Each morning as the fog lifted from the campus, and the dew on the grass in the courtyard evaporated, you could just feel the energy at my high school. Everyone there had a dream and everyone there wanted to make it. With all those aspirations floating around, you can imagine the size of the some of the egos there.
Sometimes it would feel a bit daunting just to stand up and perform or present a school project in front of your classmates. That's why when I met Deejay Young, I was surprised. Every bone in his body was humble and grounded and though I've never shared this with him in the many years of our friendship... I have to say, in a school full of heads that couldn't fit through the double doors, man was I thankful that he was there.
Attending a high school full of creatives was the greatest and most challenging time. Each day our lives were transformed by the different mediums we studied. It's safe to say our school was one big melting pot of personalities. All with diverse backgrounds, class-levels and unique journeys. But the glue that held us together, despite so many differences, was the art.
Fast forward to 2019, Deejay Young is now a 4x Independent Music Award winning singer-songwriter who's making his mark in music. Whether he is traveling the world, sharing the stage with artists such as Yolanda Adams, Jordan Fisher and KEM. Being recognized by Grammy winners Mary Mary, or bringing magic to crowds all over Orlando, Florida, Deejay is taking that bright light of his and shining it wherever he goes.
Deejay's music is one that speaks to the soul. His intonation is simply off the charts and he writes with utter honesty. Whether he's writing about a great love, a breaking heart or a hill he has to climb, the audience gets a front row and very personal seat. His patience with each phrase and each note can be compared, side by side, to the greats of our time.
I found myself very lucky to interview my good friend recently, and I'm so excited for what he has coming up. Check out our chat here!
Consider The Music: I can't believe how many years we've known each other. I won't dare say the number, but I have to ask, what memories do you have from that time and how did it impact who you are today?
Deejay Young: I will never forget those years; high school years, and discovering more of my gifts, and being around other gifted people with so much to express within themselves. I felt at home, so to speak, and being at a Fine Arts School changed my life, forever. I discovered Musical Theatre for the first time when I did our school's production of “Ragtime”, and it impacted me so much. I still can’t seem get enough of theatre now. I learned so much about myself as a creative then.
Consider The Music: One of my favorite projects of yours has to be 'Unplugged'. What was the recording process like for you and who did you work with?
Deejay Young: Thank you so much! Unplugged is the proudest work I’ve done to date. The recording process was unlike anything I’ve ever done; and it was very therapeutic for me. I poured my heart out in the studio. I tried new things, and experimented with different sound, live sounds and effects. Every song I recorded, I wanted the vocals to be done in one take. I didn’t want lots of editing, and tuning. I wanted this sound to be completely raw and authentic. Working with amazing engineers like Dan Reynolds, and Jim Durbin made that super easy. This project was also the first time I collaborated with my younger brother, Dontell Young, who produced a couple songs on the EP as well.
Consider The Music: Where did the inspiration for your song "Box" come from? And does the message stand true for you today?
Deejay Young: “Box” came so effortlessly to me. I told my good friend, and talented musician/beatboxer, Antonio Fernandez, that I wanted to create a funky, acapella song - and we did just that. It was conceptualized in our favorite local restaurant. The song is about being authentically you, and not letting the standards that the world places on you, dictate who you are. Every flaw and scar makes you, YOU, and I believe God made us all unique in the likeness of love and beauty. The song helps me to stay true to that, because it’s really what I believe, and it’s taken time to get to that place. The song is special to me.
Consider The Music: What is your opinion on the state of the music industry today? And what hopes do you have for it?
Deejay Young: There are tons of talented people out there, and I think they are beginning to gain the recognition they deserve. Artists like H.E.R., and Daniel Caesar are changing the perspective of R&B, and what that may look and sound like, and I love it. I don’t like when people say that a genre is “dead”. And, I definitely don’t feel R&B is - we just need to support the artists, independent especially, that are out there, and artists need to get out and share their art with the world, no matter who listens to it. The art is there, and I love that there are fearless people out there sharing their most vulnerable selves.
Consider The Music: The creative process is different for everyone, tell me a little bit about yours and what drives you?
Deejay Young: Experiences drive me. Life drives me. Everything I write is based off of true experience; either something that I’ve experienced, or something I’ve seen people deal with that needs to be addressed to conquer it, or to become better. Music is so powerful, and I feel like it’s our job as artists to uplift and inspire - no matter the genre. So, when I write, it comes from that place. It’s my goal to bring love, joy, inspiration, or just talk about the human experience.
Consider The Music: What's a memorable performance that has stood out to you in your journey so far?
Deejay Young: The most memorable performance for me thus far is probably on tour in Japan with my bro, Jordan Fisher. We played for almost 10,000 people at Kobe World Hall in Japan, and I then headlined my first solo show in Osaka. Having received so much love from the people of Japan and my supporters there, was extremely special. Japan is one of my favorite places in the world, so that entire experience was beautiful for me.
Consider The Music: Have you ever found that music has helped you through difficult times and can you describe that for anyone out there that may be going through a tough spot?
Deejay Young: Music has always helped me through difficult times. Whether heartbreak, change in environment, or not the best of days - music has always been my saving grace. I remember dropping out of college to pursue this dream. I went through the deepest and darkest depression of my life, and before I took the step of moving, I knew I had to do it, and in the process, I wrote my first album, “The Rebirth”. Through the pain, there’s always a song in me. I think that was God’s gift to me. No matter how tough life gets, I have him and I have his gift, through me. I’m grateful for both.
Consider The Music: Who are 3 artists that you listen to, that might surprise most people? What stands out to you about those artists?
Deejay Young: It’s so hard to narrow down just three. First I would say Paramore - they are huge inspirations of mine, and have always been consistent with their catalog, and Hayley is such a good songwriter. Lady Gaga is one of my favorites too - she always finds a way to be raw and authentic, yet still reinvent herself each time. Queen is also one of my favorite bands of all time, so they are a constant listen on my end. Freddie Mercury was incredible in every way. I’m hugely inspired.
Consider The Music: What have you learned in your career so far and what advice would you have for anyone reading this, that has a passion for music and is just starting out?
Deejay Young: I’ve learned to enjoy the process, and to take risks. I’ve also learned that the thing in your gut that you’ve wanted, but are also afraid of, is a beautiful thing called growth, and you shouldn’t let that fear stop you from being wonderful. I’ve learned to continue to love myself unconditionally, and to love God, and with that, all other things will be added to my life and my calling. To anyone that has a passion to do anything, I would say, never give up. If you wake up every morning and dream about that one thing, that means it’s your calling to pursue, and it’s your destiny to not let anything or anything come in the way of it. Anything is possible, and I’m a living, true testament of that.
Consider The Music: So my friend, what's next for Deejay Young?
Deejay Young: I’m gearing up for new music that I cannot wait to share. I’m excited for people to hear it - it’s been a minute since the last project, so you’ll have to stay tuned for it! I'm ready to continue some other projects that I have lined up for the rest of the year and into 2020. Things are looking bright and shiny, and I’m so grateful.
Make sure to follow Deejay and check out his latest music!
Available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more!
Peace and Love,