Last year as a manager and publicist to one of the budding talents born in Nigeria, once signed to AKON, DJ Chase and I connected for promotional purposes. Stemming from a pitch email sent sent his way on August 17, our work relationship began, and he even took interest in my work as a publicist, so he interviewed me. After my travel to Nigeria, the New York City-native selector and I connected via email to discuss his almost twenty years of experience in the industry, his role in the business, what kept him going for so long in a sometimes unfavourable, ever-changing industry and more.
GRUNGECAKE: With nearly twenty years in the media/broadcasting industry, what are the top three things that kept you in the game?
DJ Chase: Thank you for asking that question. The top three things that kept me in the game were my mother (God rest her soul), money, and the sacrifices I’ve made to get to where I’m at today.
GRUNGECAKE: Did or do you have any mentors in the business? How important is mentorship? Are you mentoring anyone?
DJ Chase: Yes, I did. I’m a big advocate of mentorship. My first mentor was my recording engineering teacher in my college SUNY Oswego and a man by the name of Dan Wood. And a man named Orlando Quinones, who was my mentor at my internship at SiriusXM. Mentorship is very important because [it] helps you to not make the same mistakes that other people have made. At the moment, I don’t have the time to mentor any directly, but I do mentor the younger rappers when they ask me for consultations.
GRUNGECAKE: Was your name given to you?
DJ Chase: Yes, somewhat. I came up with the name DJ Chase, in high school a long time ago. But its sorta a tribute to DJ Charlie Chase because my name is Charles.
GRUNGECAKE: From your vantage point as a DJ, how has music evolved since you started? What has changed? Do you miss the way things used to be?
DJ Chase: Music has kinda devolved since I started if you ask me. The new artists rush their music and don’t make danceable music they make music for the phones as opposed to make people dance. I do miss the old days as for the sound of music, it was more black and rhythmic. The music today is made for white people and has no rhythm.
GRUNGECAKE: When did you fall in love with music and broadcasting? What song was it? When did you know you wanted to take this on as a career?
DJ Chase: I have always deejayed since I was 12 back in 1999 when I got my first DJ set, but when I heard Dr Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ is when I knew I wanted to do this. I actually originally wanted to be a stock broker, but my parents really couldn’t afford the college so I decided to make music my career.
GRUNGECAKE: Has it been rewarding or lucrative?
DJ Chase It’s been both. Once I brought my A&R Reemo Meerak, he really made me understand the star quality and the “It” factor in this business. It’s really rewarding because I get to travel and meet people all over the world and with the new technology I can make songs with people all over the world.
GRUNGECAKE: Where are you from? Would you say where you were born and raised is an advantage for your success as someone with your level of knowledge? Explain how.
DJ Chase: I’m from the Bronx and Harlem, but I was raised mostly in Harlem. It used to be an advantage because there were more financial opportunities here in New York, but now it’s better to be from out of town, to be honest. The music business is very racist today in New York. I get more love and appreciation outside of New York.
GRUNGECAKE: Who are your top three artists of all time? Who are your top three new age artists?
GRUNGECAKE: What influenced you to create your platform? How long did it take? Do you have a team?
DJ Chase: I was influenced to create DJ Chase Radio, because I wanted a streaming platform to release my exclusive music releases from my record label. I have a music publishing company so I wanted a place where people can hear all my old radio shows, new music, and audio content one in platform. It took me about three months to get it to scale. I don’t have a team. It’s just me and my wife. I have five hosts on my station, but the back end stuff is just me and my wife.
GRUNGECAKE: What would you say to anyone who wants to start a career in media and broadcasting? What advice would you give them?
DJ Chase: I would say, to anyone who wants to start a career in media and broadcasting, I would tell them to read all the books you can on the monetizing side of the business and study marketing and promotion. I would also advise them to be aware of all the sacrifices you have to make and don’t be afraid to work a 9 to 5 until the money comes in.