Indy 4th grader building DJ business one gig at a time

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My Kid Can DJ!

A charismatic Orchard Elementary fourth grader is building his DJ business one gig at a time.

DJ BK has played the Vogue, Eli Lilly corporate events, birthday parties and many more.

There's no doubt, Ben Karazim, has swagger. The way he walks; the way he talks, exudes a happy confidence. And when music is playing, Ben moves as if the music is inside him. His mother, Heather Karazim, noticed the connection early on. She remembers watching a baby Ben wave his arms and legs and get exponentially brighter when he heard music. He's got 'something special' she thought. Heather remembers calling Nick Saligoe at Deckademics DJ school in Broad Ripple and asked him the age of his youngest student.

"He said maybe 7th, 8th grade. I told him that I had a really mature 7-year-old that was really interested in taking lessons. We signed up for one lesson and it was 90 minutes. I was kind of concerned would keep his attention that long, but Ben loved it. We signed up 3 months later and he's been coming ever since" Karazim said.

Ben's ear and his skills grew steadily. After a year of lessons, his parents invested in equipment, so Ben could practice daily at home.

His business name, DJ BK, represents his initials and it's what he goes by when he books gigs, like Burger Fuel in Broad Ripple on Friday nights.

When DJ BK is playing music, a handful of classmates arrive with their parents for dinner. His Mom is watching at a table nearby.

"A kid can definitely be a DJ and I think he is definite proof of that," Karazim said.

Getting Work

Saligoe is confident recommending Ben for jobs. "It's a little bit of shock, but a lot of excitement when people see Ben play. Everybody is kind of mesmerized. This little kid, you can barely see his head over the laptop and he is playing music that he probably shouldn't even be familiar with and he is mixing it really well and it's a lot of fun. Most kids play contemporary music which is to be expected and is normal, but Ben really knows quite a wide range of music. He DJ'd one of our events a Michael Jackson tribute...at the Vogue. An 8-year-old at the vogue, playing Prince and Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, Vanity 6. You think, 'how in the world does this student even know this?' But he's really in tune with a lot of music that is beyond his years and it's pretty impressive" said Saligoe. "The wider the range, you can capture different audiences' attention."

Ben says his parents, as well as babysitter who repeatedly played tunes from the 80's and 90's, exposed him the wide repertoire of music he plays. He meets with Saligoe weekly to learn new techniques, scratches, and flares. Parts of the lesson includes Ben hearing Saligoe play a pattern and then trying to repeat and perfect it.

Practice Practice Practice

"He has a lot of natural ability and it...allows him to flourish. He knows where he is in the music, can identify the counts. We DJ by processing and breaking down the tempo and knowing where songs turn over, so we know when to mix songs in. I tell students all the time, you have the color blue and the color red but what we really want to do is make purple rather than just go from blue to red" said Saligoe. "It is truly an art form to take two pieces of different instrumentation and arrangements and make them really fit together."

Saligoe knows what it's like to launch a career. Former student Ryan Robinson travels the country booking gigs as DJ Prince. "Prince started at 13 and now 16 he is traveling quite a bit. He has a lot of partnerships. He is doing stuff with Nike, Fashion Week in New York and Sweet 16's all around the country. He was featured in the last video for 80's R & B group New Edition. So, he has really kind of turned it on full blast and he's doing quite a bit."

Big Dreams

DJ BK's fees, right now, are modest. But he's been able to add thousands of dollars to his college account. For now, he's booking locally, and dreaming big.

"I want to hit it big I want to go to Ibiza in Spain. I want to be a David Guetta just maybe an old soul."

Heather, promises she won't stand in the way.

"We will take it as far as it goes. It's one of those things where he loves it and just to see him continue to do what he loves and making money on it is great. He's learning a lot in the process on how to be an entrepreneur and run a business. It's pretty cool. Seeing your kid continue to flourish and blossom in an area that they love I mean what more would a parent want?"

To take DJ classes or to book DJ BK for your event contact Deckademics.

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