Find Hot Articles

This weeks Top 4 Trending Articles

Coture Conversations New Season!

Coture Conversations New Season!
New Season Has Arrived!

BDE Music Network

Friday, January 19, 2024

High-Class Boss Talk with Antuan: DJ Starline

ACM: Welcome to the latest installment of High-Class Boss Talk with Antuan. We're here with the esteemed DJ Starline, a great American EDM DJ. Please, give the people a quick synopsis of who you are.

DSL: Thanks for having me, Antuan. Big shout out to Apex Coture Magazine. Hey everyone, I'm DJ Starline. I consider myself a true EDM/House head who's been doing this DJ thing for some time. I'm originally from Queens, New York City, but I also have roots down in Florida. Music and the arts were something that surrounded me growing up so becoming a DJ made sense. I've worked on the production side of the entertainment industry, and continue to work with graphic design, web design, and video editing. A jack of all trades if you will lol. I just love this stuff so much and had to become skilled in all of it!

ACM: With seventeen years of experience in music and multimedia, you have extensive accolades and accomplishments. When and where did you start your journey?

DSL: Thanks! My DJ roots started in the State of Florida in 2006. I lived in Tampa at the time and absolutely loved DJ AM (R.I.P), Steve Aoki, and A-Trak. Watching them on YouTube and Myspace, yes Myspace lol, inspired me to consider a serious career in DJing. Their skill level, passion for the art, and the way they branded themselves are what resonated with me the most as a young female. In the Summer of 2006, I attended Jam Master Jay's Scratch DJ Academy in South Beach, Miami Beach, FL; I drove 4 hours every weekend for several weeks, I was trained by the best and graduated from the DJ 101 program. Soon after, I booked local bars and grills, and college events and joined a Tampa-based DJ agency that specialized in weddings and corporate conventions.

ACM: How important and impactful was the guidance and mentorship of your fellow DJs early on? Who were some of them?

DSL: Wow, it was beyond important and impactful! I went in knowing nothing. All I knew was I had a true passion and love for the DJ profession and was willing to dedicate serious time to learning and doing what I needed to do to represent myself as a serious DJ. Cue-in the OGs lol. I reached out to everyone I admired right on their Myspace pages and literally asked them for guidance on how to get started, what gear to get, do's and don'ts, etc. Each and every one of them was eager to pay it forward and was especially thrilled that a female was as obsessed with the craft as they were lol. I'm talking about DJ Revolution, Riz and Sizzahandz (Crooklyn Clan), DJ Bobbito, DJ Boogie Blind (X-Ecutioners), Ben Baller, DJ Scene, DJ Qbert, DJ Immortal, DJ I-Dee, DJ Irie, DJ Craze , plus others and eventually I got pearls of wisdom from DJ AM and A-Trak! They all gave me genuine pointers as well as encouragement and helped me out with completely open arms. It was all so surreal at first lol, but to this day I still have the friggin messages saved on a hard drive and go back every so often to make sure I stay true to my roots and humble beginnings. I can't thank them enough, I'm forever grateful!!

ACM: You made the wise decision to attend a higher learning facility to enhance your skills, talk about how you benefited from that and what academy you attended.

DSL: Yes, I attended the Scratch DJ Academy in 2006, founded by the late great Jam Master Jay! While enrolled, I gained the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be a DJ, such as beat matching, song selection, reading the crowd, and of course scratching. It was an experience I'll never forget as we got to learn from some insanely talented veteran DJs and had legendary guest DJ instructors spend time with us while sharing secrets that took them over 20 years to perfect. I got to spin at some dope South Beach events for Red Bull and at a popular local spot, talk about putting pressure on the newbie lol. I couldn't be more grateful for the endless networking opportunities and for the instructors who were super supportive and encouraging. Shortly after graduating from Scratch, I enrolled in the former International Academy of Design and Technology to pursue a career in digital production (which consists of multimedia, film, and audio production skillsets) and later down the line went back for a degree in graphic design, as that added to my toolbox of existing multimedia skills. I really was in the zone and going after my passions during this time. I was offered multiple internships and production gigs locally and in other states/countries because I had the academic degrees, and professional portfolio to back me up.

ACM: Talk about some of the networks you've had the opportunity to work with and the significance thereof.

DSL: Some networks of people or organizations I've worked with are obviously the Fleet DJs, then there's Bad Boy Records, Atlantic Records, Future Star DJs, other DJ crews, emerging recording artists and then there were my local Tampa peers and fellow DJs. It was of the utmost importance for me to maintain these networks and contact me to get where I wanted to be as a DJ and multimedia professional. Being affiliated with such powerful networks was key to being taken seriously and really got people to hear me out and give me a chance. With so many co-signs there was no way someone serious was gonna think twice about hiring me lol. Now, if we're talking about the literal television networks I've worked with, I can say I was a crew member for Viacom via MTV Networks on a few of VH1's popular live productions, including Hip-hop Honors, Divas, and Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash. I was also a field producer for a television program on The Outdoor Channel that involved outdoor sports and was blessed with many travel opportunities for these productions; my favorites being the Alaska and South Africa shoots. The significance of these, among other, production experiences is the professional development I gained for future opportunities and endeavors.

