If the phrase, “Tragedy to Triumph” had a spokesperson, it would be DJ Quicksilva.
After being shot, paralyzed, and losing his parents by the time he was 18 years old, this music and media maven, has gone on to be one of the most successful juggernauts in the game as an award winning celebrity DJ, on-air personality, philanthropist, and serial entrepreneur.
Whether it is touring the world as a celebrity DJ, lacing the airwaves with Dominique Da Diva on his syndicated radio show, teaching aspiring DJ's how to rock a party, running his nightclub, giving a daily dose of inspirational vitamins to the mentally malnourished, or just being a dedicated family man, DJ Quicksilva is the quintessential renaissance man.
DARF was fortunate enough to catch up with the man of many talents to talk about his journey, illustrious career, hustle, future plans, and so much more. Find out why the movie “Beat Street” started it all.
[Hassahn]: We’ll get right into it, man. You definitely have a true what could have been a tragedy to triumph story, and I was like so impressed. I mean, I already knew about you, but I really was doing my research on you. You got a really amazing story. Before we get all into the story, literally one of my first questions is, what’s your favorite scene from Beat Street?
[DJ Quicksilva]: I see you been doing your research. My favorite scene from Beat Street is definitely the scene where the DJ is on the upper level, and he plugs up the stuff from the electricity that he stole. Then he said, “It’s working. It’s working.”
[Hassahn]: Yes! Love that scene.
[DJ Quicksilva]: Then he starts DJing, and everybody starts dancing. That’s really not just the movie. That’s the scene that made me fall in love with being a DJ. I was ten years old when I seen that movie and from ten until now, DJing has literally been my life and saved my life.
[Hassahn]: That’s what’s up. I already know you got your first turntables at ten years old. Were you self-taught at ten, or did somebody else have to teach you how to?
[DJ Quicksilva]: I was self-taught. For Christmas, I got some turntables, and I had a couple of DJs in the neighborhood that were older. They were already DJing, so I would just kind of watch what they were doing. I would literally just go home every day and just practice in my basement literally every single day of my life. When I say every day, I mean, every day. Monday through Monday, I would come home from school and I was in the basement for hours at a time and I’m glad I did because it’s paid off.
[Hassahn]: What was the hardest concept for you to grasp by DJing? Was it blending the records?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Absolutely, blending, and DJing’s not easy. I mean, I know we’re talking, but I own a DJ school now, but DJing’s not easy. I mean, it’s not just from blending for doing a smooth transition from one song to the next. Learning how to scratch on beat, learning how to count bars. All of that, I really just taught myself from trial and error. I would do something, or I’d make a mixtape and I’ll listen to it back and I’ll be like, “I don’t like this,” and then I would just throw it over until I liked it.
[Hassahn]: Since you brought up your school for teaching people how to DJ lets talk about that. I think that’s really dope. I think that’s a dope way to give back and teach other people the craft. When you’re first start with them, like a beginner, do you make them learn how to blend a record before you use a technology like a Serato like just like straight vinyl, or you’re just like, “That’s cool. We can go straight into like that.”
[DJ Quicksilva]: The thing is most we teach the class on a controller which is like a CDJs mixed with a mixer, not on turntable. It’s only because like I’m still with turntables at heart, but most nightclubs and places worldwide, turntables really aren’t the thing anymore. Most people are doing using CDJs or controller, but we teach the fundamentals. So, we don’t teach sync buttons where it does it for you. We literally teach you how to count bars one to eight.
We teach you how to start on one. We teach you how to do a smooth transition and hold the blend for eight bars. We really teach the fundamentals of DJing. No push buttons, you’re really going to learn how to use and manipulate the platters to speed it up, slow it down, use your tempo and use your headphones to make sure it sounds right. Like we really teach DJing. They’re quick and easy DJer’s.
[Hassahn]: That’s what’s up, and you talked about a smooth transition. I’m going to actually transition back to now. Let’s take it back a little bit. I know you were shot I believe at the age of 13. Can you tell us about that experience? What was the situation where you ended up getting shot, and then for those nine months, you were paralyzed? As a 13-year-old, what was going through your mind? How do you bounce back from that?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Well, the crazy thing is, like I said, I started DJing at the age of ten, but I also started playing football at age ten. So, my dream was never to be this world-renowned DJ. It was to be a football star, and I was actually really good. I got trophies, and I’ve even framed one of my jerseys because I went to the super bowl right before I got shot when I was 13. I went to Norfolk Rams, so I was really, really good at football. That was my passion. I was going to be the next Ronnie Lot, the next Bo Jackson in my mind.
When I got shot, and like I said, I can’t get too many details, but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong things, and I got shot. I was on bed rest for nine months. I think the hardest part for me one being a 13-year-old getting shot, your first thought is I don’t want to die. I remember saying to the cops when they came, “I just don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.”
