Students at Wilson High School received a visit Wednesday from Braxton Brown, mostly known as DJ Skillz, and he provided them with a jam session at lunchtime and shared a few of his life experiences to select classes afterward.
Brown, a Florence native, shared the story of how he first got involved in the music industry, what his career entails and well-known people he’s met and worked with along the way.
A three-time award-winning DJ, Brown has become one of the most in-demand talents in the Southeast and has played celebrity events for Kanye West, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu and Kevin Hart, among others.
Braxton did not always take DJing seriously, however.
Growing up, his influences were two of his older cousins, DJ Ced and Mark Ellavenson, who he said are pioneering DJs from Florence.“When I was 5, I taught myself how to play drums with pots and pans and learning the rhythm,” Brown said. “I always had an interest in DJing, but I didn’t take it seriously until I was like 16.”
He said it took him actually touching turntables to take DJing seriously.
As a DJ, he juggles a radio show on WYNN 106.3 FM, DJing at parties, touring with music artists nationally and internationally and being a brand ambassador for the Sprite DJ Academy in Charlotte. With so much to juggle, Brown said he lives a 25/8 lifestyle, instead of 24/7.“It’s my career, so I can’t really say how I manage it,” Brown said. “I just take it in stride. I’m immune to it. I really have to balance everything out and just go by my time schedule, because it does get kind of hectic.”
The most challenging part of his job is being able to provide two hours of entertainment for an audience that knows nothing about him, he said.For students aspiring to become a DJ or anything else in life, Brown wanted them to have four terms engrained in their brain. He insisted that audience members at his presentation repeat the words: hard work, dedication, consistency and faith.
“Apply hard work, dedication, consistency and faith to whatever it is you’re trying to do in life,” Brown said. “With those things, anything is possible.”
It is often said, “The sky is the limit.” Braxton disagrees with this statement and wanted students to know, “The sky is not the limit, it’s the view.”“Develop a passion, with DJing or whatever it is,” Brown said. “Do your research on whatever it is you’re trying to get to, so you can be the best at that. You can never have too much information.”
Career specialist Jaqueline Melton said the school likes to invite guest speakers such as Brown to speak to students to encourage them to pursue their passions.
“Wilson always encourages the community to come in and share their stories on how to become successful,” Melton said. “We wanted to do something different for homecoming, so we decided to do it on Spirit Week.”
Brown graduated from South Florence High School and has not been able to share his life experiences with students there yet, but he considers Wilson a part of home also.
“It’s a blessing and an honor to share my story to help them along the way,” Brown said.