BALTIMORE — While most students are looking forward to a summer break that may include barbecues, a trip to the beach or a family vacation, one local high school standout is preparing to go on tour with music superstar Chris Brown.
Bernard Brooks III— better known as DJ Young Music— has created quite the brand for himself and a loyal following of fans who listen to him spin the latest tunes every Wednesday at 10 p.m. for WPGC 95.5 FM or those who know him as the official DJ for singer Ginuwine.
The 18-year-old wunderkind, who will graduate high school on May 22, 2015, recently became the youngest artist to sign a distribution deal with eOne Entertainment, an international company with offices across the globe.
DJ Young Music has also been called on to spin music for rap mogul Diddy and superstar Nicki Minaj’s Super Bowl after party.
What’s more, with all of the immediate success, he has maintained a spot on his high school’s honor roll. If the accomplishments sound surprising for someone as young as him, it certainly is not to DJ Young Music.
“Some things you know are going to come and some things you don’t know are going to come,” he said. “Since I was nine and 10-years-old, I have been telling people what I was going to do and what I would accomplish. This isn’t a surprise to me because if you put in enough hard work and have the heart, things will start coming.”
A good portion of his success can be attributed to a focus that is not as common with other teens. In what may have been an unintentional nod to a Snoop Dogg song, DJ Young Music says he keeps his mind on his music and on earning money.
“The way I’m working, right now music is my friend. Music and money— and at the end of the day, if you’re not helping me then I don’t need you around,” he said. “The majority of my time is spent doing radio mixes and the radio stuff is really serious.”
In addition to his WPGC gig, DJ Young Music also spins for stations in other markets. He also noted that he has a project in the works featuring members of his own independent label.
“We have a compilation mix tape with me, my artists Frank Benz, Da-Rai and other musicians,” DJ Young Music said.
In December, he became the youngest artist to sign a full development deal that allows him to release music, films and soundtracks of new artists through his own label.
His “Something for the Streets, Vol. 2,” mix tape has garnered more than 250,000 downloads and DJ Young Music says it’s just the beginning.
“I’m in phase two of my life and right now I’m the youngest in history to touch the airwaves in Washington, D.C., with music and film deals, and I have the number three independent song in the country,” he said.
Despite the bravado, DJ Young Music says he realizes the importance of an education and not getting involved with the wrong crowd. Simply put, he doesn’t have the time or the inclination for that.
His handlers aren’t surprised by his focus and dedication to his craft. They say when most six-year-olds were mastering the art of ramp jumping on their BMXs, DJ Young Music was taking notes from Grammy nominated producers such as Kevin “Khao” Cates, who shared with him the importance of learning beat counts.
By age 11, DJ Young Music had become seasoned enough to earn a tour invite from Ginuwine. He was promoted from roadie to official national tour DJ at age 16 and recently, he earned the crown of being Live Nation/Scream Nation Mad DJ of the DMV.
The soon-to-be high school graduate who will perform with Chris Brown this summer isn’t bashful when giving career advice to other young aspiring musicians.
“Just look at me,” he said. “Pick your path and become the best you could be because that’s what I did. I’m trying to be myself, so you too be yourself.”