ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: DJ Knight ATL

Klickjam kicks off its brand new ARTIST SPOTLIGHT feature with an up-and-coming star that has taken the clubs by storm! DJ KNIGHT ATL was born in 1983 as a guy with a heart full of integrity and determination. In 2010, he was brought on as the DJ for local promotional team HARD HITTAZ ENT., but it was his skills as a fledgling DJ and a dedicated Graphic Artist that would work hand-in-hand to establish his current career out of Atlanta, Georgia. His focus on music elevates him past discrimination and negativity, instead preferring to rock the crowds with a positive vibe. He's worked with such names as Migos, Akon, Grand Hustle and Money Man, to name a few, and has most recently collaborated with Syi Ara Da Kid, K Camp, Tony Bone, Dboy Music and Dread Head Boiz, as well as many others. A multi-trade specialist, DJ KNIGHT ATL provides photo/video shoots, web design, Email blasts, radio commercials, distribution, blogging, tour coordination and booking. He's worked everywhere from North Carolina to Miami, California, Virginia, and Canada. What began as a fledgling DJ creating mixtapes from his apartment has become a brand all his own. We sat down with this deck master to ask a few questions. Read along!



1) What inspired you to get behind the DJ decks and pursue it as your main creative outlet?

When I was younger I used to attend clubs to network with popular DJs. I would submit music, pay the DJs during most weekdays and on weekends to spin my music, and give shout outs to help build my brand, as well as my team. I like how the DJ controlled the crowd, so that inspired me to purchase my set to start my new career path as a DJ.

2) How important is graphic design to your overall personal brand image, and was it inspired by the music you play, or vice versa?

Graphic design plays a major roll in branding your image because it helps fans get an idea of your creativity. It didn't matter what type of music I played to be inspired to want to create designs. It's just a must have requirement when you're involved in entertainment. Without it, you don't seem so official, or taken seriously as a entertainer.

3) Tell us about some of the hardships you've faced in those early years of establishing yourself.

Some of the hardships I've faced and encountered are not knowing where to start. I had no idea how to get distribution for my music, or record quality music. For example, I didnt know music had to be well mixed and mastered to be considered good quality amongst radio stations and DJs. While most independent artists didn't have a budget for their projects, I was fortunate to have budgets and investors throughout the years, but I made a lot of bad investments with companies overcharging for services or taking advantage because of my lack of knowledge. Because of my HUGE heart, I've helped a lot of successful people who used me for their own selfish purposes, and I didnt even receive a simple "Thank you." Those people with bad intentions will do anything to try to stop your progression. One of the hardest obstacles is listening to the so called "non-believers". The people that say you can't do it. Today I am happy to say I've done my rescearch and learned my lesson.

4) What's the most rewarding feeling for you personally, when you're spinning for a crowd?

Whenever the crowd goes crazy and has a fun night, because you provided quality service for the venue and its patrons.

5) They say that DJs have become the new rock stars. What's your opinion about that?

Yes and No. Nowadays, you can be the rock star promoter, DJ or Artist. In my case, I am well known in my city for being all three. I like to do things differently. I don't like being a follower in entertainment. I like to lead and choose a different path, even if it makes the situation a bit harder. It only helps you gain knowledge to become stronger at what you love to do.

6) What do you think about the rise of DJ software as opposed to traditional hardware-based DJing?

To me it doesn't matter what you use to DJ. If you have talent and you're passionate about what you do, then you'll figure out how to rock the crowd. My choice would be the Newmark NS7.

7) With mainstream music labels struggling to stay on top while indie artists pave their own futures, do you think the two will co-exist in 10 years time?

Yes, I think both will co-exist. Most upcoming independents lack the funds to expose themselves globally. Although once a rising star discovers his or her new found fame, the cash flows from the bookings. The established mainstream labels will scout at the perfect time to offer the entertainer a deal for growth and partnership. It all depends on how the artist wants to manage their career.

8) It's been said that mix tapes can make or break rookie DJs. Just how important are those mix tapes when you're starting out?

Mixtapes are extremely important, especially in the hip hop community. It can be a great outlet to promote, brand the next hottest artist or DJ. If you're a rookie DJ and your mixtape goes viral, you can become famous almost overnight. Unless the DJ has a major launch behind the mixtape, it wouldnt necessarily break the DJ because there wouldn't be enough fan support to hear it, or consider the project.

9) There's a lot of negativity in the entertainment sector right now, so how important is positivity to you, your brand, and your performances?

Positivity is extremely important. You can't stay focused with a lot of negativity around you. It's like trying to walk across a thin line with stones being thrown at you.

10) Tell us your most fond memory of a performance you've done.

There are many to tell, but I remember DJing at the Atrium Event Center in Stone Mountain, GA on New Years Eve in front of 3000 people. The venue was sectioned off to have 2 parties under 1 roof, so it would be 2 DJs spinning music to 1500 people on each side. On that particular night, the DJ system malfunctioned and his crowd walked over to my side of the club where I was spinning, to continue dancing. I felt like I had to save the day and I did! I played the hottest music that most where familiar with, and the crowd went crazy. I'm pissed I didn't have that moment caught on film!

For more on DJ KNIGHT ATL, check out his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.

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