DJ Fly Guy is currently working his ass off and simultaneously living the dream.
This summer he was selected to be one of five DJs to travel the country to get crowds hyped for the Copa América Centenario, the centennial edition of the South American football tournament. For the 100th anniversary celebration, the field was expanded from 12 to 16 teams, and includes squads from both CONMEBOL (South America) and CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean), and is being hosted by the United States for the first time ever.
As far as DJ Fly Guy is concerned, that just means more people to entertain, and a bigger — but welcome — challenge. We spoke to him the day after he worked the Chile v. Bolivia game at Gillette Stadium. Still in Boston, he tells us the hardest part about this gig versus his normal residencies is selecting the music.
“The biggest challenge for me has been getting more familiar with Latin music because the Copa is a heavy Latin-attended event... But living in Miami, I had it easier than maybe some of the other DJs had it.”
And the pressure is on to fill plenty of time. His daily schedule on
It’s not only a tremendous boost to his
Born Rahsaan Alexander, DJ Fly Guy began his career at a young age, first as an MC (which he still does; in fact, he’s gearing up to release a hip-hop record soon) before falling in love with DJing. He scored this tasty gig through a longtime connection, DJ Spin Easy, who is currently the official DJ for the U.S. National Soccer Team. “This tournament has been going on for a hundred years, but it’s the first time it’s been held in the United States. They tapped the U.S. Soccer organization to help coordinate and organize every game. They asked him who he felt could handle crowds of 30,000 people and help them get excited. He said I was the first one he reached out to.”
Nonetheless, this is hardly a case of favoritism. DJ Fly Guy has earned his place in this tournament like many of the teams did. A native of Guyana, the Brooklyn-bred Alexander cut his teeth in the music business in two of the toughest and most demanding markets in the country, New York and, of course, Miami. It was in South Florida where he made his name by DJing at LIV, Mansion, and Story while also spinning at private parties for the likes of Drake and Robin Thicke.
Still, the coolest thing he’s ever done — and the event that’s had the most impact on his life — is also the source of his greatest professional heartache.
In 2013, DJ Fly Guy appeared on VH1’s Master of the Mix, a reality DJ competition. It opened many doors for him and his fanbase grew to new heights. However, he didn’t make it past the seventh episode. Losing the competition wasn’t the problem. It was how he lost.
When discussing the worst show he’s ever been involved in, he doesn’t hesitate.
“The episode I got eliminated,” he laughs. “It’s been on TV now so I can talk about it, but I actually had an emotional breakdown. I ended up crying on camera. I knew that when I started crying they were filming it and I thought, ‘Shit, this is gonna be on television. I know they’re not going to edit this out — they’re going to keep it for sure.’ We filmed it two months before it aired so I just kept waiting [until] the show premiered. I thought, ‘OK. I have six weeks before people see me crying on television.' [Laughs] So I prepped myself for six weeks.”
It was one of the show's weekly challenges that
“When they issued this particular challenge, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I think just as important as knowing your strengths is knowing your weaknesses. What you need improvement on.”
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The two DJs he was up against were world champions. Worse yet, the episode was filmed in Miami and he suffered the embarrassment of failing in front of a stunned home crowd. “It’s different in a nightclub,” he says. “In a nightclub, I have two hours to impress you. On that show, I had two and a half minutes. And then at the end of those two and a half minutes, you have to be immediately scrutinized and criticized by three judges who have their own opinion of you." There was also the added pressure of $250,000 at stake.
Since then, has he worked on those skills?
“Definitely. I’m still working on it every day. I work on all aspects of the DJ craft because it’s just that important to me. It’s what I spend the most time on. I never want to be in a situation like that again.”
In other words, Copa América is getting the best DJ Fly Guy has to offer and he’s only getting better every day.