Born and raised in St. Andrew, Jamaica, DJ Skinny has drawn on the rich, multicultural music of his Caribbean background, along with the sonic styles of U.S. and European musicians, to create a sound influenced by everything from Reggae, Hip-Hop and R&B to House, Rock and Country. Even when the young artist still lived in his homeland, Skinny already possessed a strong reputation as a song writer and recording artist.
Soon after moving to the U.S. in 2002, the eclectic young artist met GQ, a world renowned DJ who recognized Skinny's aptitude for music and began mentoring him. Since then, Skinny has made a rapid ascent through the DJ ranks, garnering him gigs and residencies at prominent nightclubs and festivals across South Florida that would make many veteran DJs blush.
Before gracing the stage as a DJ, Skinny accompanied his mentor to all of his gigs and assisted him with the transportation of the crates of vinyl and the setup of equipment. "My personal time spent with GQ allowed me an inside perspective of a working DJs world, from mix-tapes to live performances," he says.
Just seeing how it was to do the remixes at the time-track blending and mixing-beat matching-playing aggressively as a DJ was very different back then, and I had the experience of seeing it all first hand. I was just really intrigued by it, and I wanted to learn from then on." It wasn't long before Skinny himself was working the vinyl. Though he knows his way around a turntable, "Stanton T92s were the first devices I owned when I earned my first residency," recalls Skinny. These days, he controls the decks mostly with CD-Js and his laptop.
A key component of his DJ setup is Stanton's SCS.3 mobile MIDI controller, which offers Skinny a customizable software control with the same features as a traditional DJ rig, including a plug-and-play MIDI control rig, a highly portable and scalable interface, StanTouch, which offers easy scratching, scrubbing and navigating of digital audio, the ability to control samples, pitch, effects, cue and loop points, and other mappable functions, along with the ability to prompt quick kills on EQs or transform effects with the touch of a few fingers. The SCS.3 controllers also have many of the same controls as a traditional two-turntable-and-mixer setup.
Skinny uses the SCS.3 primarily for triggers, cues and effects. "I love the SCS.3 because of its clear labels," he says. "It's just easier to work with the SCS.3 as opposed to most controllers because of its clear labels, large spacing and versatility, all of which lets me know what I'm doing and where I'm at." Skinny also appreciates the fact that the SCS.3 is a touch-based controller and has modded configurations. "They rarely have technical issues; you don't have to fuss with buttons or worry about losing knobs. I've also found these touched-based controllers to be quicker and more responsive, and their versatility is just insane."
Along with the SCS.3, Stanton's DJ PRO 3000 headphones are a mainstay in Skinny's DJ kit. He's been using them since he started DJ-ing. "These are the headphones that I learned on," he says. "It's the only set of headphones that I use. They produce good bass response, have built in frequency filters, and are comfortable to wear over extended periods."
Skinny also uses Stanton's Trackmaster.V3 for his sets whenever he's using turntables. Featuring a spherical stylus that is ideal for low-cue burn, the Trackmaster.V3's integrated design eliminates the need for mounting the cartridge on a headshell, making it perfect for hip-hop/scratch and club DJs.
In addition to his Stanton equipment, DJ Skinny is also an avid Cerwin-Vega! fan. For smaller performances at private parties that require speakers, he brings his two CerwinVega! CVA-28s. For larger festivals and events, he loads up with four CVA 28s and a CVA-121 sub-woofer. "They sound amazing," he says. "I always receive compliments on their sound from patrons, clients and even other DJs."
These days, Skinny is a sought-after DJ in the Miami area. Part of this success is no doubt related to his connection to his audience. "I play anything to get the crowd moving," he says. "I stem from a diverse background, so my intent is always to play the type of music that would create excitement for the people in front of me."
Currently, Skinny is working on an interactive family show featuring live music, drums and a DJ. He looks forward to playing more venues in Orlando and Miami in the upcoming months.