Entertainment Magazine: Music: DJ Charlie White

Spinning with DJ Charlie White

He rocked the stage alongside Justin Timberlake & FreeSol; now get to know DJ Charlie White as he stands out solo in our interview…

By: K.Kirker

DJ Charlie White
I was lucky enough to catch a show back in September that had this awesome DJ opening for FreeSol & Justin Timberlake.

I was on my feet dancing and having a good time and it wasn’t even the main act yet!!

Who do I owe the awesome music choice and booty shaking to?? The one and only DJ Charlie White!!

1.  So how did you get into being a DJ??

I happened to be the kid at middle school parties who took the music selection overly serious.  I wanted to make pre mix CDs for these small get-togethers that us 12 year olds would plan.  It just happened to translate to something I wanted to do the older I got.  Middle school parties became high school, then college, then on tour in front of larger crowds.  It allowed me to express myself musically.  I gave the trumpet a chance from about 5th to 9th grade, but DJing was my passion.

2.  What gave u the initial push??

I loved the art of turntablism and using scratching/DJing as an instrument.  I loved bands like Incubus who also used a DJ in their live show. That’s probably why I am so comfortable touring with a live band.

3.  How did you chose what name to use??

I was on the fence about a name growing up. I had various little funny names throughout my early stages. When I got to Memphis, a college DJ by the name of DJ Chev started calling me “Charlie White”. When I showed up at a party, everyone was yelling “Charlie White”.  A lot of people ask if it’s because I’m a Caucasian guy who happens to have the name Charlie, but honestly, DJ Chev thought the name rolled off the tongue nicely. I couldn’t fight it.

DJ Charlie White

4.  What is your main style of DJing??

I try to incorporate the art of turntablism with party rocking.  I try to balance out technical skills with general song selection, mixing, and creativity.

5.  What kind of music did you grow up on??

My parents love Blues, Jazz, and Classic Rock. My older brother introduced me to Hip Hop.  I really like everything.  I went through a heavy reggae phase (Laughs).  I really just enjoy different genres for how they make me feel.  I listened to everything from Bob Dylan to Bush to even AC/DC . I love soul music so it’s fitting I ended up in Memphis.

6.  Tell me what is a current goal that you have and how do you plan on accomplishing it??

Currently I am DJing a lot of colleges in the South East as well as traveling and performing.  Not only did I spend 2011 touring with FreeSol, but I also performed solo at clubs, events, and parties across the country.  I’m really focused on getting into the summer festival circuit.  I love DJing as a performer as compared to just background music at a club. Getting in front of a large crowd at a festival has always been one of my favorite shows.

7.  How big is your vinyl collection??

It’s pretty extensive.  I don’t have an exact number, but I spent every Friday in High School, digging at the local record store.  I used to buy double copies of everything so I could beat juggle with the records. I also produce, so collecting vinyl for samples is something I built up.  Most of my record collection is back in Charlottesville, VA, but I brought some of my favorites to Memphis.

8.  Out of all the tunes you have, which one never fails??

To this day, there are classic records from my generation that never cease to clear a dance floor.  Most of the No Limit/Cash Money stuff from the 90’s seems to never fail. People connect with those dance songs.  A lot of today’s music is time sensitive.  It only is hot for a certain period of time, but there are records that never fail even as they get older. “This Is How We Do It” seems to transcend generations of kids. They still love it when it drops at a party.

 9.  What is your favorite song of all time and why??

My favorite song of all time happens to be “Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy”.  I realized it’s my favorite song because I catch myself rapping the song in everyday life.  Randomly in the grocery store, I might hum “It was all a dream”.  It’s kind of strange, but it shows that I love that song.  I had a debate on Twitter about the greatest verse in Hip Hop history.  I think it is the first verse to Juicy.

10. What do you think it is about music that brings everyone together or sets a mood??

Music happens to be one of the most expressive forms of raw emotion. The same way love or sports, may bring an emotion out of a person, I believe music has the capability to solve problems.  It gives people dreams, thoughts, or feelings.  A song may change your entire mood depending on what you play. It can set the tone for how your day carries out.

11. What shows did you start off doing and what kind of shows are you doing now??

I started doing parties for friends.  It was just fun to do. Then it became college parties.  Fraternity and sororities would book me for their formals, toga parties, or house parties.  I made the transition into DJing for Artists. I DJ’d for a lot of the well-known artists in Memphis whether it was Al Kapone, Skewby, or FreeSol.  I was able to perform alongside Justin Timberlake.  I became a club DJ and even a battle DJ. I perform at a lot of outdoor college events now. I’m opening up for ZZ Top in a few weeks so it varies! I think that helps me out as a DJ. I experience every type of crowd while performing.

