Find something you’re passionate about and go after it relentlessly. I knew I was going to be an entertainer from the moment I did my first live performance on stage in high school. The moment when you feel apprehensive about taking a chance is the exact moment when you should take the chance. I chose the road less traveled when I decided to drop out of college and pursue music full time. That is not something I suggest specifically for others to do; however. Education is extremely important.
I had the pleasure of interviewing A Fly Guy; one of Miami’s most in demand DJs/Entertainers. Fly Guy is a visionary, a dreamer, and a burst of raw talent in the music scene. Blending impeccable taste with a feel for the moment, Fly Guy channels his unadulterated passion through his musical performances, bringing a surge of energy to any room he plays.
Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?
In 2008 I moved from Brooklyn NY to Miami FL. I found myself in a difficult position financially because I wasn’t able to find a job that would enable me to support myself and the child I was expecting. Being a college dropout, not many places were looking to hire me; thus I had to work two retail jobs to make ends meet. 6am — 11pm 5 days a week and sometimes on weekends, I worked tirelessly just to be able to sustain some sort of living. During that time, when I needed to de-stress from overworking, I would frequent a local bar where some DJ friends of mine threw a weekly party on Sunday nights (Classic Sundays at Love Hate). The music and the atmosphere there was almost therapeutic for me. I started developing the desire to become a DJ. I never envisioned turning into a career at that time. I just wanted to be able to contribute to the vibe and energy of a place that was keeping me from losing my sanity. Fast forward to today, I just celebrated my tenth year in the Miami nightlife industry as a professional DJ.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When I first came into the DJ industry in 2008, I received a lot of what people would describe as “hate”; from older DJs, friends of DJs, strangers. I came in at a time where technology made it somewhat “easier” for people to try the craft of DJing. Gone were the days of lugging around seven or eight crates of records, or even Caselogic books full of CDs. It was now the era of the mp3 download, so many felt as though I didn’t pay enough dues to be considered a professional; whereas, from my perspective, it didn’t matter how many crates you carried before I came along, there were still fundamentals of the art of DJing that I practiced then just as my predecessors did. I earned my position, from day one. No shortcuts. In Miami, another hurdle you face is being a [Black] DJ. I have been told on numerous occasions reasons why I wouldn’t get booked at certain venues is because they felt I would bring in the “wrong” crowd. That was told me directly from management. I worked hard diligently to get my reputation to a point where club GM’s, owners, corporate entities and so forth saw past my race and just viewed me as an incredible entertainer.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I have been a competitor and an athlete since I was a kid. Quit has never been a word in my vocabulary. I took all the backlash and naysayers of those who did not want to see me succeed and used it as fuel for my “fire” to continue to push harder.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
In the past decade I came into the business with a few fellow DJs. Over the years, I’ve seen many of them fall off, or give up chasing the dream. I didn’t want that to be me. I have sacrificed so much because I knew it would take 100% commitment in order to achieve the kind of success I wanted. GRIT plays a major role in that relentless effort to do whatever [within morals & ethics] that is necessary to reach your goal.
So, how are things going today? 🙂
Things are amazing today. I count my blessings every morning for being able to make a living through my passion for music and entertainment. I’m only one of a very short list of DJs who can say that I currently DJ in two of America’s top 10 nightclubs, LIV & STORY as part of Headliner Market Group. I travel around the country and the world playing for hundreds of people of all races, cultures, and creeds, who all have one common bond…MUSIC. And I’m proud that I didn’t have to compromise myself or my values in order to get ahead in the industry.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)
1. Find something you’re passionate about and go after it relentlessly. I knew I was going to be an entertainer from the moment I did my first live performance on stage in high school.
2. The moment when you feel apprehensive about taking a chance is the exact moment when you should take the chance. I chose the road less traveled when I decided to drop out of college and pursue music full time. That is not something I suggest specifically for others to do; however. Education is extremely important.
3. Choose a mentor. I have had the good fortune of being mentored by legendary DJs in the early stages of my career.
4. Trust your instincts. The one thing I rely on above all else is my gut.
5. Write down your goals. Things are always easier to accomplish when they are written and can be looked at.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
Unbeknownst to her, my mother has helped me the most in my life. She is the strongest human being I know. The pain she had to endure with the death of my father and then being diagnosed with breast cancer, only to overcome it and be more healthy now than ever before has shown me what true courage, determination, and GRIT is.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
A few times a year I go and speak to students of all ages at different school and community organizations. I have made it a point to show that by having GRIT and refusing to quit, you can achieve success. A positive male black image is important for the youth to see moreso now than ever before.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m in the conceptualizing stage of a memoir I would like published one day. In it, I will describe what it’s been like as one of the top DJs in this era of nightlife and how I was able to achieve success and also have it be a motivational tool for future entrepreneurs to gain insight from.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
I would advise them to listen to the ideas of their employees. It can strengthen their resolve and give them a sense of empowerment which, to me, are two main ingredient to success.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would start a movement to change the images of African-American people on present day television programming. The majority of shows on air depict us in a very negative light that I think is detrimental to the youth nowadays. I would push for programming similar to what we had in the 90s as a movement (i.e. A Different World, Teen Summit, BET News, Sister Sister, etc)
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Before I left for college, my stepfather told me that whatever I want to do in life, “If it’s got to be, it’s up to me”. I took that as basically, don’t depend on anyone to achieve the goals I set for myself. Get help wherever you can along the way, but it has to start and end with me.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My Instagram and twitter are @AFLYGUY, as well as my Apple Music profile. And my website is nowthatsfly.com