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DJ to the stars ready to spin his magic for Kelowna

Saturday, October 10th, 2009 | 9:00 am

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Interview with DJ Mell Starr by Mark Stone

DJ Mell Starr will be working the turntables for the Jay-Z Blueprint 3 Afterparty (photo: Mell Starr)

DJ Mell Starr will be working the turntables for the Jay-Z Blueprint 3 Afterparty (photo: Mell Starr)

DJ Mell Starr is getting used to being called upon by celebrities and other important organizations around the world to spin his turntable magic for them. He’s not allowing it to get to his head, however. “I’m in a very good place right now,” Starr told me on the phone from his home in Manhattan. “But I’m still humble and want to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s a great life.”

Starr is traveling with the Jay-Z Blueprint 3 concert tour and is playing the afterparties in all 24 cities. Touring is nothing new to the New York City DJ, who says he just came back from a tour he will never forget – playing for the troops in Iraq. “You name it, I’ve done it. A lot of touring… But this summer I went to Iraq and Kuwait for the troops for about two months. My buddy set up this gig where I played for 160,000 troops. It was insane. I was even allowed to check out the bases.” Logistically I wondered how they got that many people together for a party-like environment. “We were on a base and we had one area which was, I don’t know what to cal it, it was all concrete and miles out,” Starr explains. “They posted that there was a DJ and I was there. It was like 3 Madison Square Gardens. They had to house the sound equipment in a C-130 aircraft!”

While playing for the troops qualifies as an unforgettable experience, there was one other Iraqi excursion Starr will never forget. “I stayed in Saddam Hussein’s home and it was nothing like they were talking about. That was surreal.”

Starr has an impressive list of clients that he plays for when he’s not touring. “My biggest client is probably Tiger Woods. I did the PGA tour for him and that was really cool. I also work for old school rappers like Biz Markie and Doug E. Fresh, and play for Rihanna and Kanye West.” Starr was even called upon to play the biggest party of all so far this year – the inauguration ceremonies for Barack Obama. “I worked with Tobey Maguire on a big inauguration party he put on with Spike Lee and Kid Rock.” Did Spike and Kid Rock get along, I asked? “At the inauguration everyone wanted to get together and throw a party. We all got along.”

Kelowna residents used to hearing and seeing regular DJs are in for a treat when DJ Mel Starr spins for the Jay-Z Blue Print 3 Afterparty. He’s not your typical DJ. “I do a lot of remixing. I am able to obtain the artists’ acapellas and chop em’ up and play them. I would do remixes on the fly in the club and people would tell me that I should make the remixes. Now in my spare time I remix a lot of hot tracks and some of them even find their way onto radio.” Starr also refuses to use a set list for tracks he’s going to play in a given night. He prefers to let the crowd dictate what works and what doesn’t. “Depending on the venue, I don’t have a set – I look at the crowd and am open-minded. I work the crowd. I use some software along with the turntables to enhance the experience. But the thing that catches a lot of people is that I don’t DJ with headphones. When you see it you ask yourself  ‘How the hell does he do that?’ I can now set it up without hearing the mix, and I can actually see it happening. People call me DJ Mell Starr – No Headphones in Harlem.”

You can catch DJ Mell Starr as he works his turntable magic after Jay-Z’s concert for the big afterparty at Flashbacks on October 15th.

DJ to the stars ready to spin his magic for Kelowna5.051

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