Today we’d like to introduce you to Dj Kvng.
Hi Dj Kvng, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I am a 26-year-old native of Memphis, TN. Music has always been a big part of my life since a baby. My mom could and still can sing like no other. Since I was a kid, she always would sing to me and she would always play music in the mornings (mainly the Tom Joyner morning show before school).
My father was also always listening to something different, anything from Etta James to Linkin Park could be heard when I was around him.
I didn’t know it at the time but he even was the reason I fell in love with the sounds of Memphis, he exposed me to so much Three six and Project pat, and even Tommy Wright but I was clueless about who I was hearing because these songs were mostly on mixtapes, I even heard the Fat Boys for the first time going thru his tape collection. Then, we can take it even deeper with my grandparents.
My grandfather, we call him Pops, always believed that a kid should go out of town at least once a year even if it was just going to Arkansas and staying overnight at a hotel and swimming. I remember being on the road with him for hours listening to Luther Vandross, Sly, and the band, and I can vividly remember Pops playing the entire Bobby Brown “Don’t Be Cruel” album when he took us to California one year on the greyhound.
He went on to introduce me to MC Hammer and the song “MyBabyDaddy” by B-Rock & The Bizz which sparked my love for throwback Hip-Hop so I began to hear the sounds of grandmaster flash and the furious five and started to see the impact that DJ Capri and Funk Master Flex had on the culture. My uncle was also a rapper and producer who showed me the process of making a song and gave me my first ever beat machine, a Boss Dr. Rhythm Section Dr-5.
Later down, the timeline while in my sophomore year of high school I had a friend (Marquavius) who at the time was a DJ at house parties and birthdays for the kids at the school. After failing to convince my mom to let me tag along, I began to ask my dad to take me whenever I was at his house, but I never Djed personally. When I was 16, my dad actually bought me my first ever turntable. It is a Numark IDJ with a dock station for the first generation iPod. After this, I probably did two or three parties with my friend but for some reason, I stopped and wouldn’t even think of dJing again for many years.
When I got into college, I didn’t initially socialize and interact, I literally would drive back to the Raleigh and call my bro DP as much as possible to be around my friends. I slowly began to socialize which resulted in me meeting Malcolm Dorsey at the University of Memphis. This man convinced me, a person with the most stage fright in the world, to become a contestant in the EE pageant on campus. This alone exposed me to a huge new group of people and would later aid in my becoming a DJ. I went on to join one of the biggest promotion teams on campus at the time.
This made me even more social than I wanted to be but expanded my network of friends and creatives on a huge scale. I would go to UofM Lemoyne CBU SouthWest Rust and wherever else to pass out flyers and get people excited to come out and party. After about a year of being a part of the team I began to think of what it was I truly wanted to do, and it was to DJ. I’ll never forget saying that this is what I wanted to do in the group chat and people telling me I’d do it “when pigs fly” lol, but then there was this guy named Rodney, he was kind of like the old head of the team. He said I believe you can do whatever you want because you work harder than anyone and I took that and ran with it, but that fire that the others put under me has never gone away.
I literally began to practice no less than 4-5hrs a night. That meant being in school full time having one full-time job and one part-time job I would still go home and practice. My first ever gig was in this club called O’cielo at the time. DMaze is actually the first promoter to ever book me, a lot of people don’t know that, and I sucked terribly and the first artist I was to work with was actually SkoolBoy who was the person to tell me the rules of the music game in Memphis (I had to throw that in there). After this gig, I began to practice even more and I luckily found a new job-making commission so I quit the others and focused more on what it was I wanted to do.
Shortly after, I would do my first party and it was in my apartment. The initial idea was to have a spot where I could practice in front of others with no judgment because it would be free. I began doing these regularly with my friend Jay who had been on the promotion team with me. We quickly received a large crowd of people who wanted to party with us weekly. We’d receive all kinds of dm’s to use other people’s apartments, houses, venues, and parents’ houses just so they could party with us. We quickly realized the success we were having and kept growing our reach and network.
These parties really helped to grow my name the most at the time. I began to be contacted by different frats and sororities to do their events and even the teams from different schools wanted me for their parties. My career sped up quickly, faster than I was prepared for.
During this same time, I began working closely with my good friend Carlos Beans, who was an upcoming promoter and artist. Together we threw some of the most legendary parties at what we called “The Birds Nest” and “The Den.” We always promoted emerging artists and tastemakers for each showcase. We even would have two or three parties weekly and they would all sell out. At this same time, we were catching the eyes of different promoters and club owners in the city and surrounding areas. I decided to take a break from the parties and Beans later decided to take a break.
I began to work out new deals for being in the club frequently and also began to throw my own parties once again with the help of Beans. I went on to join a DJ contest at the UofM, which I later won. I had the opportunity to do a good majority of the U of M events from thereon. I later had the opportunity to DJ concerts for 21 Savage, Travis Porter, K. Michelle, Young Dolph, Jeremih, and many more thanks to developing a good relationship with the Student Activity Council at UofM which later made me good friends with “MK” and the president at the time, Jessika Williams whom I worked with consistently.