ACM: How did you know you were ready to release your first mixtape "Expensive Taste: The Mixtape"? Was it something you were totally prepared for or was it a leap of faith?

DSL: I had acquired all of these new skills in Miami and was already good at editing audio, so right away I had all of these ideas floating around in my head. I was definitely ready for it! All the networking in Miami helped me build the content as some folks were nice enough to send me songs and guided me on how to do it remembering while the mixtape should reflect who I am as a creative. I was certain I wanted it to be a hip-hop mixtape. The final product included some major artist exclusives along with the bangers of the time, there were some indie tracks as well. There were the occasional sound effect drops and samples scratched in. I didn't get to recording vocals or doing the echoing like DJ Clue on the first one, lol, but it was a whole vibe, that boss drip. I posted it on mixtape sites and got tons of downloads. Even artists and DJs started hitting me up about collaborating and getting on the next one. That's the part I wasn't prepared for or expecting lol. And so began the mixtape for me.

ACM: You joined the Fleet DJs in 2007 and 17 years later you're still with the conglomerate. How did you hear of the Fleet and what made you join?

DSL: Back in '07 I was working on a mixtape with a Vegas DJ, King Nade. He was telling me about this new DJ crew he just joined and he was going on about how awesome it was to be part of a team like this. He asked me to join, specifically saying that there were no females on the team. We got on A.I.M. messenger (if you could remember that lol), Nade, Klassik the CEO, and his partner, and we just chopped it up. Then we had a phone call shortly after. Each time I spoke with them I could hear the passion in their voice as they explained their visions for the organization and their drive to put the DJ in the forefront, especially newer DJs, which really resonated with me. I really liked what they were about and boom, I was a Fleet DJ. As time went on the guys coined me as...the First Lady of the Fleet DJs, so I ran with it haha. I'm basically Fleet royalty, hahaha nah just kidding, just kidding.

ACM: You hit the ground running in the late 2000s doing mix shows and more. Talk to us about that point in time of your grind.

DSL: Yea, during that time it was important for me to hustle hard and get my name out there meanwhile fine-tuning my skills. Shoot, as a female in the land of guys I had to prove myself twice as much. There were females out there doing their thing but some were out there making it hard for us girls who knew what we were doing. As a professional, in general, I make sure all the boxes are checked before anyone can step to me with their judgments and denials, so I did the same thing as a DJ. I made sure I was at a certain skill level and basically qualified to do the things I was striving to do. The goal is always NOT to embarrass myself LOL. Turns out, the stuff I was doing was just as good if not better than the others. During my early grind, I also embraced the concept of networking. I put myself out there and networked with everyone I came in contact with and made it part of my job description! I was open to meeting new people and creating new relationships, and more importantly, I maintained those relationships, following up regularly. On multiple occasions, I was told "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Even if I was in a dusty club parking lot, I was professional at all times... "you never know who's watching" was my motto. The last thing I'll say about the dog days, lol, while trying to find who I was as a DJ or creative, I got my feet wet in as many things as I could and then eventually stuck with what worked best for me personally, for my brand and my schedule. There were definitely periods of trial and error where I quickly figured out "That's not Starline" lol. We all have our origin story, as different as they may be, and one thing we can all agree on is that every minute of it was totally worth it!

ACM: Let's get into your major shift into EDM. What motivated this move?

DSL: Just before I decided to exclusively spin EDM/House, I was experimenting with different genres or themes for Sprint/Nextel/Nokia Radio as they were looking for something fresh at the time and gave me the opportunity to help them out. I had a few demos, but the one I made with electronic dance music was the one that stuck with the program directors. They liked the format I came up with and fortunately had the listenership to back me up. I struck gold with the mix show, Elektrostatik was the name. Now, this wasn't just a coincidence lol. I grew up with House music in New York and got into some of the grittier sub-genres in Florida, like dubstep, drum n bass, breaks, and hardstyle. This genre and culture have always been part of my DNA. It's funny how I was just messing around with some demos when I figured out that going back to basics, back to who I really love, was what I needed in order to find my career's calling. There was and is no turning back. EDM + house + techno + whatever you wanna call it = DJ Starline. Sorry, not sorry lol.

ACM: What was it about EDM that made you love the Rave culture?

