Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
Hello, I’m Striz, a DJ and music producer born and raised in New York City. I make and perform music purely because of my love for music and sharing it with other people. Music has always had an important role in my life, starting at the age of 3 when I learned to play piano. By the time I was in high school, I had not only continued to play classical piano, but also picked up guitar, and played tenor saxophone in a Jazz band.
I discovered electronic dance music during my second year of high school and fell in love with it immediately. Being a student at a huge public school, I had a unique opportunity to start DJing live at a young age because of the scale of high school parties in NYC. I quickly learned how to DJ in my bedroom and immediately found myself in the party scene playing to crowds of 100+ people.
DJing gave me a way to not only have fun, but let me share my love and passion for music with other people. Once I played the first track and saw people dancing, I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve established myself in the NYC club scene and have had the opportunity to perform at the city’s top venues and nightclubs whether as a headliner, or alongside major headlining acts. I’ve also produced and signed my music to multiple record labels, and garnered over 125,000 streams.
I love DJing as much, if not more, than when I started out. No matter where I play or what I do my goal is always the same: To have fun. I want everyone in the crowd to experience the same love and happiness I get from music, and to simply have a good time.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I’ve developed a unique set of qualities as an artist and individual that make me stand out from everyone else due to the environment which I am from, as well as the things I’ve pursued in my life.
Growing up in New York City has shaped who I am as a musician. I was exposed to diverse cultures and sounds, whether it was coming from my Dad’s radio, the street performers throughout the city, or the top talent playing concerts at NYC’s iconic arenas and venues. This multitude of influences, from classic rock to reggae, rap, and beyond, infused my musical DNA and love for live performance. New York is the heart of art and culture, and it’s given me a unique perspective on music and appreciation of live performance and crowd engagement.
One experience which helped me grow my understanding and appreciation of electronic music, and gave me a master class in DJ performance, was my 4-year involvement at Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the premier EDM festivals in the world. I was a member of their Night Owl team making sure guests were safe. During these four years, I was able to see the top DJs in the entire world performing to crowds of tens of thousands of people. I got exposed to so many kinds of EDM, styles of DJing, and live performances. I not only learned a lot about live EDM shows, but also grew my love and passion for the genre. I think that being exposed to such a variety of top tier EDM has given me a great ear for dance music and playing music that the crowd will love.
Later on while attending university I decided to study Computer Science and Engineering. My studies brought my music to a new level by making me highly technical, precise, and very hard working. I developed a heightened attention to detail, as well as the ability to problem solve and think on my feet, which is very important during live performances since nothing ever goes as planned.
My technical background and NYC upbringing instilled in me the unique qualities of a diverse appreciation and understanding of music and performance, as well as a deep technical aptitude, perfectionist work ethic, and quick thinking.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do.
Last year I played a dream show that epitomized everything I love about DJing and made it clear I am doing what I was born to do. I played a prime time set at a sold out Halloween show at one of NYC’s biggest venues, MUSICA. This was a dream opportunity and sticks out as one of the coolest shows I’ve ever done.
First off, I love Halloween and dressing up. In typical form, I dressed up as a character of my celebrity doppelganger, Sacha Baron Cohen, this time as Jean Girard from Talledega Nights. I had on a green Perrier Nascar suit and an espresso cup (a little smaller than a macchiato cup, if you get the joke). I prepared a special set featuring an original mash up of samples of Jean Girard’s most famous lines from the movie and an upbeat EDM song, going right into a huge drop to kick off my performance.
I took the stage around midnight to a sold out crowd of over 1200 people, with 30 of my closest friends all the way in the front of the crowd so I could see them from the booth. From beginning to end, the crowd was non-stop dancing and partying with me. The night was an absolute dream and culminated my growth up to that point, being able to command a sold out venue in one of the biggest clubs in NYC. It was easily one of the most fun nights of my life, and a milestone in my career. Sharing music and dancing with over 1000 people, including some of my best friends, the night epitomized why I love DJing so much and it is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
My biggest challenge is definitely working as a solo artist and dealing with the fear of failure and blank page anxiety. As much as I love to produce music, it can be intimidating. Also, being a solo artist, I don’t have someone to collaborate with who is mutually invested in my success and I find there is a lot more pressure on myself. There are times where I avoid producing music because I’m nervous that I won’t be able to make the quality of work that I want, or I won’t produce my next “hit”, or even that I’d somehow make an existing work worse. It’s a lot of self doubt built up that makes it difficult at times to be productive, literally.
I won’t say that I’ve overcome this completely, but I try my best to squash my negative thoughts by reminding myself of why I do it in the first place. I do it because I love it, and it is my passion. I push myself to open my music production software and will eventually find myself happily sucked into the creative process. It’s more-so pushing past the initial blockers, but once I’m working it’s hard to stop.
Sometimes I hit blocks when I am making music that I don’t know how to deal with myself. For that, I’ve built a great community of others who I lean on for help and advice. I’ve made tons of friends who I share music and exchange thoughts with. I’ve also joined a Discord community called Kick and Bass where I learn from talented mentors, have access to tutorials, feedback on my music, and a huge community of producers who help each other out.
Lastly, if not most importantly, I have a very supportive fiancée and family who always cheer me on.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
The 3 people I’d want to meet are Tiësto, Fisher, and Moe Shalizi.
Tiësto is one of the godfathers of modern EDM. He is a tastemaker and can catapult someone to instant notoriety just by playing their music. Most importantly, Tiësto clearly knows how to have a long and successful career in EDM and how to stay relevant across multiple decades, while garnering fans across multiple generations and countries. I have so much respect for Tiësto and know that he has a lot of knowledge on how to succeed.
Fisher is an amazing DJ and personality. He knows how to capture an audience both on and off the stage. I’d love to meet him and learn more about his showmanship. He is a master at captivating an audience, making smash hits, and cultivating a following.
Lastly, I’d love to meet Moe Shalizi because he is a master at branding and management. I know him because of the success he has managing Marshmello, and would love to learn more about his process with creating a strong brand behind a DJ, as well as his management strategy to drive his clients to success. For the record, I do have a manager, but I’m sure we’d love to add Moe Shalizi to the team!
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