I caught up with DJ HollyW8D recently to check in on the current status of the underground social scene and find out a little more about what makes this former Brooklynite-come-Upstate man tick. I believe I first met him at an event Cory Nelson was throwing back in the Troy Kitchen days but this is the first time we have got to have a little heart to heart.
Please introduce yourself! How long have you been a DJ and do you do it full time? Any other gigs you’re holding down to pay the bills?
My name is Mario Johnson, aka DJ HollyW8D. I am originally from Brooklyn, NY. I found my way to the Capital District to play football at Hudson Valley Community College. After that I graduated from UAlbany with a degree in Communications & Rhetoric. I started my DJ journey at WCDB 90.9 FM in 2016 and haven’t looked back since.
I have been a full time DJ since 2017. I incorporate different aspects into my lifestyle to help pay the bills such as teaching DJ lessons along with throwing events and helping other artists with their business and branding.
I know from personal experience that you bring a lot of excitement to an event. What’s your motivation?
My motivation is my mother who worked very hard to get me to where I am today. As a first generation US-born Jamaican descendant, I felt pressure to make my family proud. Besides wanting to be successful for myself it is also for my family and to inspire my peers.
Last year was rough for performers with limitations on live events. Has your calendar gotten back to
normal this year? How is it different?
Everyone was eager to get back outside so that helped a lot. Attendees being cautious post pandemic has still been a factor. Shifting to in person experiences and taking the brand digital has definitely helped out. Less venues want to take the chance of having large crowds within their space now.
How has the last year changed your craft?
Last year showed me how powerful having a digital footprint is within social media. From throwing virtualshowcases (@Hous3chella : Instagram LIVE) to teaching virtual DJ lessons. These days, you must never leave a stone unturned.
Any upcoming events you would like to plug?
I started doing a lot of collaborations on events this year, Friday November 12th I will be co – hosting an ‘All About My Business’ networking event at the ground up cafe in Albany, NY. The event is black and brown focused but open to all who are looking to increase their circle of like minded individuals.
Additionally, I will be bringing some energy to this month’s Etrice Gallery opening in Downtown Albany. ‘HIATUS’ will be on Saturday November 20 th featuring Albany artist Jalaun Taylor. Roll in, network and feel the vibes. “It`s more than music…and I am more than just a DJ.”