April 11, 2020
FROM STL TO NYC TO LOVING L.A.
"I don't Dj to survive! Working in the television industry allows me to play the music and work with who I want."
During this COVID19 Quarantine we caught up DjB Original right after his Facebook Live Set to chop it about his life, the current state of the Dj amidst this pandemic.
RS- State your Government and Dj name for the people
BO- My name is Bennie Willams and my Dj name is Djb Original formerly Dj Obscene Hand Gestures, I had a name change around 2003
RS- So three part question, how long you been behind the one’s and two’s, what inspired you, and when did you know you were a Dj?
BO- I been Djing for thirty one years, started in 1989 just messing around. I got to high school at Hazelwood East, and saw Dj’s at house parties and was inspired. My older sister dated this guy that was a Dj when I was like eight or nine so I was just inspired at a young age, got older and became good friends with Dj Charlie Chan around 97’ and that’s when I got serious about it.
RS- Tell me about Charlie, do you consider him a mentor?
BO- I just call him my big brother, but definitely a mentor, he’s someone that I looked up to. In St Louis at the time, there just wasn’t a lot people that got out of there, and he was the first Dj that was able to go places and travel. He was the first Dj that was good at everything. I could look at him and compare him to a Dj I would see on tv, like from New York, he had all that skill set. He’s been a big Dj influence on me but more than that he’s been a big friend. Now whenever he’s touring with Run DMC and they come to L.A. we always link up. I just recently did a Scarface show and he rolled out with me, that was a lot of fun.
RS- So let's talk about the move to NY then L.A.
BO- I graduated from SIU Edwardsville with a finance degree. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to work in the television industry , but in St Louis people were like, you can’t do that people here don’t work in the television industry. I was given every single discouragement you could imagine but I ended up working at KMOV channel 4 in St Louis. Before that I was working at AG Edwards working my finance degree but I knew it wasn’t for me. Then I had an opportunity to move to New York and ended up at CBS Cable working in the industry everyone said I couldn’t work in. But, I wasn’t making enough to really survive in New York. I was even homeless for a little bit. I took on a second job a Sports Authority and would Dj on the weekends. I joined Chuck Chillout’s record pool, who was another one of my idols, and he was like “St Louis Niggas can’t Dj” (laugh). I had to literally prove myself to Chuck Chillout, I was able to do that and we developed a good relationship which we still have to this day. So that’s the New York part of it really, Djing out of necessity, I needed to eat, not really even having fun with it cause it was such a bad situation up there and that’s with a college degree, working forty hours a week, and with a second job, that struggle was real.
BO- The move to L.A. really came from being tired of winters (laugh), so I went to L.A. to interview for a job at Warner Brothers and ended getting the job so I moved to L.A. Then I spent a lot of years in L.A. not Djing, nobody would give me a shot and when I say nobody, I mean Nooobody (laugh), not one person. So luckily, I use to email this promoter named Sean Healy, he's one of the biggest promoters in Southern California. I was emailing him for years sending mixtapes asking to do one his shows. This was 2001 and I didn’t start Djing regularly until 2007. So one of his Dj’s called out for show, so he hit me up and said, you can come Dj this show for free period. He was like show up at the Key Club at 7 o’clock on Sunset Blvd and basically don’t fuck up nothing (laugh). So I showed up did my thing and he gave me another show, which was E-40, and that was around the time Prodigy got out of jail and he gave me the Mobb Deep show and I killed it! After that I Dj’d in every place you could think of in Los Angeles, The Roxy, Key Club, The Viper Room you name it.
RS- So you also work with the Rams?
BO- Yes I work with the Rams a lot
RS- Now that’s some irony right, you going from St Louis to L.A., then the Rams ending up back in L.A., talk about how that relationship came about?
BO- It’s been cool, the Rams are amazing they treat me incredibly well, I love working with them. The short story is that they needed a Dj for their cheerleader auditions at The Forum and a friend of mine, his wife was the coordinator and put us together. So I did it, and they liked it. I’ve been doing events for them ever since, pre-games, charity events, and all kinds of stuff it's been a great relationship.
RS- So how has the Coronavirus affected you and the Dj scene out in L.A.?
BO- Well thank God I still also work in the tv industry at Fox so that part hasn’t been affected but as far as Djing, of course events have stopped. Producer wise it's a hurdle but hasn’t stopped because people can record anywhere and just send me the vocals.
RS- So talk about your production company and some of the artists you’ve worked with
BO- So my record company is Sound Unity Entertainment, my recording studio is Boom Bap Recording Studios. As a producer I’ve pretty much worked with everyone I wanted to work with from Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Rza, etc. I actually recorded Prodigy’s last verse before he passed. The only artists I haven’t worked with I would love to work with is Nas and Jay-Z. The only other thing I really want to do is Dj at the Apollo!
RS- So in closing, is there anything else you want our audience to know about B Original?
BO- Yo, just check me out @djboriginal on Instagram but there’s a lot a great Dj’s out here, get out check out some more of the talent that’s out there.
