. His family, who supported him, gifted him with DJ equipment and a record collection. Dimitri’s brother-in-law, in particular, helped set him on his musical path. After months of practicing, he auditioned at a local dance bar and soon became the resident DJ. Like any other rising DJ, he had three important challenges: What am I going to play? What new records am I going to test out? Can I get the dance floor packed? Even though he had received no formal musical training, he managed to understand the nuts and bolts of the business.
“No DJ school for me, I taught myself the fundamentals of mixing records. My brother-in-law gave me some good pointers, and my friends would critique my mixtapes here and there. This drove me to practice harder and improve my technique. Listening to a Glenn Friscia mix on the radio and going to parties to hear legendary DJs, such as Danny Tenaglia and Erick Morillo, have inspired me tremendously. As I got more into producing house music tracks, my good friend, remixer Dave Rose, and the late Stan “The Hit Man” were influential mentors in the recording studio.”
Turning his passion for music into a business
Dimitri, a.k.a. Dim, not only worked his way into venues but solidified a spot on FM radio as a mix show DJ. He was on Party 105 on the night shift working the underground house and dance music and breaking new records. He became known as the “crazy house music guy”. At the time, this, unfortunately, limited his exposure to gaining a mainstream audience, but he locked down the underground house music crowd. Things are different in today’s world of multiple streaming social media platforms and music apps, a DJ can pretty much play whatever they want, whenever they want!
Even in today’s market of DIY DJs, Dimitri is clear that just because you own the latest software, some decent DJ gear, and you have watched a couple of tutorial videos, that doesn’t mean you will be headlining Ultra Fest anytime soon. You must have talent, knowledge, and pay your dues, as he has over the years; he now runs his own company, booking events, working with media brands, and representing artists.
Dimitri wears many hats in his business as a talent buyer, event coordinator, music director, brand consultant, and event operator. Navigating through the transition from a DJ to a business owner has been erratic, at times, but he has managed to keep an even keel. He also works with his girlfriend/business partner Lauren, who keeps things in order, so he does not go insane. He believes this is only the beginning of expanding his business, but at the end of the day, there is not a position that can replace his passion for being a DJ.
Words of advice
When it comes to handing out advice to aspiring DJs or anyone looking to run a musical based business, he strongly suggests surrounding yourself with good, positive people who want to see you excel and grow. Practice, practice, and practice your craft every day! Learn as much as possible, do your homework, and try to create your unique vibe and style. As said in the cinematic masterpiece Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.
What do you think about Dimitri Tee’s advice for aspiring DJs? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.