Once I realized that I wasn’t going to die, being in the hospital, and I remember the doctor telling me, “Potentially, you might not walk again.” I think that was the hardest pill.
That was the hardest pill to realize. It wasn’t about walking. What I heard was, “You’re never going to play football again,” which I haven’t. From then on now, I’ve never played football. So, that ended my football dreams, and that really took a toll on me mentally because that was all I wanted to be in life was a football player.
However, God doesn’t make any mistakes. I believe even when you think it is, it’s not because if that would not have happened, I probably wouldn’t pursued DJing at the level I pursued it and not saying that I wouldn’t have made it to the NFL, but the chances of me making to the NFL, I’m not a big guy. I was really good at football at 13, but the size I am now, I doubt if I would have been in the NFL. But now, I’ve made it to the NFL of DJing by being one of the biggest DJs in the world. So, I always say everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen. Your life is tailor-made for you, whether you know it or not.
[Hassahn]: You mentioned Bo Jackson. Were you a running back or are you a quarterback?
[DJ Quicksilva]: I was a running back. I was starting I was starting middle linebacker and starting tailback.
[Hassahn]: Oh, that’s what’s up. Okay.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I would definitely average two to three touchdowns every game. I was a beast.
[Hassahn]: I thought I was good at football too when I was young, but I never went into that, but anyway. And I’m a little guy, but anyway. Moving forward a little bit. I know you unfortunately lost your parents at a young age, but from that time, where you started contemplating and practicing your DJing, I believe I read that your dad is the one who bought your turntables. Were your parents at least at a young age thinking that’s something you could do as a professional, or did they look at it like a hobby?
[DJ Quicksilva]: My mom died when I was ten, so she never ever got a chance to experience DJ Quicksilva. When she passed, I wasn’t DJ Quicksilva yet. I started DJing at the age of ten literally like almost right after she passed. So, she never was a part of the DJ aspect of my life.
Before I was in love with DJing, I’m a pianist, so I played the piano and drums. My mom was a pianist at church, and she taught me how to play the piano at a very young age. By the age of eight like eight or nine, I was already playing the drums in church every Sunday. So, I was always I was always musically inclined and musically just gifted.
Then my dad got my turntables, he knew, but I didn’t. I remember him telling. I got my first like residency as a DJ, I was 14 years old. I’m living in Baltimore the time club called Club Indigo, and I remember when I got that first gig, everybody in my family told my dad how crazy it was, and now, as a dad, I get why they looked at him like that. But my whole family like, “There’s no way you should be allowing this 14-year-old kid to be in a nightclub every night.
That’s just setting him up for failure. He’s not even old enough to be in the club. Why is he even there DJing?” I remember my dad saying, and I quote, “If Michael Jackson’s dad would have told him he was too young to sing, he never would have become Michael Jackson.” So, I say that to say, I believe my dad saw something in me and believed in me even before the rest of the world did, and I’m glad that he did because it’s paid off tenfold at this point in my life.
[Hassahn]: Now, at 14, you got your residency in the club. Do you think the combination of you, unfortunately, being shot at a young age, even losing your parents at a young age, and DJing in these clubs at a very young age, do you think that spread up your maturation process? Do you think you were mature at a younger age because of all these things?
[DJ Quicksilva]: I’m positive I was. By the age of 18, I was already living my own. I bought my first home at 21. So, a lot of times when people are doing their first things in life, I already been there done that.
By the age of 16, I bought my first car. I mean, a lot of things that people were aspiring to do, I was already doing, but not by choice, by force. I was forced to grow up at a very young age. Like I said, by 18, literally just graduated from high school, my dad passed away. So, I was forced to go get me an apartment, and from there on, I’ve been living on my own. I’ve never had a roommate in my life. I’ve been taking care of myself from 18 to now. I think I was forced to grow up because of my circumstances, but like you say, “God doesn’t make any mistakes, so I’m not going to complain about it.”
[Hassahn]: Okay. Before we transition into some of the radio stuff, when was the moment for you that you absolutely knew you were the shit at being a DJ? Like you know what? I’m really good at this. When was that?
[DJ Quicksilva]: I got a couple of moments. I think one was when I won my first DJ contest. I was in the DJ contest for Pepsi DJs. That was one big, and I think the moment that really stands out the most on top of me touring with all your favorite artists over the years, I think when I won my first Global Spin Award. If anybody’s watching that does not know what the Global Spirit Awards is, it’s the highest of the highest. I mean, it’s literally the best of the best in the world, and not only have I won one, I’ve won two of in my lifetime. It’s like the Oscars or the Grammys for the DJs.
