All you pop culture junkies might recognize DJ Tracy Young from The Real Housewives of Atlanta where she recently made a cameo alongside ex-girlfriend Kim Zolciak. But if that's the only reason you know her, you're crazy. Since 1991, Ms. Young has racked up a total of 40 Billboard Number One hits, DJ-ed Madonna's wedding, and spun records for everyone from Cher to Diddy.
When Crossfade got the chance to chat with the spinstress herself in the runup to her famous Genesis party on New Year's Day, we asked her about Miami, the Material Girl, and her wig-wearing ex.
Crossfade: You just moved to New York City. Has it been a hard adjustment from Miami?
Tracy Young: I don't even know what to do with myself. It's so cold. I moved to LA for a relationship. And when that ended, I was pissed. I regretted leaving Miami, because I might not be from there, but I consider Miami home. I was there for 12 years! I was thinking about going back to Miami. But I figured I would go to New York City and try out something new. I am single and can be myself ... I'm back and forth quite a bit.
You'll be back for Mansion's New Year's Day party. What can people expect?
This party has turned into something so massive! Honestly, in the beginning, it was an experiment. I was sick of New Year's Eve and all that comes with it: parking, being somewhere at a specific time, and making sure all your friends were there. I was like, "Why don't we do a morning party?" I knew in the gay community they had been popular, so I figured it was worth a try. And now it's the eighth year and it's just a really fun party! My advice to those attending is to get a good night's sleep before [because] the party goes on all day! Or it can be an after-hours for anyone heading in from the night before. And it's at Mansion, the best club in my opinion.
Who has been your favorite artist to work with?
It's hard to pick a favorite. [But] I would have to say Madonna. She is someone I really admire, look up to musically and career-wise. Every choice Madonna has made is mind-blowing to me.
Was DJing her wedding a highlight of your career?
It was symbolic in some ways. I am in a field where you hear "No" a lot, especially because of my gender. So when Madonna and I started working together, it was like, "Yeah, I did it." And her wedding was an honor to perform at because I felt like she trusted me [with] one of the biggest days of her life. I was completely honored and, to be honest, really nervous.
Does getting a Billboard #1 ever get old. You have 40 of them.
Haha ... No, it doesn't get old. It's always like, "Wow!" Every honor, mention, award, when people credit me as an inspiration, it all really touches me. It's not easy to be in this industry. There was no woman for me to look up to growing up.
What do you think of the rise of the girl DJ?
I think it's fantastic. The only thing I don't like is when I see girls half-naked in the booth. I'm not sure if it's the male club owners who are doing it or if the girl is doing it, but I come in jeans and a t-shirt and I'm there to play music. But if that's what they want to do, then why not? I wish they wouldn't, no one is going to take you seriously. You want people drooling over your music, not you.
You were just on Real Housewives of Atlanta. How was that experience?
Did I hate it? Yes, I did. At the end of the day, Kim and I had a very personal experience and I never wanted to be on that show. I was talked into it. I wish Kim the best [and] I don't regret any of it. But I was extremely uncomfortable. It was just an experience, I guess. I'm a DJ ... What was I doing on a Housewives show? It never made sense to me from day one. But I wanted to help my friend. I wanted to be shown in my craft. But what are you going to do? It's a reality show.
What was it like to have your love life talked about on TV?
I mean, it's weird to have your life talked about on TV. It's weird to see how she talked about me. It was very strange.The Kim I see on TV isn't the Kim that I met. But that might be the real Kim. Who knows? [The person] I saw privately was different. Being on a reality show wasn't how we spent our time together.
Would you say Kim takes her career seriously?
No. When I met Kim, it was a very serious thing for her. But the way she is portrayed on TV, it's not very serious to me and it looks like she doesn't take it seriously. But I do and I see Kandi's frustrations and I get it. It's just me, but if I was performing, I would get my dance routines down. You know what I'm saying?
What does 2011 look like for you?
A great year! A lot of gigs, producing, a lot of music! I'm going back to my roots. I'm not a housewife. Never was.
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Tracy Young. Saturday, January 1. Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $65 to $100 via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-532-1525 or visit mansionmiami.com.