Delano upbeat about DJ Academy - School rules
When presented with the opportunity to actually tutor up-and-coming DJ and selectors in an academy-like setting, DJ Delano Thomas of Renaissance Disco grasped it eagerly. Since 2017, his life has been enriched by sharing his expertise with those who aspire to make a name for themselves in the music business. “As a veteran DJ, I am always looking at ways to share my knowledge and offer my guidance anywhere I can.
When this programme was introduced to me, I saw it as an opportunity to give back to the youths in the business. This programme resonates with me as I wished there was something like this in my time as an up and coming DJ,” he shared with The Sunday Gleaner.
Delano said that the DJ Academy Jamaica training programme – an initiative of the Tourism Linkages Network – is normally delivered through in-person sessions at hotels and attractions in resort areas during the winter tourist season (December to March). However, like just about everything in life, for 2020, COVID-19 showed up and threatened the demise of the initiative. But instead of rolling over and dying, the programme actually blossomed as it fully explored and utilised the virtual platform and was able to create an even greater impact.
The course was offered as part of free virtual trainings through the Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation Learning Management portal. It ran from May through to August 2020, and more than 50 local DJs from the tourism industry were trained. A virtual graduation was held at the end of the period in August.
Delighted at the success and thankful that there was indeed a silver lining to the dark COVID cloud, DJ Delano boasted about the flexibility that was made possible by going virtual. “This provided plenty of room to bring in special guests such as Jazzy T, Sean Wedderburn, Bambino, DJ Denvo, Walshy Fire, and our guests from Serato, Matt and DJ Op, to speak to our DJs. This is something we would not have been able to achieve with an in-person setting as timing was always an issue,” he said.
Delano was particularly excited about getting an input from SERATO professionals. He explained that Serato DJ Pro is known as the number-one DJ software in the world and is widely used among Jamaican DJs. “This technology provides everything needed for beginners and advanced DJs. Jazzy-T and I worked on our contacts and were nothing short of lucky to get them to agree to work with us and join the online training to give tips and tricks on their software. They also introduced their most recent product, Serato Studio, which can be used to remix and do music production.
Serato is a very established company, and we are honoured for the time they took to do these live presentations in our classroom,” he said.
The Renaissance CEO emphasised that the course, which gave tourism workers an opportunity to enhance their skills and qualifications was greatly beneficial to the DJs as they were able to join in from wherever they were, and it was not limited to DJs who were on the north coast. “This was an excessively big initiative ultimately made possible through the creative foundation provided by the Tourism Linkages Sport and Entertainment Network Chairman Kamal Bankay and our project manager at the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Simone Harris,” he said.
At last month’s virtual graduation, the DJs were awarded certificates of completion signed by Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and DJ Delano.