I remember being at the first Global Spin Awards, and everybody’s there. Whoever you could think of from your biggest, to from DJ Khaled the Tiesto to whoever Jazzy Jeff’s like who anybody you could think of that was a big-name worldwide DJ they’re all there, and they’re all nominated for something.
I was the only person in that room nominated anything that’s from this area, which in itself, I’m looking at all these guys, and they’re all from New York, LA. Some are from different parts of the world, but I’m a guy that’s born and raised in East Baltimore in the same room with them, and not just now am I in the same room. I’m not there as a bystander. I’m there as a participant who’s nominated.
So, at that point, I already felt accomplished because I’m like, “Even if I don’t win anything, I’m in the room with all the biggest DJs in the world.” Not on the East Coast. I don’t know in the world like literally the globe. When I was nominated, I kept thinking there’s no way I’m going to win.
Because I mean, I think the first category I won was like me Funk Flex, Kick, Pre, Envy. I mean, all these big New York DJs and I’m like, “There’s no way this guy from Baltimore’s going to win.”
When they announced that I was the winner, DJ Drama, who’s a great friend of mine, he was actually the presenter. DJ Drama came on stage, and he was talking about the award. I forgot what I was up for that year, but he’s announcing all the categories and they go through the names. What’d he say, “And the winner is… Oh, man. This is my guy. I’m proud of him.” I’m like, “Who’s he talking about?” “DJ Quicksilva.” I paused like I didn’t even move. I was like, “There’s another Quicksilva in here?
[Hassahn]: Right, right.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I won, and at that moment, it hit me that I’m no longer a local, regional DJ. I’m really a worldwide household name, and I’m glad that I didn’t let that get to my ego because even after winning, I kept working like I was trying to make a point. But that was one of the moments that really hit me and said you know what? This guy’s really, I don’t want to say I’ve made it, but I’ve gotten to a level in my life now where DJ has really changed everything about my life.
[Hassahn]: That’s what’s up, bro. Me personally, it’s just unfortunate that I haven’t been to Quicksilva party, but I will try to make one at some point.
[DJ Quicksilva]: That is crazy. I’ve been DJing in clubs for 25 years, and in 25 years, you’ve never been to one of my parties?
[Hassahn]: Not one, bro. not one. My apologies.
[DJ Quicksilva]: Where you from?
[Hassahn]: I’m from Chicago, but I lived in LA for about 13 years. I’m in Chicago right now, though, too.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I’ll actually be in La this week. I’m playing LA Thursday and Friday. I just got back from Chicago, too. I was in Chicago. I was in Houston last weekend.
[Hassahn]: Okay. When you come to the CHI, I’m there.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I’ll be the Chicago, but I got DJ Pharris there. That’s one of my good friends.
[Hassahn]: Oh, yeah, Pharris. Yeah, definitely. I grew up on DJ Pharris in the Chi. I promise you. I will be at one of your parties. It ain’t the same, but I watched a few videos of you doing your thing.
[DJ Quicksilva]: It’s not the same.
[Hassahn]: I know it’s not the same. You got this quote that I saw somewhere. It might just be on your IG, but you say, “I don’t DJ. l perform.” Can you tell me the difference between the two?
[DJ Quicksilva]: A DJ plays records. The term for DJ is Disc Jockey. That’s what DJ stands for. I mean, most of them they play records. I mean they literally, some of them are good at it. They play records, and they play the right records, and they let the records play and let the records breathe. I perform. I really put on a show. I really do a lot of crowd response, so I’m like an MC/DJ combination. A lot of dope DJs travel with an MC who controls, which is a master of ceremony. You have disc jockey and master ceremony.
A lot of your best, biggest DJs, they really don’t talk about they have a guy or girl who travels with them, and they do all the hyping while they just play the music. I really perform. I really put on the show. I stop the music when I need to. I talk when I need to. I like to set up my records when I want to set them up. I say something with the intention that the crowd is going to say it back, and when they say it back, the record drops at that exact moment. Then like I really get into what I’m doing. I’m not just sitting there playing records. I’m really dancing with the people. I jump in the audience.
I’m a different beast, man, when I’m DJing in nightclubs like versus the radio. Radio is something different because radio state of the mind. I’m normally in my studio when I’m on radio, but in a nightclub, I feed off energy. When people see me, they’re like, “You DJ like you’re performing at a concert.” I treat every show the exact same whether I’m thinking for 100 people or 5,000 people or 30,000 people. I’m going to put on this show like I have a point to prove.
I don’t care who I’m DJing with. This might sound egotistical, and I don’t mind when I say this because I know I am who I say I am. Whoever I’m DJing with, I’m never intimidated. If you’re good, I’m going to be better. It doesn’t matter like whatever you play, and I play a lot of DJs. I know a lot of so-called big-name DJs. They’re like, “No, don’t play this record before I get on.” I tell DJs, “Play everything. Play every record you want to. Play every new record, every record, because I know for a fact there’s one record you’re going to forget. I’m going to start with that record, and I’m going to change the whole vibe of the party.”
