Risk a vital ingredient to success: NY DJ Aaron James

By Vishnu Makhijani

New Delhi– Risk is a vital ingredient of success, says one of New York’s busiest and most celebrated DJs Aaron James, adding risk and courage being universal, he would be nowhere without them.

“I firmly believe that risk itself is a vital ingredient to success, and without the courage to take any risk, the glass ceiling is so much lower for us all regardless of vocation. Risk and courage is universal, I would be nowhere today without it,” James, who has spent the last 20 years rocking parties at home and across the globe and is no stranger to India, having previously spun records in Delhi and Mumbai, told IANS in an email interview from the Big Apple.

“I’ve grown comfortable with the idea of being a small- to medium-sized happy fish in a large pond. I’m still courageous but weigh the risks much more deliberately,” he added.

DJs Aaron James,

In fact, it was propensity to take risks that saw the DJ bug bite James, who will be displaying his skills at Mumbai’s tony Rodeo Drive in suburban Andheri (East) on Thursday.

“Funny story, as I got into DJing quite accidentally. I was a 9-5 suit-and-tie type of person, working as professional in New York City way back in 1997. My mate, who managed a trendy, popular bar/restaurant in Soho encouraged me to make some mixtapes that he could play in the bar on cassette tape. Believe it or not, they were so well-received that when an opening came up on the DJ schedule for the lounge downstairs, he asked me if I’d be interested to DJ one of the best nights.

“At the time I had no clue how to DJ but I was intrigued by the idea and decided to get out of my comfort zone and go for it,” added James, whose resume reads like a Who’s Who, having performed along with some of the top producers on the planet such as John Digweed, The Chainsmokers, Mark Ronson and Tomcraft.

He purchased the necessary DJ gear on his credit card and fell in love with it on the very first attempt.

Very soon thereafter, James was approached by one of the top party promoters in the city who gave him his first big break at one of the hottest nightclubs at the time, on what was to become the biggest night of the week.

“Soon thereafter I quit my day job and never looked back,” James said.

Today, his dynamic repertoire, unique sound and consummate professionalism are sought after by some of the most influential personalities and organisations in the world.

The moment he first realised that DJing was a golden ticket to travelling and seeing the world, that became his life’s mission — and having made it successfully in New York City, that alone was a real asset on the international scene.

“It’s one of the main reasons I have chosen to keep the ‘NYC’ affiliation with my name due to the considerable weight it carries abroad. After paying my dues stateside I had no other dream but to take advantage of not just the skill I had learned, but the place from which I came… and see and do and learn and grow and progress as far and as wide as it would take me,” explained James.

What kind of music will he be playing in Mumbai?

“It will be very much an offering of the very best and hottest R&B, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Twerk, and Trap. But done in a way that, while appealing to the masses, still keeps a signature style and, most importantly, is memorable,” James said.

How does he see the road ahead?

“I am moving steadily toward a full-time DJ resident position in the thriving, vibrant market of Hong Kong and moving away from the life of a freelancer… Funny, where I used to scoff at the idea of stability and staying put I now very much welcome it… And investing all my energies with a single company in one city, as opposed to spreading them far and wide from one uncertain paycheck to another,” James concluded. (IANS)

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