Posted on April 06 2016
"Sometimes music is the only thing that gets your mind off of everything else."
IT'S A TRIP..
..to think that in the midst of a crowded event, or even in the middle of sitting in traffic, that there is one person behind the turntables somewhere that can literally make your day. A commute can seem longer than it should be if you can't dig what's playing on the radio. On the same note, the first thing you notice when you walk in to a bar or club is the music playing. If it ain't happenin', you'll probably stay for a drink or two, but you'll most likely hit up another spot that you can easily vibe to.
Lucky for us, we know DJ P-JAY.
I remember first hearing P-Jay on LA's Hip Hop radio station, Power 106, while stuck in the usual 101 fwy traffic headed to the Staples Center. Getting familiar with his name on the radio, I started noticing more social media posts about him spinning at local clubs in Southern CA. Moving up his career, he now also spins in Las Vegas on some weekends. To add more to his plate, he also spends time traveling overseas and spins at events while out there. Now, I don't know about you, but if that doesn't define massive grind, then I don't know what does!
The MUNUM team decided that with that much dedication and grind, he would be a perfect fit for our Influential Individual segment. We paid P-Jay a visit at Power 106 in Burbank, CA, to see what he does behind the scenes (or speakers, I should say), as well to as see how he is able to juggle one gig to another in a matter of a day. Read on to learn more about this go-getter!
The basics: Who is DJ P-JAY? Where did you grow up and where do you currently reside?
Ok, so P-Jay originally stands for Phillip James. I added the "ay" in "J" to make it sound "cool!" Haha . I have two older brothers, and they're PJ's too. Patrick Jason and Paolo Judd and I'm the third PJ. And it's funny too because my Dad, before I was born, bought a Mercedes Benz and had the license plate customized to, "4MY2PJS".
Haha! So you're not part of that.
I'm not part of that. I mean, people would normally get butt hurt, but I didn't because it's like..he bought it and the next day, I was born, you know? I'm from Eagle Rock, CA. More like let's say, Los Angeles, CA. Born and raised in Glendale/Eagle Rock area and I work here at Power 106 in Burbank.
What made you decide to follow the road to being a DJ? What was the inspiration/motivation behind choosing this career path?
Damn, that's a good question. To be honest with you, I went to high school right down the street at Providence. And then I went to PCC, and I wanted to be..an engineer and go to UC Irvine, I wanted to be a nurse and go to Mount Saint Mary's, I wanted to go to the PBA and play ball in the Philippines, so I was like, "What do I do?" I was still doing some house parties. I started DJ'ing, kinda "DJ'ing" in 1997 with my brothers. I went to PCC, was going to school, working at Island's Restaurant in Burbank, and doing some gigs on the side, too. Like, I would do my serving shift 11:30am-4pm and do a house party from 6pm-12am
#PowerTrips Video Chicago, Illinois
So just hustling basically.
Just hustling, like kinda hard, I would say. So yeah, back to school - Monday to Friday I'm in school. I was taking nursing classes. And it's crazy cuz I would just get, not the best grades - like C's, D's, barely passing you know, LOL. I can name all the classes - like, bio-chem-AnP..and I wasn't doing well and I was like, "Dude this is not me." And since I wanted to be a nurse, I give mad props to all the nurses out there. It's not an easy thing. I remember I had a practical for Anatomy class at PCC and I would just go around the practical like, "What is this thing right here? What is that thing?" And it's a blank sheet, 1-50. And I'm still like, "Oh my God, what is that?"
So I just kinda hustled hard and I just switched my major to business and transferred over to Cal Poly Pomona majoring in Business Management & Human Resources. I got that job at Movin 93.9 (Street Team) and yeah my main goal was to work for this logo right here, Power 106. In the midst of working at Emmis Communications, I was able to get my Bachelor's Degree in Business Management & Human Resources (MHR). Nothing felt better than getting that degree because the studying stopped and the working began! But little did I know, I still study til this day. Studying music and knowing my music is key.
Did you ever come across certain family members or friends who criticize your career choices? What were their objections and how did you handle it?
I would say the two biggest people were my parents. Coming home late, and then my grades were slipping, sleeping at like..4 or 5am, waking up at 12 or 1pm, missing breakfast sometimes. They were against it, but then next thing you know, they just see a slow progression with gigs and income. You're buying your own things, handling your own stuff, and just being a more mature, responsible human being..rather than just being under their shelter.
Did you ever have to explain yourself, or did you just kind of, just do what you have to do and eventually they kind of realized this is what you wanted to do?
I didn't really explain myself, but I just let them know what was going on. I didn't hide anything. I don't do drugs, I don't do any bad things, I was just straight up - I was being real. I was genuine - like..this is black and white - this is how it is. It'll slowly get there. And next thing you know, it's paying off. They're realizing now like, "Wow, we used to scold you for coming home late!" And I was like, "Well.." I just smile at them.
What did you have to give up/sacrifice to follow your dream?
