It's not every day that a former NBA star becomes an international music sensation. Rony Seikaly, also known as former Miami Heat center "The Spin Doctor," has played in some of the biggest clubs: LAVO in New York City, LIV in Miami and Wet Republic in Las Vegas, all while enjoying residencies at LIO in Ibiza and REVEL in Atlantic City. Seikaly's passion for the music is threaded through his seamless mixes. Drawing from all the genres he is intimately acquainted with and the DJs whose methods he admires, Seikaly brings in the best of the best. I had the chance to catch up with Rony recently in an interview and here is what he had to say about his career path, becoming a DJ, his goals and preshow rituals:
First of all, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. If you weren't a professional basketball player or a musician, what would you be doing and why?
I would focus on the real estate business, as I do anyway. Between basketball and music I've always done real estate, which is another passion of mine. That's what I do in my life, that's my business hat.
So, you went from playing on the Miami Heat to DJing in clubs and venues. Most NBA stars retire and start a charity. What made you want to DJ?
I never had the intention of becoming a professional DJ; I just always played music as a hobby. The opportunity came organically and it seemed like it would be fun and it grew from there. I am also very active with charities, though! I wear a few different hats -- I run my real estate business, I do my music, I aim to be as active as possible with charities and be a father, which is the most important one of them all.
What goals have you set for yourself as a DJ? What have you accomplished so far and what do you still want to accomplish?
The first goal that I had set early on was to play in the clubs that I had always gone to. It's been a dream come true playing in some of the greatest spaces in the world. Another goal was to produce my own music which I've done, my most recent project Nervous Nitelife Presents Rony Seikaly consists of a majority of my original production. Now the goal is to continue doing those two things and continue to share my music. I want to keep having fun with it and spreading the music; when the fun stops, I'll stop. Some people may say you're too old to DJ but no one says that to Elton John or the Rolling Stones. There is no age to music, it gives you peace, harmony...it gives you life. I can't see how life would be without music, so there isnt really a plan or an exit strategy, I'll do this until it becomes not fun. It's almost like golf to me -- age should have nothing to do with it if you get enjoyment out of it.
What makes you successful as a DJ and producer?
It's my style, I think. A lot of DJs play what everyone else is playing but I have a certain style. Most people don't know that style, so some are open to it, some question it and some love it. It's like anything else, just a matter of time as people get accustomed to that sound.
What are your rituals before a show?
Usually I try to imagine the club and the crowd and understand going in what it is that they're looking for musically. I am the type of person that likes to make people dance and have a good time; I don't want to force things upon them. Whatever it is they are looking for I will do that within my own style. If they want high energy I play my version of it and so on. I'll adjust my style to whatever the club wants but within my structure.
If you could meet and/or collaborate with one musician, past or present, who would it be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Barry White. He was one of my all-time favorite artists. His voice and his music is timeless. I started listening to Barry White and I still listen to Barry White. I've heard every song 3,000 times and could hear them another 3,000 times. It's everything good about music: melodic and sexy.
What do you want people to remember by the way you led your life?
As a person who tried to maximize whatever God-given talent I have and make the best of it.
What tips would you give someone just starting out in the industry?
My suggestion would be to stand out. In order to make a splash you need to stand out. The field is very crowded so originality is a way to separate you from everyone else; if you're just following the herd than you'll be a part of the herd.
You can follow Rony Seikaly on Twitter @RonySeikaly.
Follow Michael Picard on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mpicardd