For me, music has always been about a vibe. There’s an energy to the collective experience that it creates. As a DJ and producer, I feel blessed to be able to share this energy with people every day. It’s the culmination of a lifelong dream that I’ve gone all out in pursuit of…not once, but twice.
Growing up in East Vancouver, hip-hop wasn’t part of the mainstream culture. Lucky for me, I had an older brother who turned me onto underground radio stations and made me countless mix tapes. This music changed my life. I became obsessed. Bone Thugs-N Harmony were my gold standard. I instantly related to what I was hearing. I felt like the songs were telling the stories of my own neighbourhood… my own tribe.
I would close my eyes in bed at night and see myself on stage, mic in hand. By the time I graduated from high school, I was determined to become an MC and music producer, following in the footsteps of Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and Kanye. This was my dream and I set out to University to help make it a reality.
That first year, I just tried to hustle and charm my way into every aspect of the music industry I could. One night at a bar, I struck up a conversation with the man who became my mentor… Adam H. Hurtsfield. Just to give you an idea, Adam has produced music for Jeremih, Ray J., Ne-Yo, and Kat Deluna – just to name a few. Adam and his crew were kind enough to let me, some kid from East Vancouver, shadow them in the studio for months. It was the best crash course imaginable.
Taking all that I learned, I recorded and released my first single. It was a song I wrote for my mom, called “For You”…and it exploded faster than I ever could have imagined. Within one year, I had won an International Songwriting Award, been featured on the news, and was being asked to perform all across Vancouver. But most importantly, people were connecting with my message… my vibe.
My dreams began to expand at a lightening quick pace. I ended up at a festival called the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration (now known as 5X). Bhangra for anyone not familiar, is a high energy musical and dance tradition, with Punjabi roots that is often accompanied by a type of drum called the Dhol. As a kid of Indian descent, hearing this blend of East meets West genres, with all that energy, completely blew me away. So I began experimenting with elements of Bhangra music in my beats.
I began to collaborate with local South Asian artists, which led to some International touring. I was travelling, seeing the world, making music, and connecting with people far and wide. Honestly, it was amazing, I had found my tribe, I was literally living my dream. But soon, uncertainty would begin to fill my mind.
During this whole process, I was still a full-time student and with everything happening so fast, I would lie awake at night questioning my future. I began to doubt who I was. My abilities. My skills. Everything I had accomplished. I felt like a superhero stripped of their powers. I swallowed my pride and buried my dreams. With my degree in hand, I decided it was time to get a “real job”.
I spent the next five years working for the government and then in sales. But something was missing. I slowly began to realize I was never going to find the same passion I had when creating music. It didn’t matter how much money I was making. I knew I couldn’t have a simple 9-to-5. I had to live my life in music. Its collective energy. Its ability to unite people was and is my calling. My dream.
I made the decision to again follow my dream… for the second time. I dove back into DJing – hard beats, heavy drums, exciting lyrics. I had to start from scratch again, but I didn’t care. I knew who I was now and I wasn’t gonna question that or ever let up.
And then one day, while picking up gear, a young scrawny kid asked me if I was a DJ. He said his name was Ryan and then played me some beats from his phone. All of a sudden, I felt the energy of the universe go through my body and I saw myself in this kid. Honestly, it straight up could of been a scene from “The Secret”.
Over the next few months, me and Ryan (aka DJ REKing) started DJing live shows and working on beats. We dubbed ourselves the Global Party Starters and put out our first album, “Keep Us On Your Radar.” We experimented with different genres, textures, tempos, and themes, while keeping a focus on collaborating with artists of color.
It’s true what they say… “your vibe attracts your tribe.” As we’ve turned our passion into music, amazing artists have followed us into the studio to collaborate… Which leads us to the present day. We come to you with our second full length release “Tonight.” This album feels like a natural progression for us, while featuring a more mature sound, with a focus on heavier drums, tighter storytelling, and catchier melodies. It features some of the best artists that Vancouver has to offer. Please check it out. We’d be honored to share our dreams with you and welcome you into the tribe.
If you like the vibe, please feel free to reach out with a comment below. I’ll hit you back.
Here’s to hoping our music can be the soundtrack for your journey as you find and follow your own dreams… For the first, second or even third time.
Global Party Starters