That’s really you know what I’ve been about, and I’ve played with every DJ known to man. I don’t have one style.
I think my manager, Sean Caesar said to me, “Quick, what makes you one of the greatest is that your range,” like I can play literally for any crowd. Some DJs are really good with old school, but you can never put them in the 21+ party. Some guys are really good with trap music, but you can never put them in a reggae party. Some guys are super dope reggae DJs, but you could never put them at a Sunday party with church music or a jazz brunch. I literally can play everything.
I can be in Houston one day, Miami the next day, Washington D.C the next day, Chicago the next day. Then fly to Jamaica and come right back to Baltimore and all in one week, and this is my real life. Then every party is a completely different age bracket, completely different crowd, different backgrounds, races, and every party I treat the same. Every party, I don’t care what music form you book me for, I can play every form of music known to man, and I play it well.
I think that’s what separates me from a lot of the other dope DJs because there’s a lot of dope DJs that I look up to, but I know their sets. When I hear him, I know he’s going to play this. He’s playing all trap. He’s going to play all old school. I know their sets, but they’re really good at it.
They’re really good at that. So, if you book him or her for that old school brunch, he’s going to kill it. But you can’t put him at leave on Sunday because he’s going to stink it up because he don’t know the new records, or you could put him there, but you can’t put him at the old school brunch because he don’t know the records. I think that’s what separates me. A lot of people don’t realize I’m young. I’m only 40 years old, but I’ve been DJing for 25 years. So, my musical range is three decades. I can play the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and presents like the best of them, and I think that’s what separates me from a lot of DJs.
[Hassahn]: That’s what’s up. Now, one of my personal favorite party DJs or just DJs in general, and he used to tour with Skillz. It’s Jazzy Jeff. I just think Jazzy Jeff is incredible.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I just played with him recently. I love him. One of my favorite DJs.
[Hassahn]: Yeah, one of my favorites. So, I was going to ask you. You call yourself the party kingpin, but if DJ Quicksilva’s just trying to relax, have a good time, have a drink and vibe, who is the DJ that’s going to play your party? Who would you book?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Well, man, Jazzy Jeff is one of the greats, I think, and nobody denied that. But actually, two of my favorite party DJs are not—I mean they’re worldly names on the party circuit, but these are guys that I would put up against any of your so-called household name DJs.
So, outside of myself, and like I mentioned, whenever I DJ with DJs, I’m never intimidated. I’m always like, “I know for a fact, I’m going to kill it.” But these two and it’s a couple of but these two guys that I’ve mentioned, these two guys whenever I DJ with them, it’s like now I know I’m going to kill it, but now I got to really bring my A-game to the party.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I know we’re going to battle it out, and one of us are going to win that day, but the next day, we’re going to be like, “Yeah, yeah. You got me that night, but I’m going to get you tomorrow.” They actually both from New York. One is Caribbean, one’s not. DJ Self and a guy named Young Child.
Those are two of my favorite party DJs, and why? Because they bring that energy of performance. They really perform when they DJing. That’s what I tell. DJing is not just about playing the right records. It’s about playing the right records at the right time and saying the right thing to go with that record. A lot of DJs and hosts don’t get that. They just scream on a mic and they want to be loud, and they stream their name all night. But it’s about setting up records and creating the theater of the mind.
So, if I say something about right now, I’m thirsty and I’m drinking water. I come right on with water dance because it has to be a thing that you’re painting a picture. That’s something that I do as well as my guy’s DJ Self and Young Child because they do amazingly. Like I said, I will put us three us three against any of your favorite DJs in the world, anybody. You can name it. I mean, any anybody. I don’t care who it is.
When it comes to party rocking because there’s different types of DJs. You have turntables who are really technical, but they suck at rocking the party. But then you have some DJs that can rock a party, but their skill set sucks. Like they can’t scratch and blend. So, I think that’s one thing that separates me is that I’m at turntables first, so I can battle with the best of them, but I also can rock a party with the best of them.
A lot of people can’t do both. A lot of people are really good at their music selection and their curators of the culture. But put them in a battle hands-on; they can’t do any scratching, checking, like nothing. They’re no scratch, no crabs, no orbits. They don’t have that skill set.
[Hassahn]: I’ve been to a lot of parties and one thing that I can’t stand. I have a great appreciation for music, so I do like music history, music culture, and all that, but I don’t really want that at a party. I’ve been to parties where the DJ is trying to do that, and it kind of kills the vibe of the party. I’m like, “Bro, that’s not the spot for that.” I appreciate that if I was in your personal studio and you were walking me through this history lesson.
[DJ Quicksilva]: What happens is a lot of DJs play for themselves. They have sets.