DSL: Antuan, I see you want me to ramble now LMAO. Honestly, it's everything. First and foremost, it's the music. The sounds and beats these heavy-weight producers/DJs create literally go through your bones and make you feel completely awesome. The melodic nature or bass-heavy drops in the music just hits differently and helps the crowd let loose, forgetting all of the BS that's happening in their lives and in the world. The fact that there are endless sub-genres to consider is telling of the EDM umbrella; it's made for and created by a super diverse group of individuals. So what I'm trying to say is, that anyone can become a fan because there's a sound for everyone, they just have to have fun. Just because you didn't like one particular genre doesn't mean that's EDM period. You gotta dig deeper. This leads me to my second point, the people! Everyone you run into in an EDM/House setting is just trying to make the best of the moment and have the time of their lives, so positivity is a must. We live by the 4 fundamentals when raving at any EDM event, and that's P.L.U.R, which stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. It's basically a mantra used by ravers all the while "making new friends in the spirit of PLUR". We all look out for each other, which to me is a plus. Now I'm not saying fights don't break out and use drugs or other stuff that can get you in trouble doesn't happen in the EDM scene, but just like with everything, that's on you and what you're into lol. From a DJ and income perspective, I get paid more playing an exclusively EDM event than I do at a party that wants top 40, hip-hop, or open format. I'm not money-driven, but shiizz why not embrace that if it means being properly compensated to play what I love lol? In 2022, the EDM industry grew to be an $11.3 billion industry, yet many business people pass up on it not knowing that fact. So the money is there for everyone involved, they just sleep on it lol. Anyway, as an ambassador of the genre, I encourage readers or anyone else to experiment with EDM/House and try to find the sound(s) that resonates most with them...then experience that ish at a live show...they won't know what to do with themselves. They can thank me later, haha.

ACM: Tell us about your "House of EDM" mixshow.

DSL: I'm glad you asked. My syndicated "House of EDM" mix show is on 6 different internet radio stations. It's an hour-long mix show that's dedicated to playing as many of the different sub-genres I mentioned previously. Sometimes I have themes, like remixes and mashups, so I stick to a certain sound for a few episodes, but generally, I try to spin a different sub-genre each episode to keep things fresh. One thing that's interesting to note, is 5 of the 6 stations the show is on are hip-hop stations. I really appreciate those slots very much because those stations have trusted me with their listeners while putting on the pressure to impress these folks. I'm still invited back every time, so I'm guessing the listeners are pretty happy lol. As a reminder, "House of EDM" airs every third weekend of each month and you can always access the latest schedule on my official page ( It's definitely a great time.

ACM: You have been connected with the Independent Music Industry for almost two decades. Tell us about the ways you have continued to stay connected to the grassroots.

DSL: You're right, I've worked closely within the independent music market from the beginning of my career. I've maintained professional relationships with indie recording artists over the years, through mixtape collaborations, radio spins, and live shows and more recently I've dedicated my efforts towards providing them with opportunities to further expand their movements, such as slots, song distribution, and playlist features. I truly believe indie artists hold the key to changing the game if they go about doing things appropriately. Certain genres are at a plateau or standstill right now and indie artists/bands should really look at this as an opportunity to shine, be true to their sound, and do what consumers are desperately looking for from these major artists but are not getting. Now, I'm not naive, I know there's red tape and politics because, in the end, this is a business after all. However, at the end of the friggin day...if DJs believe in an artist and DJs put pressure behind a record and break that artist's record nothing can stop them. Can't underestimate the power of the DJ, we're here for these artists and can take them far if we work as a unit!

ACM: For our readers who may want to connect with you, how do they go about doing so?

DSL: I would love to connect with the readers! They can go to my official page at Starline where they can find all of my contact information, including socials, and browse my latest updates. They can also hit me up on the official page if they're looking for any multimedia services as well, such as web design, video editing, or graphic design. I'm here to help.

ACM: Let's dive into your accolades. You have won awards and been nominated many times. Go ahead and talk your ish!

DSL: Haha! Yeah, it's nice to earn those things. But I really just wanna take this time to shout out EVERYONE who has supported me from the very beginning (my day ones), who supported me in the middle of my career and now. It's great to know that there are people out there who are into what I'm doing and anticipating my next move. Any award I win is shared with them, they're my backbone. THANK YOU ALL!

ACM: What can we expect from DJ Starline in the near future?

DSL: I've got a few things in the works as we speak. I'm working with independent recording artists on a few things, including showcases, concerts, playlists, and promotions/distribution. With the Fleet DJs, this year I will continue to manage the Fleet DJ's Raid Train that we do on the Twitch live streaming platform as well as continue to fulfill my assistant manager duties for the Fleet DJ's EDM division. Obviously, a big goal is to continue growing my "House of EDM" mix show and to do more in-real-life gigs for the masses.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this awesome interview, Antuan! 🙏🙏

Anonymous said...

You're welcome! Thanks for your service in the industry!





Donate in support for Apex Coture Magazine