I met ThatBoyCortez around this same time and began to work on ideas for new and exciting events for our age group because we felt that there wasn’t much for us to enjoy in the city the way we wanted to party. We started Two Dollar Tuesdays at this venue in Raleigh soon after I did a party with FastCash at this venue we had never seen before. It was in the middle of an odd road but we believed we could make it work and from week one we had two large rooms packed out with people from all over the city, even people from out of town were excited to come to Memphis to see what we had in motion.
That led to me meeting Dj Chris and 2Keys and we began to all do our events together until we took a break to pursue other ventures for a while. I always believed in developing relationships with artists from the city. I’d known of the FastCashBoyz for years but began to work with them and go on the road, I found Duke Deuce online, due to him having a video with YooAli at the time, and began to play his music frequently. I actually developed a relationship with Duke by simply playing his song weekly at “Bowling after Dark,” which was originally at the local Cordova bowling alley.
I began taking producing seriously around the time I met Duke and started learning the ropes from of how to put a song together correctly. I went on to work with even more promoters from the city around this time, I met Boss Kris who pulled me in with Brown Lee for a few events, I did several things with IkeDiddy, and I even got in with Brodi2x and Krys a few times. But one thing that always stood out was the events I did for Nike, they are very memorable for me.
During all of this, I also met YoBreezye, an amazing creative, who began to do his events when they were in Memphis which led to me meeting his friend Tony (FlyGuyTony). The first thing he ever said to me is “you slaw” which was a lie and we began to mix and mingle in the same crowds and developed a relationship. That is also how I later met my friend Andy Woods who made up the other half of SocialPreneurs at the time. When my mentor, Dj NyceLyfe, began to pursue a few different things in life I began to do more events with SocialPreneurs.
This helped me to further make a name for myself. We took events to different cities and really gave a lot of people something different from the norm at the time. During this time, I would Dj an event at “In Love Memphis ” for Dmaze which was the first time I met Curtis Givens. By late 2018 or early 2019, I began to DJ Saturday nights at “Love,” which led me to an entirely new crowd once again. There was more of a mixture of age and lifestyles so the mesh up of the music was different than what most clubs do. From there I began developing a relationship with Curtis, resulting in me doing several events with him and later doing “IYKYK Sundays” with him and Tony.
I believe what really helped me get as far as I have are the relationships I have developed. Even in the hard times I never burned bridges completely, I may step away but the love and mutual respect never fade. There have been times when I was on my last and poured it into an opportunity or person because I believed in the idea and my team and I have been blessed to be able to win and create a lifestyle based on what I love to do. Even when the next person did not believe in me I always believed in myself even when I was lacking I always knew I could surpass what I viewed to be the bar or expectations for myself at the time.
I worked so hard that I got my parents to understand and respect the path I’ve chosen. I’ve inspired some younger and even older than me who want to truly turn their hobby/passion into income. Today, I DJ just about anything from concerts, clubs, and showcases, to even workout classes. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, but no road is perfect.
I’ve lost friends over what I do by mixing personal with business, romantic relationships have fallen to the wayside due to me being on the road consistently at one point, and I have missed time and moments with the ones I love in order to do more for those I love. I have experienced being underpaid, not getting paid, losing money on events, spreading myself too thin for a friend to win, and a host of other things but I’ve never failed and I’ve always found a way to give the love back.
The times when I thought that I’d lost the battle I later realized I was being set up and mentally prepared to win the war. One of my favorite sayings is “God got me,” and I thoroughly believe in that. No matter what I believe I have the power to overcome any obstacles that are put before me.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I DJ, I produce (make beats), I curate playlists, I create mixes, I have a radio show weekly on 91.7fm, I design flyers, edit videos and I am currently looking to invest my time in several new areas of life. I am most proud of showing my family what believing in myself has done for me, there were very few entrepreneurs in my family who have been successful.
I believe what has set me apart so far is my drive and determination to be better than I was the day before and to not be the same as the “in the crowd.” I also believe that I take the business side of things very seriously. To expound on that, I mean that I stand on the business being a give and take, it is not to be one-sided but rather a way for both parties to win and grow and neither to be cheated especially financially because we all have responsibilities.
I don’t believe you even have to have a great relationship personally with a person but respect and humility while doing business can take the entire team far.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
Anyone can reach out to me, I am always looking for something new and interesting. The best way to initially get in touch with me is by DM (@DJKvng) and by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am beginning to collaborate on beats a lot more and have an idea slowly falling into place currently. I collaborate on events, I have over 10k followers and am beginning to join the brand ambassador wave, and I record a few artists personally but I rarely speak on that side of things.
I also have a weekly playlist that I update every Wednesday where artists can connect with me and get their music put into the playlist, so far I have over 200+ subscribed. People can support me just by following me, coming out to events, and reposting content, and soon I have something coming up where I will be inviting out various people I see supporting me regularly so stay tuned.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/djkvng/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DJKvng
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/DJKVNG_/
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/djkvng
- Other: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/the-kvng-list/pl.u-xlyNYzlTGAGybv
@I_Got_pics901 and @avalon6ix