[Hassahn]: Very true
[DJ Quicksilva]: They have like real sets, and they plan. They put it in their Serato and prepare, and they have a set, and no matter who they’re playing for, they play the exact same set. I never ever do sets ever. I’ve never planned out my set. I literally get to the club 20-30 minutes prior, listen to what the DJs playing before me, and I’ll look at everybody and see what’s working and what’s not, and I’ll know. Okay, I’m not playing this because he played this, and they stopped dancing. Oh, he played that, they got up. All right. So, I know the direction I want to go in, and I just get on my first record from there. Everything else is easy to me.
[Hassahn]: Speaking of things being easy to you and you said that, also you’ve mentioned this twice. You said, “Theater of the mind,” and you first brought it up about talking about being a DJ on the radio. What was that transition like for you? I know you were hesitant. You didn’t even want to do it at first, but what was that transition like going from the party street DJ, going into radio, and what change what changes did you have to make, if any?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Great question, by the way. I mean, a big difference because DJing on the radio and DJing in the clubs are night and day. A lot of guys are really good on the radio, but they suck in the clubs. A lot of guys are really good in the clubs, but they don’t get the concept of radio. So, it was hard for me at first. I was really young. I was 18 when I first started mixing radio, but I was 21 when I got my first full-time gig.
That’s when I really like I wanted to just DJ. I love rocking a party. I love being in the public and with people around me and feeding off the energy. With radio, it’s not that. Radio you might have a million people listening, but you can’t see anybody. So, you have to really train your mind to act like you’re in a certain place to keep yourself in the zone, and also, a lot of records that work on radio, a lot of records that work in the club, they don’t translate on the radio. So, there’s certain big records of the club bangers but on the radio, nobody wants to hear it and vice versa. So, I had to really learn the difference between these radio records and these club bangers, and it took me a while. But once I got it, it’s effortless at this point.
[Hassahn]: Now, I know Thea Mitchum is the one that sort of talked you into going into radio and kind of put you on in a sense. What is it that she saw in you, or did she tell you what she saw in you that made her say, “Hey, you need to be a personality, not just a DJ?”
[DJ Quicksilva]: Thea, I love her to death. I tell everybody, she definitely gets a lot of credit for my radio career, hands down. She came to a club where I was DJing. I was already DJing on the radio, but I wasn’t on that personality yet. She came to a club and she saw me DJ and she saw how people reacted, and I remember her saying to me, “You’re way too talented to just be a DJ.” I was like, “Nah, I like DJing. Radios corny.
All those guys on the radio, they’re corny in real life. Like them guys, those are the guys that were corny in high school, and then they got a radio job, and now they’re cool all the sudden. So, I’m like, I don’t want to be in that world at all.” She’s like, “No, Quick, trust me. It’ll change your life,” and I’m like, “All right. I’ll listen to you,”
But Thea, once again, she’s never told me anything wrong, so I listened to her. She said, “I’ll coach you. I’ll teach you how to do airchecks. I’ll teach you how to do radio breaks.” Every day she coached me for about a year straight, and I’m glad she did because becoming an on-air personality has changed my life. I went from just being a DJ on the show to now having my own show, and now, I have a syndicated show that’s heard in 10 cities. None of that would have happened if it wasn’t for me listening to Thea and pursuing an on-air personality job.
[Hassahn]: Now, knowing that you have a syndicated show and not just a local radio show and I know you’ve been in the radio game for years, do you prepare differently knowing that people are listening to you in different markets?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Absolutely. right now, I have a team. So, back then, it was just me. Now, I have a producer. I have a co-host, digital. So, right now, we show prep every day before the show. We figure out what we’re going to talk about. We see what’s trending worldwide. We see what’s trending in each market. Whatever’s popular in pop culture or so, we kind of prepare everything. Then we come together as a unit before the show and discuss what are we going to talk about every break. So, right now, it’s a machine that’s behind the Quicksilva show.
[Hassahn]: Speaking of the machine before you even got to that. I recall you saying something, and everybody says this in radio, “You’re not in radio, until you get fired.” I think you said you had an aha moment at that time at the importance of diversifying your portfolio.
[DJ Quicksilva]: Yeah.
[Hassahn]: Can you talk to me about that moment and where your mindset was and what you did after that to get to where you are now?
[DJ Quicksilva]: First, what I’m going to say as a guy who’s been in radio for 20 plus years, and I interview people all the time. You’re a really dope interviewer because you really do your research.
[Hassahn]: I appreciate that, man.
[DJ Quicksilva]: You do your research. I do a lot of interviews, and people don’t know anything about me, but I can tell you did some research. So, I commend you, man. It’s definitely commendable, brother. But back to your question. That aha moment, you’re absolutely right. 2001 was the year when I got my first radio job. So, this is like my first full-time gig, my first real salary making some real money. I bought my first house. I’m 21 years old. I spent all my money, and I buy a house out in the suburbs. I mean, in my mind, I’m living. I’m good now. Right?
