First published in SPRING 2016 “TOP 10 HAITIAN Business Leaders in South Florida” edition.
From Delivering Pizza to Delivering Hit Music that Keeps the Gouyad Going, All Night Long
By Sarah Brutus
Q: Where are you from?
A: Port Au Prince, Haiti. I came to the United States in 1994 and started high school at Miami Edison Sr. High.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job was working at this place called Pizza Palace as a pizza-maker and delivery boy. After a while, because I was such a good worker, I became the manager. I worked there for about 4 years.
“My first job was working at this place called Pizza Palace as a pizza maker and delivery boy.”
Q: How did you get into DJing?
A: I used to party a lot during my high school years, and after I graduated we had a little network of friends that would just find house parties and crash them. One day at a party, someone came up to me and was like, “You’re at every party and you love music, you should become a DJ.” So at the time, I went to the owner of the pizza place where I was working and told him about my plan to become a DJ. I told him I needed his help to get the equipment, and he agreed and advanced me $1000.00. From there I played around with the equipment. I’m a self-taught DJ.
Q: What makes you different as a DJ?
A: I would say my style is unique. It’s something I created on my own. I just learned. Most of my success came when the computer age of DJing became popular. When I discovered mixing software, it set me apart. When I first started using a computer to DJ, people would look at me weird and ask me what I was doing. They used to laugh at me and say I’m not a real DJ.
Q: How did you come up with the name DJ 5etwal?
A: The reason I have this name is because I told myself if I’m going to be a DJ, I’m not going to sell myself short. My name means 5 star, which is the highest rating. I would say there’s the influence of the Barbancourt drink as well.
Q: How did you get your name out there?
A: I used to DJ at a restaurant on 163rd in North Miami Beach. That’s the place that really put me on the map. In this little restaurant we used to do 200-300 people weekly. Back then, house parties were more popular, so to bring those numbers of people out was significant. We drew people in through word of mouth. There was no real social media when I started.
What do you think has made you successful?
For me, the thing that has made me the most successful is the vibe I create. I could walk into a party and see what song I should play to get everyone dancing. There are a lot of DJ’s out there. They are good, but they don’t try and feel the crowd. I can play one song after another and make a bigger impact, and I know when to drop each song.
Q: What is BMG?
A: BMG throws events, and manages DJ’s and manages 5 Lan. We strictly focus on throwing the most amazing parties.
Q: How was 5lan created?
A: I transformed a track, and people really loved it. I decided to put a band together. It was really hard finding musicians at first. People didn’t understand my concept – but look at us now!
Q: Where do you see BMG in the next 10 years?
A: I see us still throwing amazing parties, and not just in Florida. Hiring more DJ’s and still keeping the same vibe. That’s the formula that works. Possibly we’ll own our own club.
“Be different in a positive way. As long as you’re doing something positive, there’s no way you won’t be successful.”
Q: What advice would you give to a young up and coming DJ?
A: Be different in a positive way. Separate yourself and be positive. As long as you’re doing something positive, there’s no way you won’t be successful.