12. You hail from Tennessee currently, but originally Va., so where is your favorite place to play and why??

Some of my favorite places to play are NYC, Nashville, and Memphis.  I also honestly love performing small markets such as Wyoming and Montana. They have a great energy. It was like they were happy to be at a live show (laughs).  Sometimes some of the bigger markets can be spoiled because of the amount of acts that come in. I really enjoyed Florida the last time I performed there.

13. When you do a set is it pre-planned or do you do what feels right in the moment??

I think it various. I have ideas before going in but things can change when I look at the crowd and start off. The set can make a total 180 if I feel like they are headed somewhere else.  I have segments I like to pre plan and produce but I also am open to what feels right on the fly.

14. When you are not DJing what do you like to do for fun??

I am pretty simple.  I like Whiskey, Baseball, and talking shit with friends.  I might be boring to some but I spend a lot of time in venues, clubs, and around people, so sometimes the simple things I tend to appreciate.

15. What is a day in the life of Charlie like??

A day in life of Charlie usually starts early with coffee, breakfast, and exercise.  Its music related for the rest of the day. I may spend the early part of the day practicing on the tables and organizing music. I tend to produce most of my remixes and beats in the mid-day.  I may go to various studios and work with other producers or artists. I work with a few people almost on a daily basis. When I’m in Memphis, I see Skewby, Judo, Crumbz, Free, and other talented guys quite often.  If I have a show I am planning for the set, organizing crates and making edits, but a lot of time is around the computer screen.  I love it though!

Okay here are a few fun questions:

 1.  Do you like Oreos with milk, without or not at all??

My Oreos have to be with milk!

2.  If you can only rescue one vinyl which would it be??

Original press of Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

3.  Favorite type of shoe??

A.D.I.D.A.S. (most likely due to FreeSol)                       

4. What would be your favorite quality in a girl??

I think she has to have the same love of music that I have.  She doesn’t necessarily have to be a musician but to have a passion for it like I do. That’s an easy connection right there.

5.  What would be a perfect day to you??

I’m one of the those guys who gets his thrills from performing live in front of a crowd as well as producing his own music.  If I could spin my own music live for a screaming crowd… that would be my perfect day. The night is coming to an end. There is a crowd anticipating a great show and they generally are excited to be there. I feed off the crowd. I could do that, 365 days out of the year.

6.  What do you do to unwind after a show??

I enjoy having my moment backstage where I just collect myself and analyze how everything went.  As soon as I chill out, I enjoy meeting people out in the crowd, drinking with fans, and just soaking in the night. I crash pretty hard once I’m back to a bed.  My days are usually pretty long and once I hit that pillow I’m out!

7.  What is your go to drink??

Irish Whiskey and Belgian Beer. Those two things make me incredibly satisfied if I’m craving a drink.  I tend not to drink too much before the show, but a shot or too before I hit the stage gets the blood going.

8.  What's your favorite quality that you have??

I think that I’m fairly organized.  It helps with DJing and planning ahead.  I can be a nerd if I’m on tour.  I like to research where to eat and places to go.  I get that quality from my Dad. I figure if I’m seeing a place I’ve never been, why go to a chain restaurant or stop for fast food?  It can be tough to make time for those things, but I love planning for my day.  It helps with the business aspect of DJing as well.

9.  What is your favorite show to watch??

I am a huge Zombie fan. I love “The Walking Dead”.  AMC has great shows. “Breaking Bad” is also amazing.

10. If not a DJ what else would you like to give a try??

I think I might dabble in the food industry.  It’s more of a passion but I think I could be good at it. My actual goal one day is to write a book about how to eat, where to eat, and what to do for health while on the road as a touring musician. It could be a good read after some of the experiences I’ve had on the road.

 Okay lets finish up this interview with one last question.....What advice do you have for up and coming DJ's??

My advice is to not be afraid of creating your own lane as a DJ. You don’t have to go in thinking you are going be the best club DJ in your city.  Just network and work on your craft. You may end up being a great club DJ who happens to also DJ at music festivals.  Build with other DJ’s. They are your friends. Try not to back stab and be competitive where you burn a bridge. Keep it 100% with what you want out of DJing.

Thank you so much Charlie for doing this interview and make sure you let me know where people can go listen to some of your stuff, your website addresses and if you have any shows coming up =0}

This honestly was one of my favorite interviews I’ve done! Great questions! You can keep up to date with shows and other news at www.djcharliewhite.com or follow me on Twitter @djcharliewhite, also www.facebook.com/djcharliewhite for some other exclusive stuff.  All my mixes and productions are on SoundCloud. Thank you!!!

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