Take for example the night DJ Irie was spinning at Robert Downey Jr.’s private birthday bash held at Downey’s Malibu mansion. As the story goes, party host Jamie Foxx was on the mic while Irie had a crowd of Hollywood elites—Jodi Foster, Tobey Maguire, Samuel L. Jackson, etc, etc—partying to a remix of Sting and Police’s classic hit Roxanne. Sometime during the mix, Sting (Yes, that Sting!!) grabbed the mic and started singing along. “I was thinking, wow is this really happening,” recalls Irie. “I couldn’t believe that the same music-loving boy from Miami was actually spinning while Sting rocked out to his mix.”
That same young boy was actually born in St. Croix of the Virgin Islands and raised in Miami. Ironically it was his stay on another Caribbean Island that set in motion what would become his career. While attending a private boarding school in Jamaica, the ever technically inclined Irie rigged up some speakers, borrowed his roommate’s—future multi-platinum reggae artist Sean Paul’s—Casio, wired his own system, then commenced to spending all his free time hunting for records (actual records too, not CDs) to play on his contraption. “I remember how happy I was to get that new hot record,” Irie says, about those days. “I wasn’t DJing for anyone else at the time, but I just had to have it.” That love grew from a hobby when Irie moved back home to Miami. A few years later, he began spinning at local parties. Years of hard work and determination later have propelled Irie past the level of hotshot DJ to his position as an immovable staple of Miami’s world-renowned party scene.
These days Irie, who has the number one mix-show on Miami’s WEDR 99 JAMZ is known (The Miami Herald and Miami Tribune are among those who say so) as Miami’s number one DJ, and while he is no doubt a skilled turntable maestro, a large part of what makes him great is less tangible. “I sense the (crowd’s) vibe is going in a certain direction then that’s what dictates what the music is going to be,” he says. “It could be anything. It might be house or classics or Latin or hip hop to start the journey. And then once the journey starts, it’s about continuing on that vibe and going where that vibe takes us. To me that’s what DJing is all about.".