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Rising Stars: Meet Rafael Armijo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rafael Armijo.

Hi Rafael, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started my journey when I was about thirteen years old. My uncle was a mobile dj and he would see how interested I was in djing. He would take me along his events. I quickly learned that being a mobile dj isn’t just playing music and collecting money. You have to bring in all your equipment, set up at least an hour before the event, double-checking wires and making sure everything is ready to go. Then after the party is over and everyone is ready to go home the dj is usually the last one to leave. That still didn’t discourage me and I would often go home and burn my own cds with the music me and my friends were currently into. Once my uncle taught me the basics I was ready to start doing high school parties. At the time a lot of people wanted to become djs so there was a lot of competition on who gets to play the big parties. I was motivated to become the best dj in school so often times I would stay up late on school nights just practicing my cuts blends and building my music library. I ended up landing a residency at a local hookah lounge called Rippin hookah lounge in the city of Victorville where I would bring in my equipment and play for five plus hours for about $75 the whole night. Which was a lot for me being a senior in high school. While having that residency, I was able to gain experience in playing for a different crowd every night. Taking what I’ve been practicing in my bedroom and applying it live in front of an audience.

Once I graduated high school, I joined the army and left to boot camp two weeks after receiving my diploma. When I returned home 11 weeks later, I was still passionate about djing if not more. That’s when I decided to head to the city and establish my name. Being from Victorville, CA there was little room for growth there. I ended up coming across an ad that a local hookah lounge in downtown Los Angeles called Blue Moon Hookah Lounge, there were holding dj auditions and without hesitation, I drove the hour and a half to try out and I ended up getting the spot. I was there every Friday & Saturday for two years and was able to build my experience even more and it was also a great place to network. I quickly learned that building relationships was more valuable than anything. Especially if you’re trying to make it as a dj in the city. I would reach out to as many promoters as I could and often times play for free just to show my talents. Now I have residencies Thursday-Saturday. I’ve played at some of the biggest parties in the Los Angeles area. I still have a long way to go to get to my ultimate goal which is to reveal all around the world and do nothing but DJ. When new djs ask me how I got to where I am today, I tell them I stayed consistent and I tried to get better each and every day.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Some of the struggles I faced when trying to make a name for myself as a dj in a new city. Many of the promoters only cared about how many people you can bring and how many tickets you can sell. I didn’t grow up in the city so everyone I knew was in my hometown of Victorville and a lot of them weren’t willing to drive that hour and a half to come out and support. Another struggle was driving back home to Victorville from downtown Los Angeles every weekend for about two years.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I currently work as a dam operator for the Army Corps Of Engineers while djing Thursday through Saturday and sometimes even on Sundays. My day job helps pay for bills while my weekend job helps build the dream job. I’m most proud of the fact that I haven’t given up djing. From not making anything to now making more than more day jobs. I used to dream of playing in front of hundreds of people every night and now I do that every weekend. What I feel sets me apart from other djs is the ability to read a crowd and play songs they can sing along to. Taking them on a musical journey with songs they may have forgot about or some new songs they haven’t heard before.

What does success mean to you?
Success to me is doing what you love to do every single day. To wake up and be excited about what city I’m playing in today.

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