DJ Smallie is working hard to become a big deal in the deejay camp of mixing music.
The 24-year-old, who was spinning his magic from 2010 at the age of 14, hopes to have his name on every tongue.
“My goal as a deejay is to be something different and unique in the industry. I want that when you hear DJ Smallie, you know something different is gonna come. With my music, I want people to feel an escape away from all the troubles and problems. I always try to [create] mixes that make you go: ‘I can’t remember the last time I heard this’… music that makes you want to share it with a friend or family member to try to make them feel just as good as the mix made you feel,” he told Bajan Vibes.
Smallie has a proven track record playing at events like Summer Jam Sundays, Suga Ultra Lounge, Fyah D Wuk, 98.1 FM, 95.3 FM, Roberts Revellers Truck Foreday, Grand Kadooment, weddings and at popular hotels. And though work can get busy on the nights of play, he has a way of psyching up himself mentally.
“When I know I have a long night, I usually boost myself by listening to something with energy, pop music, soca, dancehall or bashment. Just something that has some hype to it to make me feel alive and ready to do my best at my gig.”
But, like everyone else, the deejay, whose real name is Shane Small, has his fair share of challenges.
“My biggest challenge is always picking up a microphone and speaking, it makes me so nervous to do it. It’s something that I really want to do, but I am so shy when it comes to that.”
The past student of Lester Vaughan said that when he first started, his family wasn’t supporting his career at all but after seeing how passionate he was about it, they started to give the support that was needed.
Virtual DJ, the online app, also jump-started DJ Smallie’s career along with the support of a friend.
“I [was] by [my best friend] one day on a computer and I saw this file named Virtual DJ. I opened it and started playing around with it and instantly fell in love. I went home the same day and downloaded it. I used to upload them to my Facebook account. It got so bad that I put up so many mixes that I got banned from uploading videos.”
Shane said he then created a page with his first ever DJ name, Kickass Soundz. It was after that that people started asking him to play at parties, graduations and fetes. The deejay said after two years he had a conversation with himself which proved to be the turning point in his career.
“I said if I really want to be someone in life I need to change this name and start fresh. I went through so many names before I got to DJ Smallie, which was literally in front of me the whole time because my last name is Small. From then, I put my head down and made something of myself.”
“Everything happens for a reason”, are his words to live by and it comforts him when things may not go the way he thought but he still pushes himself to greatness.
“I want to see myself at a radio station or to have my mixes being aired on a radio and touring overseas playing at carnivals, clubs and events doing what I love.”
Currently, he said he can see himself entering the RedBull ThreeStyle Championships; but give him a few years, he said, and maybe he’ll grab the bull by the horns.
DJ Puffy, 2016 winner of that competition, is a constant source of inspiration along with DJ Rico Love, Jus-Jay, DJ Blank, Blaqrose, A.O.N Soundz, DJ Maniack, Menace, Jus D, Hypasounds and Lead Pipe. He said he rated these local DJ’s and the industry as a whole.
“Deejaying locally is great, not everyone suits going abroad and deejaying. Barbados is filled with talented DJ’s and we are constantly making a name for ourselves.”
Currently, COVID-19 restrictions have everything at a standstill. DJ Smallie has moved from being busy regularly to now being at home for an entire month. He said, however, social media keeps him going.
“The [social media] lives DJs do are great. They keep people distracted for a short period of time giving them hope that we’ll be on the outside soon again. That’s exactly what we need to get through this pandemic.”
He added: “This type of marketing in these times is very important because social media plays a huge role in society. It’s also much easier than to create a brand and name for yourself but it takes a lot of work and a very focused person to get it done.”
Outside of mixing music, DJ Smallie said that he loves photography and if not for music he would choose to have a camera in hand. Actually, this was his pastime in secondary school.
“Put a camera in my hand. I will take pictures from now until the battery is dead,” he said cheekily.
“Photography is always something I loved doing when I was in school. Every day I took a little camera I had and took pictures of my friends – things we did at school, our classes, things we made, even down to my lunch I took pictures of. Just like being a DJ it takes hard work and a lot of practice and it’s an amazing feeling seeing something in your head and bringing it to life.”
DJ Smallie believes in self-love and he advises others to invest in themselves and to always ask questions. “Never be scared to reach out to other DJs and ask for some help or advice.”
In the near future, DJ Smallie said he sees himself in a radio station or touring around the world playing in different countries, clubs and venues. (MR)