DJ Tracy Young celebrates 25 illustrious years behind the turntables this month. In that time, the music weaver who has been heralded for her work with the hottest names in music, including Madonna, Cher, and Lady Gaga, has released seven musical compilations and racked up 48 #1 Billboard Club hits. Her latest single, “Peace, Love, & Music,” is already at #6 on the Billboard dance chart.
At the time Tracy first stepped into the booth, a female DJ was unheard of. It was equivalent to a woman playing football in the NFL. It simply did not happen.
Young owes much of her success to powerful women in the industry who helped her along the way. Most notably her friend Ingrid Casares, who introduced her to Madonna in the mid-nineties. Young would go on to spin private events for the Material Girl: movie premieres, album release parties, even her wedding to Guy Ritchie! Madonna’s stamp of approval lead to more opportunities to work with celebrities and soon, Young was producing her own original music.
Tracy Young is looking forward to celebrating her silver jubilee in style. She will release a special 25th year anniversary compilation this fall, but in the mean time we sat down with her for an exclusive Hotspots interview about a week before her taking over the DJ booth at the Black Fort Lauderdale event.
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How does it feel to be such a female pioneer in the male dominated DJ industry and to have made it 25 years?
It has been difficult at times, especially at the beginning of my career. There weren’t many women in the DJ booth behind the turntables. Therefore, I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had. I honestly don’t think about it in a “pioneer” way. It’s always been about the music for me. I believe that people spend time doing things that they love. I loved to DJ, spent my free time practicing, and was persistent about it. It was always about the craft. I just love music and I think that shows through my productions, DJ sets, and the journey the story tells. It’s a passion and nothing to do with gender to me.
In your 25 year career, what are some of the special moments that stand out?
It’s too difficult to name them all. A recent moment that stands out was when I DJ’d the Hillary Clinton rally at the Manor in Fort Lauderdale that she attended. It was such a historical moment. This is such a hard question to answer because I feel every moment is special. I have been blessed to have so many amazing opportunities. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the most influential women and pioneers in the music industry such as Cher, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Nicks, Shakira, Diane Warren, Lady Gaga & Katy Perry. I have traveled all over the world, DJing some of the biggest events, festivals and night clubs and had the honor to work with numerous charities such as GLAAD, the Trevor Project, the National Task force & Care Resource.
Let’s go back to the beginning, when did you realize you wanted to be a DJ?
I’ve always been obsessed with music. It’s how I communicate and I talked my way into Tracks nightclub at age 17. It was one continuous song and I simply had to know how to do that. I finally was able to get to the DJ booth and when I witnessed the DJ spin two records together with a mixer I had to do it. I went out bought two turntables and my ex-boyfriend bought me a mixer. I was hooked and would be mixing and practicing in my spare time.
What was your first residency and can you remember how it felt?
HillHaven in South East Washington DC was my first residency, and I remember how it felt as it feels the same today. I still have that anxious feeling when I step into the DJ booth. It never goes away until I start spinning. I always want people to feel the journey of the music and the story that’s being told.
You have toured most of your career. What are some of your favorite cities and events?
I loved all the experiences I’ve had in every city. Montreal for Black & Blue and Orlando for Gay Days have been some of the most memorable. Of course, Miami & Fort Lauderdale for GENESIS New Years Day is always one of my favorite events of the year. It’s always an eight to 10 hour musical journey and the best way to celebrate New Years! Can’t wait for 2018’s Genesis which is in the planning stages!
What separates you from other DJs?
I think my versatility in many different genres. I started my career in radio at WPGC in Washington, DC, which has provided a vast amount of musical knowledge in Hip-Hop, Top 40, Old School, Disco, R & B, Funk, and Freestyle. I play several different formats. I just started a show at iHeart media on 939 Mia Saturday’s at 9 p.m., which is a mix of 80’s, 90’s and current hits of today. It’s very different from what I do in nightclubs and festivals.
You have worked among and with superstars. Other than the obvious, Madonna, who are your favorites and why?
Cyndi Lauper & Lady Gaga are two of my favorites. They are incredibly gifted on stage and the passion they have for music is infectious.
What is your go to song when you really need to pump a dance floor?
“Peace, Love & Music,” which is an original production I did with my longtime friend and singer Ceevox. We released remixes by Alain Jackinsky, Tom Stephan, Eric Kupper, Barry Harris, and MSC Bounce. This is a weapon for any crowd!
Other than DJing, what do you like to do for fun?
I love to exercise, watch documentaries, and I am a huge animal lover! To be honest though, I love to create, listen to, remix and write music for fun. It’s what I eat, breathe and live for. Everything that I love to do is surrounded by music. So I’m always creating.
Are you excited about headlining the 19th annual Black Fort Lauderdale, a Gary Santis event, and what should the crowd expect from you?
I love working at the Manor in Fort Lauderdale and with Gary Santis. Fort Lauderdale has an energy that reminds me of Miami in the 90’s. Its raw, artsy, fresh and welcoming. Gary is a pioneer in this business and has a vision and formula that just simply works. It’s exciting to be part of his vision. I am working on exclusive remixes and new original songs. I have always been the type of DJ that feeds off the crowd’s energy so although I’m always prepared musically, it’s a give-take relationship between the dancefloor and me. Just expect to dance your A – – off!
What does the future hold for DJ Tracy Young?
I’m moving to the next phase of my career, which is songwriting and more music original production. I am spending most of my time creating songs and challenging myself by this process. Over the past years, I have spent most of my time producing remixes however now, my attention has shifted to the challenge of the original composition. I’ve been working on more music for TV and documentaries as well, and have a song featured in the show “Corporate” which comes out soon.
For more information on DJ Tracy Young, you can go to her website at TracyYoung.com or catch her on social media at: facebook.com/iamtracyyoung; twitter.com/djtracyyoung; instagram.com/djtracyyoung or on soundcloud.com/tracyyoung.