Not long ago, a young boy from St.Croix came to South Beach and turned the DJ world on its head. Now one of the most sought after personalities on Miami Beach, DJ Irie combines a deep knowledge of music with a humble personality and concern for his community. On June 25-26 he will host his annual Irie Weekend, a celebrity golf tournament whose proceeds will benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. We recently caught up with DJ Irie to talk about his DJ management company, his associations with local sports teams and his DJ Spiniversity for teens in Broward.
You've come into your own in Miami. Would you ever consider living anywhere else?
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some of the most amazing destinations in the world. But I have yet to visit anywhere else either international or domestic that I would want to call home over Miami. Not only are my roots here, but the dynamics that make up this city are few and hard to come by.
Take us back to when you were just a boy with some records and a dream. How did you get to be the successful man you are today?
That dream started the moment I got to witness a DJ doing his thing for the first time, even though it was a scene in a movie called “Juice”. I replayed that scene in my head probably a thousand times before I ever actually got to touch a turntable. That scene literally ignited a fire in me that was only going to be tamed by satisfying that hunger. It was “give me turntables or give me death!” Thank God I got some turntables.
I think I’ve been able to achieve some degree of success today because I was relentless when it came to the art of deejaying at a very early age. I realized from this experience that when you’re relentless at something and your motives are pure and genuine for self-achievement, you truly become great at whatever it is.
Why is your DJ management firm Artist Related your passion project?
This company provides an outlet for me to pass on the lessons I’ve learned from this business and afford our roster to bypass a lot of the mistakes that DJ’s commonly make in their quest for growth. Some of our company’s greatest achievements so far are exposing many of our roster to the rest of the country and the world. Some of our DJ’s had not been outside of Florida and we’ve had them play everywhere from Texas to New York, California, Asia, Europe & the Caribbean.
Football and DJ culture are two of the defining past times of local Miami culture. What made you team up with Jason Taylor to connect the two as part of Irie's DJ Spiniversity?
Jason Taylor was an obvious choice and fit to team up on a project. I’ve been working closely with Jason for years on his annual events like “Cool Gear for the School Year” and “JT’s Ping Pong Smash” to raise money for his Jason Taylor Foundation. Jason has also been there for me, participating in my annual Irie Weekend Charity event. We have a great working relationship and go the extra mile to support each other.
The opportunity that Irie’s DJ Spiniversity delivers to students is unique and life changing. It allows for the kids to discover their inner DJ and [decide] if music is really the career path for them.
You're very well tuned into the sports scene. Football aside, how did you get to be the Heat's official DJ?
Being tapped to be the Official DJ of the Miami Heat was huge for me. It was the forward thinking marketing department that went out on a limb and carved out an entertainment platform that no other pro sport franchise had done in history. Luckily I’m the kind of guy that’s always up for a challenge and something new so I took on the position and now 10 years later we’ve made it a huge success and staple in all Miami Heat home games. I’m one of the Miami Heat’s biggest fans so I cheer them on every night.
What do you do on your downtime from the clubs and special events?
I try to wakeboard as much as possible when I’m not in the clubs or working. I absolutely love being on the water and I’m actually pretty good. My favorite place to visit is the island of Jamaica. I spent some time there growing up and my parents live there now so it’s great to go down and see them and eat some amazing food.
Irie Weekend will be held June 25- 26, 2010. To learn more visit www.irieweekend.com. You can also catch DJ Irie spin every Tuesday night at the Delano Hotel, 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-2000.