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I always had an affinity towards music, but never thought of DJing as a career option. Like most children, I loved to sing and dance, and I loved music. I was fascinated by Bollywood and imagined myself as an actor or a singer. During the late nineties, DJing was an upcoming profession and not well known in India. Since I had a keen interest in music, my dad advised me to try my hand at it. He was the one who made me think in the direction of taking it up as a serious career! I will always be thankful to him for pushing me towards this.
Once I set my mind on learning to be a DJ, I joined Studio Bakers and learnt the art of DJing from the most famous DJ of the time, DJ Rummy, who is still very well known. From him I learnt that it’s important for a DJ to have complete knowledge of the hardware involved. Most importantly, he taught me to love my job with a passion and to put my heart into it. The year was 1999, and this profession was not really recognized as such in our country. People often mistook me as a band member and asked me what instrument I played.
While training under DJ Rummy, I had the opportunity to assist him at a private party. I learnt how to face the crowd, how to ‘read’ the crowd and their taste in music. That party inspired me deepened my interest. That night I played for a good amount of time and the crowd loved it. That’s how I got my first break.
In the early 2000s, I visited a studio with one of my friends who is a producer, and that was when I learnt about remixes and music production. I tried my hand at it and in 2004 I came up with a music video-remix of Kitna Pyara Vaada and Yaad Aa Raha Hai Tera Pyar. Both the remixes topped the charts on all music platforms, including Channel V’s Top 40. From then onwards, there was no looking back.
To be a professional DJ, I think the craving for knowledge of music should never end. You should always deal with the client to their utmost satisfaction. It doesn’t matter how famous you are, your job is to make sure that the crowd you are spinning for is happy and content. I believe that there is a science behind motivating or attracting the guests. You need to be aware of current trends in music, Indian and international, because when you play the latest music, guests automatically feel like dancing to the beat. A DJ needs to have excellent mixing skills and should know what song should be placed at what time. This is only possible when you know music theory, which is the most important part of our profession.
Over the course of my career there are several high points that have made me proud. I have played for some of the best companies in the country, including the Times of India group, AajTak, Paytm, American Express, Ernst & Young, Ralph Lauren, and Bose; as well as many celebrities, including Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput Kapoor, the list goes on. The set which I played during the lockdown from home was also something that gave me a great sense of achievement, as it allowed me to experiment and perform in a unique way to stay connected with the world. I believe music is something that heals you even in the worst of situations. I have had the opportunity to meet the number 1 DJ in world, Armin Van Buuren when he visited India for the first time. I received him along with Nikhil Chinapa and DJ Aqeel. I have shared my workspace with DJ Hardwell and DJ Chuckie at the popular Delhi nightclub Hype, where I was a resident DJ. Producing new tracks and composing tunes is also something that I find extremely gratifying.
For the upcoming generation, my advice is to be focused and dedicated towards your profession of choice. As a DJ, one should stay committed to one’s work and should not get carried away by the distractions that are present at various steps. It is equally important to maintain a balance with your team, wherever you are working.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead October 2021 issue.
DJ Amit B has had a successful career spanning decades, performing at many high-profile events and venues. Based in New Delhi, he started his career in the late nineties, playing at Djinns at the Hyatt Delhi, Tapas at Hotel Vasant Continental; and at Mirage at Hotel Crown Plaza, Capitol at The Ashoka, and Hype at Hotel Shangri-La as a Resident DJ. He is also a composer, and his music is available on leading digital platforms.