Unfortunately, I closed on my home on a Tuesday, and that Friday, the station flipped formats and fired everybody. Everybody from Thea down on, everybody. Me, all the jocks, all the DJs, we all got fired within one day. I remember Thea saying to me, “You haven’t been welcome to radio until you’ve been fired especially for something that you had nothing to do with. But now, take this as a learning experience to never put all your eggs in one basket. Use radio what you need to use it for because all they’re doing is using you. Radio cares about revenue ratings, so the person who brings the revenue ratings, they love you. The second your revenue and rating stop, they hate you.
So, now, once you realize radio really doesn’t love you how you think they love you, like these companies, they’re not loyal to you. They’ll fire you, or they’ll throw you on anything to make them to save themselves. Once you realize that, then you now, you use ready for what you need for.
Become that voice on and off radio and become that voice of the people on and off radio. That’s something that I’ve done is that whether I’m on radio or not, I’m still the same person. I don’t lose anything. I’ve now connected enough with my audience that they don’t care what radio station I’m at. I’ve been at every radio station known to man, and my audience always supports me because I support them.
I think that’s a lot of times where radio jocks getting—they get so caught in the hype of being at the radio station that they don’t realize it’s bigger than that radio station. Quicksilva is Quicksilva whether I’m at your station, that station, this company, that company. I’m still me. I’m still going to be a man of the people. I’m still going to be at your kid’s graduation speaking. I’m still going to be at your favorite club DJing. I’m still going to be at the march on Washington with Black Lives Matter with my shirt on speaking at the people. Like I’m really that person off of radio. So, now and that’s what that taught me is that once you become that person off of radio, radio can’t make or break you.
A lot of people, they made radio such a priority. The second they got fired from radio within a month, they were done. Nobody’s booking them anymore. You don’t hear about them anymore. That’s not me. I’ve walked away from radio tons of times in my career, and I’ve never lost anything.
I never lost an endorsement because everything I do, I do through me, not through the radio station. That way, if the radio station decides to find me today, cool. Shake hands, no hard feelings. But everything that I came with, I’m leaving with. These are all my endorsements. These are my stuff, and I’ve set myself up like that on purpose because I’ve been in a position where radio dictated my life. It happened one time, and I said it’ll never happen again.
[Hassahn]: Right. Now, correct me if I’m wrong. I think I saw somewhere, are you a club owner too? You own one back in Baltimore?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Yeah.
[Hassahn]: Yeah, I thought so. Now, speaking of that. How has the club, the radio, your traveling gigs, and stuff like that, been impacted by the pandemic? With the way you have diversified your portfolio, I’m sure that helps. Because this pandemic has so many effects on brick-and-mortar businesses, the way we fly and travel the world, et cetera. How has your portfolio helped you during a time like this?
[DJ Quicksilva]: It definitely hit me hard like hit the rest of the world. I mean, the pandemic is real. But one thing I would say if you’re a true hustler, you’ll figure it out. So, immediately when the pandemic first happened, and all the clubs shut down and everything shut down, that’s when the virtual space became really popular. Shout out to my guy D Nice, who’s really owned the virtual space. I mean, that’s a great friend of mine, great mentor by the way.
But what I did was when that first happened, I started branding myself around certain events virtually. When I realized a lot of these companies have what they call marketing budgets, and because the in-person or on-premise accounts shut down, they had all this money out there for virtual space. That’s where the business incomes in the Quicksilva service. I started my research and realizing, this company still has x amount of dollars that they have to spend. If they don’t spend it, they lose it. Now, let me present them with an opportunity to now get their message still out there, but on the virtual space.
So, I started doing a ton of virtual events, which mean that for the financial total, I was losing not being in person. I ended up making on some weeks more than I would make if I was DJing. I mean, I really treat it just like a business. Once I really got so big on the virtual side, a lot of publications start spotlighting a lot of my Instagram lives because I started really marketing and promoting. I wasn’t just going live. I would get a flyer made, and I would do certain events. I would have it sponsored by this company, and it made my events virtually look bigger than life. But also, that kept me relevant when everybody else wasn’t doing virtually things. It was only a handful of us that were consistently. D Nice has been the most consistent, but outside of him, it was only about five of us that were really like every day doing something. It was a different theme or something like that.
But what I’m blessed to happen was as soon as the world started opening back up, Quicksilva was already top of mind. Just this week alone to give you an idea, I’ve DJ’ed in Houston, Miami. I go to LA Thursday and Friday. I’m in Charlotte Saturday, then back in Virginia Sunday. That’s seven events in one week in six different cities. I mean, so, when the pandemic opens, it’s still going on, but people are starting to travel again. All those promos remember that Quicksilva was the guy that did the New Year’s Eve virtually then, and now I’ve been top of mind. So, honestly, the pandemic has been great to me.
