DJ GQ makes grand entranceMonday, October 26, 2020
BY KEVIN JACKSON
FLORIDA-BASED producer/radio disc jock DJ GQ always had a passion for music. As a youngster living in upper St Andrew in the 1990s, he promoted sound clashes with some of the genre's biggest sounds of the day.
“I actually use to be a promoter when I was in Jamaica. I was the youngest at the time and I used to have clashes with Silver Hawk, Super Dee, and Super T. I did the first-ever uptown party with Silver Hawk in Norbrook when I was 14 years old,” DJ GQ told the Jamaica Observer.
His passion for music continued when he migrated to Florida in 1995, shortly after completing studies at Campion College in St Andrew. He started a career as a profession disc jockey playing at some of the hottest clubs and events.
With encouragement from a few friends, including dancehall artiste Mr Vegas and Billboard-charting producer John “Jon FX' Crawford, DJ GQ got involved in music production.
“I've been dabbling in production for years. But over the past few years, I made the decision to go all in with a little extra influence from Jon FX and Mr Vegas,” DJ GQ explained.
His first major production effort is the four song-EP Is it You? was released on October 9 via Poison Pill. It made an impact on the US album charts, debuting at number one on the Current Reggae Albums and number 10 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
DJ GQ spoke about the work that went into creating the project.
“Everything was done in-house at Poison Pill, my new label, so tons of work went into it, especially after the project was recorded. I felt like that was when the real work started.”
The tracks are You Got Me Like (featuring Craigy T formerly of TOK), Is it You (featuring singer Casely and Busy Signal) , I Still Want You (featuring singer Kenny Lloyd and Vegas) and Florida (featuring Yaksta).
Asked how easy or difficult it was to get the artistes involved in the project, DJ GQ said, “With this project it was easy, it was a family thing. Mr Vegas, Craigy T and Yaksta are like brothers to me, and DJ Karim, who is another close friend, linked Busy to me for the title track with R&B singer Casely.”
He was surprised that the EP has taken off the way it has. It sold 658 copies in its first week of release.
“Yeah man, I was surprised. It debuted at number four on Reggae iTunes in less than 2 hours and then went to #1 the same day. Now its number one on Soundscan and number ten on Billboard in the first week, I'm still surprised,” he said.
DJ GQ, whose real name is Gary Hardie, is 42 years old. He has been a DJ at iHeartRadio's Y100 Miami for the past 11 years. He does the 10 pm shift on weekends.
He says his production has a distinct sound, which is evident on the EP.
“I definitely have a distinct sound. Y100 is actually one of the biggest top 40/pop stations in the US and that influenced the crossover pop vibe, and of course with my background, the songs have a reggae/dancehall fusion.”
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