Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Dylan Cronje moved to the beat of music even when he was in nappies. Not that he has been out of nappies for all that long.
He is only 10. To his family, it had come as no surprise that the Joburg youngster took a stern interest in becoming a DJ.
Today Dylan is one of the most talked about DJs. Not only does his skill on the decks set him apart from hundreds of other DJs, there is something unique and special about Dylan. He is the youngest DJ in the country.
He has played in clubs around the country, is supported by the Soul Candi Institute of Music and is sponsored by Pioneer music, and in a few months time Dylan will be releasing his own album.
Although he is known on the music scene, he was thrust into the limelight two weeks ago when 5FM’s DJ Fresh featured the youngster on the Ultimix@6.
He played a live set for over 40 minutes in studio, after which the radio station was inundated with calls praising the youngster.
Dylan, who attends Bryneven Primary School in Joburg, said it had been a dream come true to have his mix played during the Ultimix.
“Every day at six o’clock, I listen to the Ultimix, it’s what I most look forward to,” he told the Saturday Star when we visited him at his home.
“It was amazing being able to play live at the 5FM studios and it was very amazing meeting DJ Fresh as he is one of my favourite DJs.”
The 10-year-old would rather play a mix on his decks than talk – he is a little shy.
He told us, however, that his friends were excited for him after hearing his mix on radio.
“They are all very happy for me because they know how much I love the Ultimix. Now all my friends want the same mix I played on the radio.”
Dylan began experimenting with deejaying with his mom’s phone when he was just seven years old.
“Dylan would take my phone each day and try to mix songs on it, that’s how it all began,” his mom, Rita, said.
“One day I got tired of it and said I had to buy my son a DJ kit as he seemed very passionate about it.”
His mom bought him a digital DJ kit and he began practicing each night after he had completed his homework.
Rita then decided to enrol Dylan at a DJ course so he could further his knowledge.
However, no DJ schools took kids under the age of 13. However, the Soul Candi Institute was so blown away by the talent of the youngster they took him in even though he was only nine.
“Soul Candi immediately recognised Dylan’s talent and decided to take him on board,” Rita said.
Soon Dylan began playing gigs at different clubs. His first gig was at Club Prerogative in the Eastern Cape.
“The people at the club could not believe that I was so young and yet I was deejaying,” said Dylan.
“They all took out their cellphones and started recording me. It was really nice that they cheered for me and that they danced away to my music,” he said.
Dylan then played at clubs in Durban and Joburg, and has had regular gigs at corporate events since. The youngster was also featured on Yo-Tv where he played a live set.
Although he lives for his deejaying, his mom says that Dylan knows that school work always comes first.
“Dylan knows that he is only allowed to practice deejaying once all his school work is complete. If he has tests, he has to study hard and focus, because he knows that his education is important.”
And while some people may frown at the thought of a 10-year-old in a nightclub, Rita says her son merely stays for his gig and then leaves without even seeing the club.
“I am not being an irresponsible parent. My son has a passion for deejaying and I will support him. If he loved soccer I would be at the stadium every weekend,” she said.
“Dylan gets escorted in the club by bouncers. He sits in the VIP box alone and waits to go on stage, and as soon as he is done we leave, we don’t stick around at all. Technically, Dylan hasn’t really been to a club because he does his job and leaves, that’s it.”
Dylan’s tutor at the Soul Candi Institute for Music, DJ Beat Army, said that they had accepted Dylan because of his exceptional talent.
“For me he is even better than most of the DJs in the country at the moment. I can see him playing internationally one day because he is just that good.”
Dylan says his ultimate dream is to play live together with Dubstep group Skrillex, who are in the country.
“I wish I could have gone to see them live, however, the party is only for over 18s, so I guess I’ll have to wait a few more years,” he said.
Dylan also looks up to local musicians DJ Euphonik and DJ Fresh who have been his inspiration.
“They are great DJs and hopefully I can be like them one day.”
He says he hopes to travel overseas and play at different clubs around the world. “I would love to play in Miami, Las Vegas and Ibiza, that would be amazing.”
For now though, he says, he has to focus on school, specifically Afrikaans, the subject he most struggles with.
“It’s really difficult and I must study hard so I can pass and do well,” he said.
“I’ve got an upcoming Afrikaans test and I have an English speech to submit, so I have to focus on my school work.”
Dylan will play his next live gig at the Sands Club in Joburg on Saturday March 16. He has three confirmed gigs this month.
You can follow him on twitter at: @djdylansa