Having played for the likes of President Barack Obama, Anna Wintour, Beyonce and Kanye West, Celebrity DJ Cassidy is no lightweight in the New York nightlife scene. We caught up with him during his recent trip here for the Johnnie Walker Jet Black party (where he showed us how he got his street cred) and found out what’s next for this hip hop gent.
What do you love about your job?
I love making people dance. I love watching people dance. I love exposing people to new music. I love travelling the world. I love meeting my heroes. I love playing my heroes’ music for my heroes. And most of all, I love expanding the culture of deejaying.
Any plans to collaborate with artists on a record?
I am currently recording my first album which features many of the iconic artists for whom I have performed. It is the album I always wanted everyone else to make; so I’m making it.
Having worked with, arguably, the world’s greatest artists, were any of them hard to work with?
The more in touch with their art someone is, the more in touch with your art they are. I’ve performed for some of the greatest artists and most renowned figures in pop culture. Genius minds ask for genius action. People always ask me if Jay-Z, Puffy, and Kanye are hard to work with. I say no, they are not; they just know what they want.
Who is your favourite client?
President Obama. I am honoured every time I play a record in his presence. When the President of the United States, and the most significant leader of our time, calls on you to showcase your craft, it is truly a surreal feeling.
What is the most memorable project you’ve ever worked on?
One of the most memorable projects I’ve worked on was remixing The Jackson 5’s “Stop The Love You Save” for the Michael Jackson remix album Motown released after Michael’s death. Sylvia Rhone asked to choose a song and I knew right away which one I wanted. I set out to transform a Michael classic from ‘60s into a Michael hit from the ‘70s. Listening to every single layer of the original master was like digging for gold in a gold mine.
What is the craziest thing that’s ever happened during a set?
There are too many to name but Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour, Puffy, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Pharell Williams, and Naomi Campbell jamming in the deejay booth for two hours at the Met Costume Gala in 2010 was pretty crazy.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Hip Hop, Soul, Bossa Nova, Reggae, and Rod Stewart’s American Songbook.
What is the artist that is currently on loop in your playlist?
The Weeknd. Yuna. Kendrick Lamar.
Have you started planning for your birthday party? Having held it at the Intrepid last year, where are you having it this time around?
After ten years of surprise performances from legendary artists like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Naughty By Nature, Nice ‘N Smooth, Bobby Brown, Bell Biv Devoe, and then reuniting all six members of New Edition on The Intrepid, I retired from the birthday game. I did everything I wanted to do.
Any plans to return to Singapore for another gig?
Yes! I plan to stop by Front Row at Raffles for some fashion and Spize for some late-night lobster and crayfish. My first experience in Singapore was impressive, to say the least. Johnnie Walker did an excellent job transforming the Mercedes-Benz centre into a glamourous place and I feel that the launch of the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve lounge at midnight was a nice surprise for the crowd.