Austin-born Ri-yan Dolan is only eight years old -- he turns a ripe nine on August 25 -- and holds the title of the world's youngest DJ, spinning under the name DJ Baby Chino. At a time when kids half his age can operate iPads and iPhones with ease, it should be no surprise that Dolan was only five when he took to the decks.
I first witnessed DJ Baby Chino playing at a shoe store on Austin's Sixth Street this past March during SXSW. With his buzz-cut and black glasses, he immediately attracted a crowd of gawkers, watching him mix it up on a pair of turntables and a Mac. I thought he was the world's smallest DJ, but a quick Google search while standing in front of him, I found out he is the youngest.
"I love music and thought the turntables looked awesome. I asked my parents if I could try it out and it turns out I am really good at it and I love it," he says, answering from the road. Chino has a busy schedule of parties and appearances, keeping him occupied 200 days out of the year.
DJBC hits the House Of Blues tomorrow night for a Sports Rapp gig in the main hall, sharing the stage with Doughbeezy. He will stay in Houston until Sunday night for the H-Town Sneaker Summit afterparty at Warehouse Live, with Chief Keef and Le$.
Like I said, he's a busy kid.
The young man is home-schooled so he does his studies at his own pace, working online with a tutor he meets in person at least once a week. He works on his classes any time of the day he can.
Chino looks up to old-school DJs like DJ Scratch, Spinderella, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash as idols, and he was guided professionally by club acts DJ Slip and DJ Kris Cut out in Vegas. Of course, there are some who think he's not "real" or it's just a gimmick.
Well, it is an oddity. Kids his age are supposed to be....damn, these days I don't even know what people his age for for fun. Text? Skype?
"I usually get very good feedback from my shows, but sometimes I have haters," Chino says. "I try to only listen to the positive stuff and not the bad."
Imagine being at the age when everyone is about to awkward and funny-looking, and then thrust yourself into the music industry, full of sharks and scam artists. This isn't some creepy deal where a little person is masquerading as a child.
Is this is a forever thing, or will he grow out the music scene and like, play football or something? There are things I wanted to do at his age that I never did, come to think of it. But Chino has a job most people want when they "grow up."
"I would like to do this forever but I wanna be a producer and make beats too. People think it looks easy, but it's a lot of work at one time," he says.
"Sometimes I want to be a movie director," he adds.
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