Anyone can be a DJ, right? All you have to do is put together an hour’s worth of tracks together, hit play, and interact with the crowd from behind the booth. Unfortunately, this misconception – not to mention the complete disregard of the musical knowledge DJs ought to possess – makes DJing seem like a simplistic art form – so easy, in fact, that even B- and C-list celebrities can try their hand at it and earn some cash in the process.
Any professional DJ knows that getting a crowd going is just part of the process. But while a crowd needs to be there – otherwise, who’s going to dance? – how do the individuals show up – from recognizing a name or wanting to hear some sounds? Over the past half decade, celebrity DJing has become a growing phenomenon, and adding a well-known name to a flier has turned into a greater club strategy than bringing an actual professional in.
Although the list of celebrity DJs is varied, this phenomenon received media attention recently with Deadmau5’s feud with Pauly D. Although some may argue that Pauly D was a DJ before making his reality TV debut, the professional Guido is clearly using Jersey Shore to increase his star power. Since the reality program began on MTV, Pauly D’s gotten his own spinoff, was signed to 50 Cent’s G-Note label, and even released a few tracks.
Unlike many celebrity DJs, Pauly D is attempting to make a serious career out of producing and performing behind the turntables. Unfortunately, his contemporaries treat his attempts just about as seriously as former Shore castmate Angelina Pivarnick’s pop career.
For those not up to date, Pauly D, last week, asked for feedback on the video for his track “Night of My Life” over Twitter. (As a side note, the name is this track is similar to David Guetta’s collaboration with Jennifer Hudson. If DJ Pauly D does, indeed, launch a career, will he be to house music as The Asylum is to legitimate filmmaking?). Deadmau5 replied with criticism, starting the feud. When asked by TMZ about the Jersey Shore star’s DJing talent, the Canadian producer born Joel Zimmerman said: “Well, no.”
He then added: “OK, let’s break it down: does a DJ have any DJ-ing talent? Is this song player any better than this song player? You know? And he did do a single, fair enough.”
Deadmau5, much like in speaking out against Madonna’s “Molly” reference at the Ultra Music Festival, might as well be a megaphone and a logical voice for the electronic dance community. Unlike, for instance, Afrojack, who recently attempted to defend Paris Hilton’s forays into electronic music, both singing again and now trying to make it as a house DJ. About the heiress’ attempts, Afrojack said to the press: “The thing is with her… she’s like one of the most talented performers I know. She may not be a Celine Dion, but she knows how to perform on stage. She knows how to sing, believe it or not.”
Although he’s associated with David Guetta, do you think Afrojack could have much of a career after this?
Hilton is scheduled to make her DJing debut on June 23 at the Pop Music Festival in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Hilton is additionally working on another album, with Afrojack producing, and a new single is expected to drop over the summer. Although there’s no word whether Hilton is on a label, she appears to be trying to establish herself as more than an EDM fan girl.
Hilton and Pauly D are just the most recent celebrities to try their hand at DJing. Back in 2006, the Village Voice points out that celebrities – particularly other musicians trying to DJ – see such club appearances as PR stops, after parties, and quick cash, and in many cases, these stars don’t actually perform or use proper DJing techniques – they simply turn on an iPod. Beat matching isn’t even considered. Madonna, writer Tricia Romano described at the time, showed up at a West Village club with Confessions on a Dance Floor producer Stuart Price. Price played some of the album’s tracks, while Madonna stood behind the booth and minimally touched the equipment.
Far more celebrities have dabbled with DJing. The Miami New Times lists some of the more stranger ones, including Nick Cannon, Elijah Wood, Alicia Keys, Prince Harry, Hulk Hogan, and Justin Bieber.