I started realizing, like you say, a lot of the brick-and-mortar things didn’t make sense. So, I started figuring out what do people need and how can I get it to virtually? That’s when a lot of different business ventures down to my daughter’s company, Fashion Action to a lot of stuff, I just really started hustling. I tell everybody, “If you have the hustle in you, it’s something you can’t teach. If you have the hustle in you, you will always figure it out.” I mean, that’s what I started doing is figuring it out, and by the grace of God, using my hustle and my resources, I’ve been great. Honestly, financially, I I’ve been like great, great. I’m glad the last few months. When I say business is booming, like Jesus Christ.
[Hassahn]: I love it!
[DJ Quicksilva]: Business is booming right now. I’m not complaining. I am blessed, blessed, and highly favored.
[Hassahn]: Oh, that’s what’s up. Now, do you see the virtual space still being a good money maker after the World opens up, or do you think it’ll just go away, and everybody will—
[DJ Quicksilva]: It’s not going to go away, but it’s already been minimized. I’ll give an example. At one point, a lot of us virtual DJs were doing like a certain amount of numbers, and that’s just used like, I don’t know, D Nice. That’s a great friend of mine. When he went viral, he had like a hundred thousand people on his live which had never been done in the history of Instagram. Instagram had to like redo the analytics to keep up with him. If you look at his numbers now, they’re not that anymore. So, now on a good night, he might have 5,000 people, which is still great.
[Hassahn]: I feel you.
[DJ Quicksilva]: If he promoted, he might get 10,000 which is still phenomenal. Don’t minimize that, but he’s never doing 100,000 people again because now a lot of those people are now back active. They’re back traveling. Even my lives on a much smaller level. In my big lives, I was doing maybe 2,000 people. Now, when I go live, I might get 500 people, which is not bad, but it’s not the same numbers because a lot of people were home, and we were stuck home. Now, you have the option to travel if you want. You don’t have to, if you want, and a lot of people are now exercising their right to travel and they’re back outside as we say, I don’t want to be in the house Saturday night watching my Instagram. I want to be at the brunch.
[DJ Quicksilva]: Smoking my hookah and watching girls and that’s what people want now. People are back to that and they’re back to it at a rapid rate. I was making the virtual numbers. It’s just not as popular. I’ll check you out if I feel like it, but I’m not staying home on a Sunday doing brunch, watching you DJ. I want to go to the brunch now, and now, I have the option to go. Six months ago, I couldn’t go.
[DJ Quicksilva]: Now that the options there, I’m out of here. I’m outside.
[Hassahn]: Right. Now, you kind of briefly mentioned this a little bit earlier. You talked about your daughter’s company. Have you instilled that hustler [DJ spirit into your kids?
[DJ Quicksilva]: Absolutely. My entire family from my wife to my son and my daughter, they all have the hustle. We all have the mentality. We never want to be dependent or work for anybody, and I say that like we have so many multiple streams of income at this point from clubs to DJ schools to boutiques to real estate to you name it. We have enough going on within ourselves that if I ever lose anything, that’s like a radio or something, I’m okay. I’ve instilled that in them. I always said, “You never want to be dependent on anybody or make someone feel like you need that money because if someone feels like you need their money, you’re controllable.”
The hardest person to control is someone who does not need your money because he can walk away at any given time. Most people can’t walk away from their job. Why? They got a rent, mortgage, car insurance, so they hate their boss, and they hate the situation. But they get up every Monday, go to work. They say, “I hate my job. I hate my job,” and they go to that job every day until they retire because they have bills. I never want to be in that position, and I’ve been in that position before, but at this point in my life, I’m not anymore. I mean, I work now. I never say I work for anybody. I work with people now because I love what I do. Not because I need a paycheck, and I think that’s it and I’ve instilled that into my family. You never want to be dependent on the paycheck every two weeks because, at the end of the day, that person controls you. You think you’re the boss until your boss walks in, and then you got to talk differently. I don’t have to talk differently around anybody. I don’t care if it’s the boss or the owner. Like I’m an owner. I have 50 employees. The same with you. Like we’re the same person, but a lot of times people feel like we’re not the same person because I’m your boss. Nah, you’re not my boss. I’m the boss of my world. I got ten companies and each company has employees. You work here as the manager like we’re not the same, but in your mind you’re a tear above me because you’re technically my manager, and some people that doesn’t sit well with them.
But for me, I make it very clear. I don’t work for anybody. I work with a lot of people. I mean, I’m endorsed by more companies than I can count, but I don’t work for any of them. From Puma to DTLR to Remy Martin to Indigo. I mean, tons of stuff, man. I got so much going on, but I don’t work for any of them. I work with them, and we do a great job, and we make each other money. They pay me, but I also help make them a lot of money so that’s why they don’t mind paying me. I think that’s just the mentality that I’ve taken amongst things to just to make sure that I’m always myself no matter what.
[Hassahn]: Man, that’s so dope. I know you’re an advocate for the black community, and you go stand at rallies, and you speak to kids and things of that nature. I know you also do your Vitamin of the Day, which I think is really essential as well. Bro, but just listening, you have such a dope formula, I guess I want to say. And I know everybody’s formula has to be a little different, but have you literally ever thought about packaging up this wisdom that you have and taking that kind out on the road and being like a motivational speaker? Because your story’s so dope, man. I just really think I see something in you with your hustle mentality, the different companies. I just think that’s something that the black community specifically could benefit from.
[DJ Quicksilva]: That’s amazing. I guess you’re getting exclusive because you’re absolutely right. I actually my vitamin of the day has taken on the life of his own to the point that we’re already getting bookings for the vitamin every day. I’m in a space right now where we’re starting to, now, really market those bookings where you can book me. I’ve done graduations in the last few weeks. A lot of different companies that booked me to talk to their startup employees to kind of motivate them. So, the answer is yes. I’m also working on—I’m giving you a lot of exclusives, man.
[Hassahn]: I’ll take it.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I’m working on right now. This is one of the reasons I’m going to LA. I’m working on a documentary, which is what’s going to be like a short feature film that’s going to be called “Who is Quicksilva?” This is really going everything that you asked about, everything will be in this movie. To a point where, who knows where this movie could take me? I have some of the biggest producers and writers that’s going to help me with this, but it’s not going to be like some homeboy network thing. I’m going to put some real time and money into this and pray for me not just to get myself out there more, but like you say really to just inspire someone. I’m at a point in my life now where money doesn’t excite me. Fame doesn’t excite me. I’ve done that. Been there, done that, made that. Now, it’s really helping others. That’s really my mission statement in life right now is. Helping others and inspiring others to never let what you go through in life dictate the outcome. That’s really my mission statement. We’ve all been through a lot of shit in our lives that could have killed us, could have broke us, but we’re still here for a reason. Once you realize your purpose, you walk in your purpose, and you make your purpose a reality. That’s something that I want to show people, not by my words, but by my actions. So, I’m pray for that when this movie comes out. A lot of people are inspired to say if Quick can do it, I know I can get it. I can do it because his story is 10 times worse than mine.
Like you say, a lot of stuff that I’ve been through my life, people don’t even know about. When they see it in this movie, they’re going to be like, “That’s crazy. I had no idea this guy’s been through so much stuff.” I’ve been in five accidents that should have killed me. My last two accidents, I told my vehicles. I mean, God has a purpose for me in life. God has a purpose. I’ve been in so many situations that literally should have killed me, but I’m not, and it’s not by coincidence. This is not an accident that I’m still here. It’s not an accident that after close to 30 years, I’m still relevant. I’m on top of my game. These are not accidents. Like I said, my life is tailor-made and right now I can’t wait for the world to see why.
[Hassahn]: That’s what’s up, bro. We only got about four minutes, so I’m going to let you get out of here, man. But I was going to say..
[DJ Quicksilva]: Yeah. Thank you, man.
[Hassahn]: You definitely are an inspirational cat. I can just tell that, man, but also you seem like to me confident but unselfish at the same time.
[DJ Quicksilva]: Absolutely.
[Hassahn]: What I mean by your unselfishness – I remember I think I watched the clip of you in your own club, and I think you were showing your staff Diddy was on like video giving them inspiration and stuff like that. My question behind that is man. how important is it to you to share the gifts that you’ve been given? It seems like you’re a sharing type of guy.
[DJ Quicksilva]: I’ll leave you with a quote. “To whom much is given, much is required.” That’s the quote that I live by, and I don’t do it with the intention to get anything back. I do it with the intention to help you and inspire you. I’ve been blessed in my life, and I think at this moment in my life. That’s why I said I’m not motivated by money or fame or cars or houses or jewelry, whatever. I’m really motivated by watching someone else win, and I’ve had so many DJs in my life that I’ve helped out, and they’re winning now. I get so excited when I see somebody praising the DJ that I helped out. I never would publicly be like, “Well, they’re there because I put not there.” They’re there because I showed them the blueprint, and they followed it, and now they’re winning from it, and that gives me more joy than anything that I can do in my life right now is watching other people become successful.
My goal is to make everybody around me millionaires, and I’m going to do that. I’m going to do that, and I don’t have the answer right this second how, but I know what’s going to happen because I’m not going to stop until it happens.
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