Richie Skye has made his mark as a DJ and host in Washington, D.C., and two years ago, he decided it was time to take L.A. for a spin. And boy, he works fast. He’s established himself as a go-to taste-maker for some of the hottest clubs and events companies, included playing a set at 2016 L.A. Pride. It wasn’t long before he gained attention from a major network for a reality show, which he started shooting last Fall. In between his sets and regular hosting gigs, -did we mention he’s published a book on Amazon? Richie is discovering his own relationship with the city of dreams and looks to the future with bright eyes. We sit down with the man of many talents and talk inspiration, dating and where it all began.
Richie, tell us, how did you get into the crazy life of DJ/hosting? A few years ago a buddy of mine and I started a YouTube channel called “The Morning Wood Show.” It honestly just took off from the first episode – I fell in love with hosting the show, which led to hosting events and spinning those events there. Soon after, people started asking me to spin their parties, and the next thing you know I’m flying around the country spinning events and some of the hottest clubs.
Growing up in Danville, VA, did you always want to be in the industry? I actually wanted to be a host on “Entertainment Tonight.” I always wanted to work in television and news/entertainment. I even hosted a news show in college. After school, I dove head first into the corporate world and then government before I said – F*$K THIS! I want to do what I love… and that lead me to L.A.
Following your dreams. Love it. And you’ve made quite a splash. What’s your favorite part about L.A. so far? I think my favorite parts of living in Los Angeles are the weather and the landscape. L.A. is an interesting place with some VERY interesting people, but the fact that you have ocean, mountains, palm trees… all of this in one area, you can’t beat that.
And you are a very handsome guy. How do you find dating in Los Angeles? Thank you! Whew – OK, dating in Los Angeles is interesting. First, I find that in Los Angeles there are a lot of guys who refuse to be labeled as gay – mostly because they don’t want to be pigeon holed in the industry. And I get it – but at this point in my life, I’m not interested in being anything else but me. I didn’t really move here to act – though I’m open to it – I moved here to change my life and do the things I love on a larger scale. So all of this can make it somewhat difficult to date out here. Also, man, most people are just trying to survive out here – so everyone is in hustle mode and I’m finding that can make it a bit difficult to slow down. But I’m a hopeful person. When the right one comes along, it will happen organically!
What do you look for in a dude? Hmm, good question. Mostly just be a man. I mean that in a variety of ways. Be who you are, be forthright, honest, humble and have good values. On the slightly more superficial side, I want someone who is physically fit – meaning he likes to stay active and is motivated. And can cook. The way to my heart is through my stomach!
I bet you got some numbers during your DJ set at Pride. How was that experience? Man, honestly spinning at L.A. Pride last summer was one of the highlights of the year! Shout out to B.A.S.H.LA for the opportunity. They have supported me since I moved out here. I can’t tell you how it feels to have thousands of people screaming and going crazy during your set like that. The energy was insane and it really confirmed – wow, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in life. It was a moment!
You definitely set the vibe. How do you come up with a playlist when you DJ an event? Usually, I think about the crowd or the venue first when developing my set list. I also think about what the event organizer – who is usually paying me – wants me to include. Different venues will require different styles of music so I try to think about that as I’m prepping my mix. I also like to take a look at any new music that may have just come out in the past few days to make sure I’m up to speed on what’s new and fresh. I always feel like as a DJ I have to give people what they want and what they didn’t know existed yet!
So in your opinion, who should we start listening to now? I’m really into Dawn Richard at the moment. She’s doing some things in the EDM world that people aren’t really as aware of as I think they should be. I like to drop her song “Renegade” during my EDM sets – people have no idea what they are going off to, but they are loving it. Another artist that I listen to every day is Jess Glynne. You have to check out her song “Gave Me Something” – it’s not new anymore but I’m loving her – it reminds me of a modern day “Real Love” by Mary J – which still goes hard today. I’m also living for a new independent artist named Toy Connor – she has a Caribbean vibe that is really infectious. Her new song “Run Da Road” is going to be huge!
We’ll check them out! It’s clear you get people moving at the clubs, but who inspires you in the DJ/host world? That’s an interesting question – I've always looked at guys like David Guetta and Calvin Harris and thought – wow, that could be me one day. Or I tell myself that I’m going to be the black Andy Cohen or Ryan Seacrest. I look at these guys and think – what’s so different between them and me? I’ve just got to put in the work!
So what is your end-goal? My goals are two-fold – 1) I want to residency in Vegas. That’s one of my ultimate goals as a DJ. 2) I want to host my own television show – something in the realm of news and entertainment. I love what Chelsea Handler has been able to do on Netflix, so I want something very similar to that show.
Well, you’ve got the talent. Between hosting and DJing, which do you like best? First, thank you – it’s one thing to say that someone “does” something, but it’s another to indicate that it’s a talent. Now, that’s actually a hard question. I enjoy them both equally quite honestly. I found myself hosting events by happenstance – I used to be a part of a dance organization, and we always needed someone to hype the crowd and intro our crew. But I could say the same for me as a DJ – it was never something I set out to do. People used to always ask me to bring music to parties – so I became a de facto DJ. There’s also a side of my personality that likes engaging with people; I like asking questions, and I like instigating people to have a good time – I get fulfillment from both in this aspect. But there’s nothing like spinning at a party or venue and having a crowd of people moving to the music you’re playing. It’s a weird power trip, but it’s also a magical moment because everyone gets lost in the music. I love both and hope to continue doing them both.
We hear you have a reality TV show in the pipeline. Can you share any deets? Hmm… wow. OK, this is probably one of the other most exciting things I’ve been able to do this year. I can’t actually say much at this point – because I don’t want to get in trouble since the promos won’t be out for a while – but it’s for a major network and should be out late spring/summer 2017. And it’s going to be huge. What I can say is that it was a life changing experience and viewers will really get a chance to know who I really am and how insane life can get!
What a tease! But we can’t wait. What else is coming up for you in 2017? Wow. 2017. I’m really excited about 2017. Obviously, the show will come out – so there will be lots of promotion for that. I have a feeling it’s going to open a lot of doors. I also have new music coming out – I’ve produced and written urban music in the past, but now I’m producing more EDM-style and deep house because that’s really where I’m putting my focus musically. So look out for that. Additionally, I’ve joined with a few business partners to start an entertainment/management company for a few artists we really believe in – so I’ll definitely be touring with a few artists next year. There’s a lot that’s about to happen!
Richie, thanks for chatting with us. Any final thoughts for our readers? Mostly I want to thank you for the opportunity to share my story and journey – I literally moved out here about a year and a half ago and to see how God has opened doors and put me in the right places is kind of crazy to see. Mostly, I just want to encourage anyone else out there – to follow their dreams even when faced with rejection – it’s just the universe directing you down the better path. You can’t see it then, but when you look back – you’re always like – AHA! I get it now.
Keep up with Richie on Instagram and Twitter @djrichieskye.
Photography: Vicente Lopez @vicentelz
Grooming: Rodney Jon @madebyrodneyjon
Interview: Josh Wood @jkallspell