Grad student pursues his passion of being a DJ

Josh LaBellaGeneral Assignment Reporter

Tafari Turner started as a DJ when he was 14-years-old and never looked back.

Turner, a graduate student working to get his MBA, said he started at Southern Connecticut in 2011 as a communications major.  

Originally from St. Catherine, Jamaica, Turner said he learned how to DJ with help from the owner of a sound system in his community and it quickly became a passion for him.

“I remember I had to blend two different songs together from separate CDs,” said Turner.

According to Turner, people in his community soon started calling him “Fire.” He said he decided to adopt the nickname and dubbed himself “DJ Fire,” a name he has used ever since.

“I never really knew why people called me that but I decided to make it my own,” said Turner.

Turner got his first job as a paid DJ at a bar when he was 16, he said. That year he DJ’d his birthday party as well, but then he left from Jamaica to Connecticut.

After attending an extra year at high school, Turner said he applied and got into Southern, a school not too far from where his uncle, who he was staying with, lives.

“When I first came to Southern I saw them playing music and I wanted to start playing,” said Turner. “I did a few free events and my sophomore year people started noticing my talent and I began to get booked.”

Turner said his fan base has been growing ever since and he started buying equipment that year as well.

“I got a scholarship for $500 and used it to buy my first laptop and that helped a lot,” said Turner.

As DJ Fire, Turner said he has opened for performers like Gemini, Ace Hood, Dej Loaf and Bryson Tiller.

“This year I am opening for A Boogie wit da Hoodie at Southern’s spring concert,” said Turner.

Turner has no main musical influences, but he goes on YouTube to watch what other musicians are doing and listens to local DJs on the radio, he said. According to Turner, his biggest influences are his parents.

“They always pushed me to keep going,” said Turner, “to strive for the best.”

Turner said his plan is to register his business as an LLC and to hire other DJs and travel the world.

“Even if I have another job,” said Turner, “I’m not stopping this. I’ve worked too hard. Right now I have over 15 grand in equipment so if I stopped it would be a big failure.”

Turner said because of being a DJ he has been able to travel all over.

“Because of music I have been able to go to Florida, New York City, Long Island and all over Connecticut,” said Turner.   

According to Turner, the best part of being a DJ is seeing the people at his shows.

“I love seeing people go crazy,” said Turner. “When you see the smile on their faces you are using music to make them happy and comfortable.”

Photo Courtesy: Tafari Turner


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