Last Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to be apart of the audience of legendary Dj Tedsmooth‘s show Behind The Speaker. In this show, Ted interviews other Djs through an insightful conversation which is honest and at times funny giving the audience a chance to hear and understand the Dj’s journey, some of the challenges he had to overcome as well as discussing pop culture and more.
In this two-part interview, I sat down with Tedsmooth to talk about the show, Djing, Hip Hop and more.
WA: Tell us about yourself, where were you born and when was the first time you fell in love with the turntables, was this always your passion or did it come to you as a leap of faith?
T: I was born at Sydenham Hospital in the west side of Manhattan May 2nd, 1971. I fell in love with the turntables when I was 7 or 8 years old from being at all the house parties and watching the Dj “Ozzie G” control the people in the room with songs. It just made him the coolest guy in the projects, that was cool to me.
WA: You’ve been in the business for over three decades, from your perspective, have things change for the better when it comes to the business of Hip Hop and Djing?
T: Being in the business for 3 decades, has definitely allowed me to see it evolve a few times. At first, it was all about fun and just being popular, then we realized we can make money if we hustled mixtapes, then it became a job as we started getting booked regularly for parties, then it felt like a real job so the thought of it being a career wasn’t far fetched. We started making records that would change the landscape of our parties and eventually remain as classic songs that play to this day. I know, that was a long sentence!! Lol In other words, just like anything else, you will go as far as your passion and work ethic will take you. There are NO EXCUSES!!!
WA: You are also a producer and songwriter, what do you like the most: Djing, Producing, Songwriting ? or they all come together for Tedsmooth?
T: I enjoy every aspect of being creative, it all depends on who is in the room. I’m like a chameleon and I’m not really a load person, I just wait for the opportunity to present itself and really take pride in delivering!!!
WA: Tell us about Behind the Speaker, how did you come up with the concept?
T: Behind The Speaker’s concept came from me watching and being a fan of the show “Inside The Actors Studio”. For so many years, I kept thinking “why doesn’t somebody prominent sit down with people from the music business, especially djs???? ” Realizing, it actually been done before but not with me sitting across the table doing the interview, that’s what makes it different because: 1. I have a real insight. 2. I know the person sitting across from me so we probably have personal stories to share. 3. My personality lends to it being a fun conversation cause there will be serious moments immediately followed by a funny one. Its gonna be AMAZING!!!
WA: When did it launch?
T: The first show was June 7th and my first guest was Dj Camilo and he NEVER does interviews, but he sat down with me to talk about music, life, parenting and business. It was so much fun!!
WA: Who is the one Dj you dream of having at the show for an interview?
T: Well, that would be Dj Starchild, may he rest in peace!!! He is one of my favorites and unfortunately he passed so I won’t get the chance to sit with him but his name has come up already in the interviews I’ve already had. My 2 other favorites: Kid Capri & Brucie B, will just be a matter of scheduling.
WA: Your Top 5 Dj’s of all time…
T: Brucie B, Kid Capri, Starchild, Dj Hollywood & Myself lol Why? because I’m a hybrid of all those guys and I know I make a difference when I’m on the set!!!
WA: Which song brings you back in time and it is your all time favorite?
T: Eric B, Is President , is my favorite song ever and in my opinion the greatest Hip Hop song ever!!! Please don’t debate me. lol
WA: I know also that your brand goes beyond the music industry, you do a lot of work within the community, why is this important to you? and can you share with our readers some of the community work you’re involved with.
T: Team Give Back is my non-profit organization, we host an annual event The Tedsmooth Old School Jam, which is organized in East Harlem, my childhood neighborhood, to provide fun and a local safe heaven for the local families who doesn’t have the luxury to afford vacations during the summer, it is not only a party but we also provide hip hop education to the youth. Even before the organization was legally formed, I’ve always been one to give back to people and entire communities. I believe it shows others how to give back, it instills hope into the communities and at the end of the day it comes back to you eventually someway somehow. God is good!!!
WA: What’s next for Tedsmooth?
T: Behind The Speaker is happening, my documentary “Who Is Tedsmooth?” is happening, more songs, more remixes, more Oldschool Jams, supporting my 13 year old daughter Ty and 12 year old step son Avery fulfill their passions and my fiancé Jessie Cotto’s vision to make the world “Vibrate Higher”. It’s a tough juggling job but I got this!!! Oh yeah, my album has to happen!!!
WA: Where do you see Hip Hop ten years from now?
T: I see Hip Hop 10 years from now where its at right now, all over the world!!! We have already conquered the planet, now its all about remaining here. Thank you!!!
For more information about the show, follow Tedsmooth on Instagram: @tedsmooth
Stay tuned for part 2 of this interview where I sat with none other than FunkMaster Flex!