There were actually a lot of sacrifices. I mean, I don't wanna say coming up, but in the beginning stages of all this - for being a DJ, our income and our work is mostly on the weekends. And if you're lucky, you have random gigs or random corporate gigs on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursdays. But mostly, our gigs are on Fridays and Saturdays. So, I would do a lot of gigs on Fridays and Saturdays and I was in a commitment at that time. And I had friends that would go to Vegas A LOT, do this and do that and I would just..miss out.
So social life, basically.
Social life. There was another social life within the DJ'ing industry, but then with your friends, you're missing out. On the real, it's kind of like.. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out.) I remember doing a dance far off the 210 and it was Halloween. So I had to lug all my shit..and my GF at the time and all of our friends went to Vegas for halloween and I couldn't go. But I was like, "Fuck. This gig's paying all the money. It's 3 or 4 hours. Or Vegas, and you're spending a lot of money."
If you could go back and change one thing, knowing what you know now, would you have done anything different?
Actually, no! I mean, I like how it's going right now. I would like to have wishful thinking about stuff, and just see a positive future. I'm very positive, so I wanna see a bright future ahead of me as well as the people around me. I mean you gotta think, "Dude, it's gonna happen." No matter what, you gotta think it's gonna happen. Sometimes, I'll just drive and turn off the radio or the music in the car and just think..you "motivate yourself." I know it sounds funny but when you look out the window..I mean you're really thinking about..stuff.
Define a go-getter.
My definition would be..a person that is out there and..mainly a person that really wants it. But does it in a professional, mature way where he or she isn't too desperate but he or she knows when to pop in the room, pop out the room and knows what's up. Just knows when to keep your mouth shut, knows when to speak up. And just know your role. But at the same time, being a go-getter is experiencing failure first, and then success, and then just kind of doing it your own way. I feel like a go-getter is more like an entrepreneur, too, because you can create more opportunities for yourself.
Not sure if I told you guys but I also got promoted here at Power 106 and I now handle our "Where Hip Hop Lives" app #NewAt2 channel. We joint forces with our sister station, Hot 97 in New York City. And I'm the Assistant Program Director (APD, as E-Man likes to call it) for the #NewAt2 channel. And yeah, we play raw un-cut, un-edited dirty versions of all the newest hip hop songs. We feature two DJs (Mixers) from Hot 97 and two DJs (Mixers) here from Power 106 and it's playing every 5 hours along with album features of the biggest Hip Hop artists. So, I'm basically here Monday through Friday, and then Saturdays for my weekly On-Air shift from 6-8pm. But then they're really cool and flexible with my gigs and schedule - let's say I'm out of town, or if I go to Asia, or if I'm in Vegas midweek.
What do you love most about your job? What do you least like?
Let me go with the least first - so what I least like..is, I would say is losing sleep. I love sleeping, I love resting, but I would say, if you're out there and this is the industry we're in, you gotta go FOR it. You might have to lose a couple ZzZ's to wake up a little earlier or sleep later to get sh*t done. Throughout the day, take a couple naps in between and go to sleep late and just do it all over again. But a different day. And missing special and important occasions.
What I like the best is traveling and DJ'ing. It's crazy how other promoters, GMs, club owners, friends from Asia (Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Japan) - they'll bring me out and just appreciate me just going out there to provide GOOD music for a couple hours each night. But yeah, just traveling. Seeing different things and just being on the road.
What is your ultimate career goal, say, 5 years from now? What would you have liked to accomplish by that time?
5 years from now seems quite far from now but isn't, LOL. I definitely would like to carry up "Vista Superb!" Vista Superb is basically my other alias, for producing remixes and hopefully producing my own music and events collaborating with artists that I have developed a relationship with through Power 106 and through the club scene out in different cities. I used to live on a street called "Vista Superba." Just thought I'd drop the "a" and leave it at Vista Superb - Vista = View or Vision & Superb = Excellence or Splendid. I definitely want to be DJing in Las Vegas more often even though I gamble, uh-oh! LOL. And most importantly, definitely want to build my brands, DJ P-JAY & Vista Superb! Maybe open up a business, who knows?!?
#PowerTrips Video in Vancouver, Canada
You’re talking to a group of admirers and people who find you as an inspiration. What is the best advice you can give them about following their dreams?
Just follow your heart and follow your passion. You can't fake your passion of loving something because once people see that little thing of you faking it, they can tell you don't really love it. So just follow your heart, follow your passion, and just do what you love. Make your own path for yourself. Believe in God, pray, and believe in yourself. Because if you don't believe in yourself, who will? Believe in yourself and people will see that, and they'll start believing in you.
Patience, persistence and perseverance definitely pay off when you keep the eye on the prize. There will be times wherein giving up seems easier than moving forward, but always keep in mind that failure is part of success. As P-Jay said, you can't fake your passion of loving something. Follow your heart, follow your passion, do what you love and the rest will follow. Have success in mind - See your goal. Understand the obstacles. Create a positive mental picture. Clear your mind of self doubt. Embrace the challenge. Stay on track. Show the world you can do it.
Follow DJ P-JAY's social media: