As we kick off our Salute The DJ interview series, the goal is to remind the landscape that the sonic ebb and flow still runs through the hands that push theturntables.
DJ Freestyle Steve has worked and toured with a plethora of top-shelf names such as Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Who he has worked with does not make him tick.
What fuels his game is his versatile ability to take import the Miami sound into every mix, show and opportunity that he gets.
He recently sat with us and opened up about his past, present and future.
We all know what you have done but what direction are you headed in?
Right now I am working on mixes for the international market. I am building my brand up to capitalize with some of the things that I have done coming off the tour with Justin. Just trying to keep it going,
Can you talk about some of the mixes in depth?
The last one that I did was Aaliyah vs. Justin [Timberlake]. I thought that would be pretty cool.
I am working on another one with Tim. I have a series that I am doing called Versus. I just like to take two of the hottest artists alive or dead and bring them together.
But there is some EDM work that I am getting in and some international work [as well].
There is no date set brother; you know I play with it in my head before I set it loose. I need to live with it. I visualize it all first before I go and do it.
To dip into your past, can we talk about what three of your proudest accomplishments are?
My proudest accomplishments? I think I will start with traveling the world. That is something right there. The second would be is that I can say that I have DJ’d for the biggest artists on the planet.
It’s one thing to say you have been in the same room with Justin, or Missy [Elliot] or Timberland.
Its another thing to say that you have been [picked] to DJ for them. To have people or artists of that caliber dig your style is something you can’t really explain.
The last one is that to be able to have a dream and see that dream come true and to have favorites and to be able to DJ for them…that’s big.
What do you want to be a part of now?
I want to really be a part of breaking or guiding new DJs. I don’t want them to go through the heartache or struggle that I went through.
I think by mentoring these younger guys and showing them the ropes, I can give back.
Nobody did that for me besides my best friend from school. Really nobody to call and you know get that right advice.
Do you see yourself doing something creating a DJ academy or a similar platform that will allow young DJs to interact with you on a large scale?
I mean right now I do something like that on a smaller scale. I have DJs that can call for my advice.
We can talk about what is working or what they are working on…things like that.
There are speaking engagements and all of that and it’s just about getting out there. Maybe somebody wants advice about working with artists you never know.
Having spent a lot of time in Miami, I know that you rep Miami and that you blend Miami into how you do things. How do you make that happen?
One thing that I do from the jump is let you know I am from Miami. I DJ like I am from Miami but I know how to play the game.
I might be in China and they may not know the songs or the music, but I will adapt and the way I spin the music will let you know that I am from Miami.
The way we speak over the songs and everything, that part about me will never change. You know what it is that you are booking me for. I believe in staying true to yourself.
If you made it this far you can just take what you do and add to that but you don’t change it.
When it’s time to get creative, do you start with the song first or the mix first?
I think about the mix first. I need to know what direction I want it to go and then that gives me the song.
I have to think about the mix first. I don’t wanna waste anybody’s time if nobody is interested in those artists [that are featured in the mix].
Could you see yourself holding down a radio position as a mix show DJ?
No. I don’t want to be stuck. I like the freedom to travel. I have had opportunities to do it but… I don’t want to get stuck playing the same music over and over again.
I definitely love the freedom that I have now.
Do DJs still break records?
Yeah brother, you still need the DJs in the club to believe in that record and get it played.
You can have a hit online but that is just an internet hit. You need the DJs in the club to really break a record.
Have you ever seen records be huge club records that fail to connect outside the club in the street?
Well if it works in the club it usually works in the street. But it all depends. My big thing is will it work on radio or is it on radio.
I would prefer to work with something that has the potential to have longevity behind it it all depends.
There [is not] just one way. But yeah I have seen records that worked in the club not work outside the club. It has happened.
Can we talk about the DJ Uncle Al? I think you alluded to him earlier. I know that he was very instrumental in helping you come up. Can you share with our readers that may not know about him what he was all about? What do you want people to know about him?
That he was good for his city and that he was always about the kids. That he always loved the city and that he was one of the first ones to promote peace in the neighborhood.
I don’t care what anybody has to say he was the best to ever do it. You can say Jam Master Jay or [anybody else] and it doesn’t matter to me.
You could have put him up against any of them and he would have come out on top.
He always promoted peace and he was good to his city and it’s just unfortunate how his situation happened to him.
Final words? What else do you want people to know about you?
I am a hard worker. That is the number one thing. I have never burned any bridges so that is real simple.
I don’t like to talk about things until they have worked out but I have some things in the works. I will defiantly let your readers know
Watch : DJ Freestyle Steve Perform At Miami’s Bamboo (South Beach)