Running it back: Student DJ looks to expand business
Jordan Nicholson brings unique style to the DJ game
Jordan Nicholson began DJing when he was 15 years old.
But he had to “retire” for three years while he was a running back on Monroe College’s undefeated football team. Although an undefeated season is usually exciting, Nicholson and his teammates were bored. So Nicholson decided to borrow the baseball team’s speakers and change that.
“The whole school wasn’t doing anything, everybody was just bored,” Nicholson said. “So I’m like, ‘No, we’re going to go into the lounge,’ and I just go party in the lounge and when I mean it was packed, it was packed.”
This was when Nicholson, now a senior digital media studies major, realized he wanted to DJ again. When he transferred to UB in Spring 2018, he decided to end his hiatus. Nicholson no longer runs the ball and instead runs his own business, Clearview, and earns roughly $1,000 a month DJing for LIT Hookah Lounge, VENU and as the official DJ for Booty Bustas, a party services organization. Now, he’s looking to expand his business.
“Once I got to UB, I heard other DJs [and] I didn’t like their craft, because I’ve been doing it for years and they’ve only been doing it for maybe a year or two,” Nicholson said. “So I’m like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna come out of retirement,’ and when people started to hear me, they were like, ‘Oh, he’s nice.’”
Although passionate about his DJ career, Nicholson transferred to UB to play football again, but had to put it to the side for his future and his mother.
“I started getting older and noticed I couldn’t provide for myself and I didn’t want to have to continue to depend on my mom because she was a single parent,” Nicholson said. “I decided to be a man myself and make my own money and that took time so I couldn’t continue to play football.”
Nicholson has come far from a 15 year old using his father’s turntable.
“[My dad] saw I was making money off of it so it was either give him [some money] or don’t use it,” Nicholson said. “My mom saw what I was doing and wound up giving me mixers and a speaker for Christmas.”
From there, Nicholson asked his father to use his laptop, download music and practice. He later began DJing at Mazi Nightclub in Brooklyn.
Nicholson has a unique style of DJing, he says, and likes to use the “element of surprise” in choosing his setlists. He teases the crowd, making them think they know what song is coming on, but then surprises them with another.
For him, it isn’t necessarily about the song he plays, but how he plays it.
“I build anticipation, I bring the song in differently,” Nicholson said. “Another DJ will probably scratch and mix it in, but I talk and bring it in, because I want [the crowd] to think they know what song will be next.”
Kevin Kubi, Co-CEO of Booty Bustas, said Nicholson is “one of the best DJs in the college scene.”
“The ambiance he gives is just pure energy and he knows the sound so well,” Kubi said.
CEO of Booty Bustas Justin Young said he believes Nicholson keeps “getting bigger” because he expresses his “unique personality” through his DJing.
“He doesn’t try to be like somebody else, he is a unique individual,” Young said. “No words can do his personality justice.”
Although being a DJ is his passion, Nicholson “was always a hustler.” He understands the importance of being a businessman with a side hustle. In addition to DJing, Nicholson also dabbles in videography, photography, movie production, rental service and personal training.
Nicholson said he doesn’t find it challenging, either. He goes to school Monday through Wednesday and does bookings Thursday through Sunday.
“It’s not hard because my schedule [revolves around my] business,” Nicholson said. “I make sure my weekends are freed up and I make sure I [don’t] accept a booking from Monday to Wednesday.”
Nicholson said he foresees his business going “nationwide” and wants to garner attention all over New York and eventually expand to Florida.
He advises other aspiring artists and entrepreneurs to persevere, just as he did when he rediscovered his love for DJing.
“If you continue to move forward, you never know who may come or the connections you might get from someone that could just spark a name for you,” Nicholson said. “If you ever get that chance in life, stand with it, don’t just give up.”
Alexandra Moyen is the assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AlexandraMoyen.