For DJ Mick Boogie, spinning music for some of the world’s most influential figures is just another job requirement. After securing his MBA, the Ohio native took a pass on the 9-to-5 routine in favor of building his career as an international DJ. With an ever-expanding resume that includes clients from Nike to Red Bull and Jimmy Choo to G-Shock, Mick Boogie’s nights are spent in the booth at exclusive events like LeBron James and Jay-Z’s annual “Two Kings” dinner held during NBA All-Star weekend, and just last month, the New York City resident inked a new management deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, sending his jet-set lifestyle into full throttle.
On his musical background: I played a lot of instruments growing up, including drums and piano, and in college I taught myself how to DJ as a hobby. I didn’t originally plan on being a DJ, but after getting my MBA I just couldn’t interject myself into the “real” workforce. By that time my DJing was starting to take off on a regional level, so I used my education to advance my career. I’ve always done everything on my own. I’ve always been self-managed, self-marketed, self-promoted.
On the benefits of getting schooled in business: I’ve always had a knack for the marketing side of things, which is why I focused on that in school. In retrospect, I’m glad I did that instead of getting, say, a biology degree. It’s played a huge role in my success, since I’m always thinking about the next step. The connections I’ve made in this game are invaluable, but it’s nice to have a business background because I can DJ just as well as I can face-off in a boardroom.
On his former DJ gig with the Cleveland Cavaliers: It enabled me to develop a great relationship with LeBron James, which has led to amazing things way beyond the scope of us both leaving Cleveland. It was a good stepping stone—I still do a lot of work with him and Nike.
On his favorite DJ gig: Every year I DJ Lebron James and Jay-Z’s annual “Two Kings” dinner at NBA All-Star Weekend and it’s great because it’s not just athletes or rappers, it’s also actors, entrepreneurs, and business moguls. The amount of business and networking that goes on in that room is insane, because that’s kind of the point–when you look around and see Bill Gates talking to LeBron, you wonder, can we move these people a little closer to the DJ Booth? Another highlight is getting to spin great music. Lots of soul samples for Jay and LeBron, and if Mark Cuban is there, I’ll play something from Texas, or for Bill Gates, I might Google some of his favorite songs—I study the people in the room and what they do. On his new management deal with Roc Nation: The ink is still drying, but it’s pretty awesome. They’ve recognized all the solo work I’ve put in over the years, and we’re devising plans to elevate things to an even bigger level. When you look at their client list, from artists like Mark Ronson and Rihanna to DJs like Harley Viera-Newton and D-Nice, they are really killing it. I like to have my hands in multiple projects because nobody wants to DJ forever, but right now, it’s my passion and I’ll be sticking with it for awhile.
On the benefits of self-promotion and life in NYC: Everyone’s career begins on a word-of-mouth level, but the Internet is invaluable when it comes to self-promotion, especially when you come from a small market, like Ohio. One of the greatest things about New York is the opportunities that open up to you outside of the city simply because you live here. You could be the greatest DJ in Antarctica and nobody would give a fuck. But you could be the worst DJ in New York, with a good buzz because of self-promotion and you can get booked all around the world. Fortunately, I happen to have some natural talent and I work hard.
On his unique DJ style: I’m a big fan of merging genres that don’t seem like an obvious fit but actually sound great when you hear them together. The term “mash-up,” however, where you put vocals over just an old beat, I hate. I don’t want to hear Jay-Z over Miley Cryus because that just doesn’t make sense. I’d rather hear Jay-Z over Coldplay because Jay-Z and Chris Martin are good friends, they’ve collaborated, done concerts, and realistically they could do an entire album together and it would actually sound similar to a previous mix I’ve put together. I try to apply that logic to my sets when I DJ.
On his favorite venues to spin: RdV is a dope spot in NYC’s Meatpacking District, with an equally eclectic crowd and music. In Vegas I like Surrender at the Wynn, in Miami LIV is truly an amazing venue, and in Tokyo, a club called Feria. They have something called “The Image Table,” where they position the attractive people above the crowd, so it’s aspirational. It’s kind of funny–and ethically wrong–but in Japanese it’s probably not as literal as “Image Table.” Toyko might be my favorite city to DJ because are so many different music scenes. I once did five nights in a row and every night was different than the last. They have such a unique appreciation for culture because things aren’t oversaturated there.