March 21, 2020
RS- So what inspired the name Charlie Rose?
CR- Well my real name is Charlotte Rose, and I’m named after both my grandmothers, my Father’s Mother’s name is Charlotte and my Mother Mother’s name is Rose, and my family calls my Charely pronounced (Shar-ley), but I preserved that strictly for my family, I don’t let anyone else call me that, but now that I think about it, I probably should have gone with that (laugh). In high school I watched that movie Monster n law with Jennifer Lopez, her characters name was Charlotte but they call her Charlie and I was like I like that, Yeah everybody call me Charlie and then in ninth grade I was like so nobody call me Charlotte anymore my name is Charlie now, so that’s where that came from.
RS- When did you know you were a DJ?
CR- My dad has been in music since I was a little girl, he used to manage Lloyd and he used to be apart of this boy band called “Intuned” and my dad managed them with “Joyce Irby” who was in the group Klymaxx, and “Intuned” broke up so Joyce and my dad started managing Lloyd. So I was always backstage, I remember Tamar Braxton had her debut album, Ginuwine, I was there for Old Atlanta, I was a little girl always backstage with my dad, we would be a Dallas Austin’s studio, I was always around music. I then Lloyd got signed to Murder Inc., so we were around Def Jam and Rocafella Records people all the time, getting all the albums, we were going to concerts just constantly around the music. If we were lucky my dad would check out of school when Lloyd and Omarion were doing a lot of shows and I would beg my dad “Please Dad, I love Omarion” . So when I got to high school my mom was like I need to do something because I talk to much and getting on my nerves (laugh). So she made me do an internet radio show with three of my best friends call “3 Girls and A Mic” that did really well. So once I got to college my dad was like female Dj’s are the new wave and believed I should really start doing that, I was 18 at the time and had already downloaded Virtual Dj on my computer, but I was like “Whatever Dad” and about a year after that I was like I’m a really try to do this. That was the summer of 2014, by that fall I was a Dj for A3C on the Good Music Stage.
RS- What Dj’s inspire you who do you look up to?
CR- Oh yeah, Diplo, I’m obsessed with Diplo, If somebody asked me where I wanted my trajectory to be him completely! From the outside looking in his life is just amazing. And my other huge inspiration is Venus X, she’s like an underground scene Dj from New York she’s amazing and women of color and that means a lot to me. One of the things I really like about Venus is that she’s not afraid to break new artist, and especially living in Atlanta nobody likes doing new things, there’s like this Atlanta Dj set and if you’re not doing that they don’t consider you a good Dj, and sometimes I doubt myself cause I’m like that, but when I watch Venus break these new artist I’m like okay that’s definitely what I want to do, so I think the biggest thing about me like I don’t care if you’re hot or how many followers you have or how many streams you have if I like and I think it’s good it’s going into my set.
RS- We see that you have other endeavors going on like artist management, tell us about that and what other interests do you have
CR- The artist management just came naturally, my daughter’s father is Music Producer Maserati he’s extremely talented and he found and developed Rae Sremmurd and I had been begging him to take on a new artist again , my dad and I were begging him and dad was like you’re going need something that sets you apart and he believed breaking new artist could be my thing. So I started managing artist and its been going really well, my two artist right now are Lee Vasi @leeleevasi an AfroLatina artist and Len Wodie @lenwodie a producer/artist . Its really fun to be in the studio with them and I’ll snatch a record and be a party and fit it into a set, so it just seems like Dj and management go hand and hand. Outside of that I’m really into social justice which for me comes in the form of reading, I love books so I started a book club called Charlie’s Reads. My Mother is a writer so I grew up around her writing and going to her agent meetings, books and music are my two huge things.
RS- Tell us about balancing motherhood and your career?
CR- Whew, (laugh) long days, crying, very stressful . There was a point where my whole life was based on my daughter and her father, and then I realized I have to have my own life and my own thing. I tried the whole stay at home mom thing not saying the two things can’t go together but I didn’t know myself outside of motherhood and got real depressed to where my hair started falling out and just didn’t know who I was. So I had to take my life back. So my daughter is with me when I can her have there, as long as its a safe environment, my daughter will be with me in the studio, a set, or business meeting. I want her to see all the things her mommy can be. I’m a Mom, Dj, Manager, and I have to check off those boxes everyday.
RS- So are you originally from Atlanta?
CR- Yes, I’m a Georgia Peach
RS- What do you listen to when its just Charlie time?
CR- Some described me as a whimsical, bougie, trap girl (laugh) one minute I might be listening to George Michael, then Future , then the Isley Brothers, and then me and my daughter might be listening to Princess and the frog.
RS- Rapid fire time
RS- M&M’s or Skittles?
RS- Moe’s or Chipotle?
RS- Heels or Sneakers?
RS- Sunrise or Sunsets?
CR- Oh goodness, sunsets
RS- Thank you Charlie, stay safe and healthy
CR-I’m trying not to lose mind in this house, Thank you!