If you had asked me to name a popular house DJ before last Friday, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I could take a stab at remembering some of the names that I've heard, (something Morillo? Fiesto?) but I couldn't tell you what track that DJ was known for, or where they perform. I can't grasp the gravity that an Electric Zoo or Electric Daisy holds for a fan of house music, but I know when that time of year comes around, my Facebook newsfeed floods with people who are "so pumped to listen to dirty beats" and "can't wait to see so-and-so kill it."
Regardless, I understand the concept in its most basic form: music moves people. It always has, and it always will. Entire generations have been defined by the bands that they follow, the venues they frequent, and now, the DJs they flock to hear. On Friday, August 17th, 2012, I experienced my first, on the cusp of fame house DJ. His name is DJ Paige. And he's my little cousin.
From behind the stage, in the VIP section of a club called Pacha, I stepped aside for the cameramen who were snapping photos of my cousin. After what felt like an eternity, the emcee asked the crowd if they were ready for DJ Paige. The lights dimmed. Fans screamed. The air was electric. You could taste the anticipation that the crowd was feeling. Their eagerness to find out what song he would open with was contagious. From the first beat of his first track until the end of the night, the crowd moved in sync with my cousin, fed off his energy, cheered his name, screamed at their favorite tracks. Everyone moved, but I couldn't. All I could do was watch in awe at the scene before me. Was this really the same kid who always found my hiding spot when we used to play hide-and-seek in Grandma's basement? The same guy who had dropped what he was doing to help me move into my new apartment just a few months earlier?
At one point, a girl told me that this "didn't look like my scene," and I admitted that normally, it wasn't. When she asked me why I was here, I told her that the DJ was my cousin. "No way, really? Your first cousin? I don't believe you," she told me. "I'm a huge fan. If you're his cousin, tell me, where did he grow up?" I passed her quiz, and was later introduced to her sister, who was wearing a DJ Paige T-shirt she had designed herself.
I can't help but wonder if this is how family members of celebrities feel right at the beginning, when this person that they grew up with, who shares their same DNA, is right on the edge of fame. Is this how Leo Dicaprio's cousins felt when Titanic was just about to hit theaters? When NSYNC played their first big concert, could those related to its members even comprehend the fact that this many women were screaming the name of their relative?
My cousin would laugh at the fact that I just compared him to those people. He thinks it's funny when I suggest that we hang out whenever he's not too busy being a super famous DJ, or when he's done signing autographs and can tear himself away from the fans -- but now, that's becoming more of a reality.
Whenever celebrities' family members are interviewed, they always say things like, "you know, he's just a normal guy," or, "it couldn't have happened to a better person," and now I understand that sentiment. My cousin, DJ Paige, who played to a crowd of thousands last Friday, is just a normal, down-to-earth guy, with an extraordinary talent that moves masses of people. He loves ice cream so much that he won't keep it in the house, because he'd go through an entire carton in one sitting. He'll stay in if there happens to be a marathon of River Monsters on TV when his schedule allows for it. He gets to wake up every day and do what he loves, whether it's in a studio, or in front of thousands of people, and that fact is not lost on him.
And it couldn't have happened to a better person.
For more information on DJ Paige, visit www.DJPaige.com.