Tracy Young is an American DJ, producer, and radio personality whose celebrating her 25th anniversary in the music industry this year.
Leading the way for female DJs in the industry, Tracy has achieved incredible things during her career so far. As a DJ to the stars, she has worked with a whole host of famous faces from Cher to Paris Hilton. Most notably, she built up a friendship with Madonna, becoming her go-to DJ for all her private events including her wedding to Guy Ritchie.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Tracy about her incredible milestone, working with Madonna, her new single ‘Peace, Love, Music’ and much more.
First off, congratulations on your 25th anniversary in the music industry! How does it feel to be celebrating such a milestone?
There are so many special moments, the relationships and experiences I have had, from radio to working with Madonna and all things in between. I can say that I have been truly blessed. I have been able to do something that I love for my entire life. But one of the most important things is that I can say I’ve been doing this for 25 years. Seriously, I think it says a lot to still be here and I can’t wait for the next 25!
How did you first get into DJing? Was it always something you wanted to do?
I’ve always been obsessed with music. It’s how I communicate. I found my way into Tracks nightclub at age 17 and was intrigued by the segway between two records. It was one continuous song and I simply had to know how to do that. I finally was able to get in to the DJ booth and what I witnessed made me realize at that precise moment that this is what I wanted and needed to do for the rest of my life. That moment defined me!
You’ve racked up an incredible amount of hits on the Billboard Club chart and your latest single ‘Peace, Love, Music’ is already doing really well. Can you tell us a bit about the track and the inspiration behind it?
Ceevox and I have a friendship lasting 15 years. Truthfully, Ceevox and I wrote this track 15 years ago and never finished. Over the past year we reconnected, decided to finish it and release it. The timing for a record like this was right and its been very well received. My label Ferosh Records released it with remixes from Tom Stephan, Eric Kupper, Barry Harris, MSC Bounce, & Alain Jackinsky. It went to number 9 on the Billboard Dance Chart. We are now in the studio again working on new material.
During your career you’ve built up an incredible friendship with Madonna, and have become her go-to DJ, even DJing at her wedding. What’s it like to have the seal of approval from such a music icon?
It’s overwhelming to think about working with her for all these years. It’s an experience that I have a hard time putting into words. Madonna is simply one of the greatest entertainers of our generation. She constantly innovates, entertains, and has paved the way for many woman in the industry for decades. I’ve always been inspired by Madonna. To have the relationship I have had with her is life-changing and something I will always cherish. (No pun intended) She has given me many opportunities I may have never had otherwise.
You’ve remixed tracks for over 100 artists. How do you go about picking and choosing suitable songs/artists to work with?
I believe everything starts with a song. It always helps to feel passionate about the original to take on a remix. I happen to love pop music and lean towards that style of record when choosing a remix. I am a person that is driven by emotion so I have to feel something about the song. It’s purely an emotional response and then the magic happens.
A lot of things have evolved in the music industry over the years. What is the biggest challenge/change you’ve faced during your career?
When I started to DJ, the focus was more on the crowd, the music, the journey and most importantly the dancefloor, not the DJ. The DJ’s had to connect the energy of their music with the energy of the crowd. The experience created then was simply up to the DJ and their music. In order to access new music and new remixes of their favorite artist, people would go to the hot club. We live in a world of ON-DEMAND, Selfies and Social Media. So it is all about stages, LED lights, fist pumping while people put on a show for there iPhones and social media. This lends itself to feeling more like a concert performance and not a musical journey that a DJ takes you on.
What are some of your personal highlights from your career?
This is such a hard question to answer because I feel every moment is special. I really am grateful. A recent moment that stands out was when I DJed the Hillary Clinton rally that was held at the Manor in Fort Lauderdale and she attended. It was such a historical moment. I started my own record company, I produce my annual event, GENESIS New Years Day and I cherish all appreciate all the knowledge I gained working in radio my entire career under different programmers from WPGC, to iHeart. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the most influential women and pioneers in the music industry such as Cher, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Nicks, Shakira, Diane Warren, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. I have traveled all over the world, DJing some of the biggest events, festivals and night clubs across the globe and had the honor to work with numerous charities such as GLAAD, the Trevor Project, and the National Task force & Care Resource.
You took a two-year break in order to fall in love with your craft all over again. What did you do during that time to achieve this?
To be clear, I never fell out of love with music, however I needed a break from the business aspects of the profession. I was simply needing to be still for a minute. As they say, your mind,, heart and soul should be aligned and they weren’t. The traveling, the late night gigs, the constant hustle can break a persons spirit so I decided to take a break and reset. My break has mainly been re-aligning myself so I can do what I really love to do. I wanted to embrace what was next in my life which is radio, production and yes, I’m recharged and ready to rock nightlife and a dance floor near you.
You host a weekly dance radio show on 93.9FM Miami (iHeart). For anyone who’s new to your show, what can they expect?
The format for 93.9 MIA is “Rhythm From The 80’s to Now”. I play the format of the station in addition to my some of my own music and remixes I’ve done over the years. For example you may hear my recent track “Peace, Love & Music” into a remix I’ve done for Katy Perry, Britney or Madonna into a Prince song. It’s all the music I love and grew up with but I’m not playing what I would play in a club per say. My show is airs for an hour every Saturday at 9pm. Tune in! (You can hear it by downloading the iHeart app…shameless plug)
As one of the first prominent female DJs, you’ve certainly paved the way for fellow females in the industry. What advice would you give to budding female DJs on breaking into the industry?
Create goals and dream big. I always say learn how to hear the the word no and handle rejection. It’s happened to all of us! It’s not easy and can be quite defeating at times but never give up, always be prepared and give your all. If you continue doing what you love, authentically and passionately, I believe things happen and someone will say yes!
What do you hope to achieve within the next 25 years of your career?
To be able to sustain another 25 years!
Thank you to Tracy for her time and congratulations on an incredible 25 years!