“I’m not just a DJ, I’m a performer.”
With his stage name tattooed on his arm, DJ Raedar is determined to do everything in his power to make himself a well-known name outside of the local scene.
At 19, Mike Rae, from Oshawa, has established a solid foundation for what he hopes to be involved with forever - music. In addition to DJing at clubs, parties and schools, he’s the running force behind Team Raedar, a music group consisting of eight artists.
Currently Raedar’s main focus is on Team Raedar. He credits local rapper Prince Rose with showing him the possibility of having a group. While working on a couple mixtapes with artists signed to his team, he’s making his way towards producing and even appearing on tracks himself.
“It’s a movement. No one in Canada is really doing a movement like this...It’s a group of guys who know what they want to do. They’re ready to work for it.”
As for live shows, Raedar does it all. While still hosting school dances, he’s moved up to performing at clubs such as the Guvernment in Toronto, and he even hosts shows as well. Often, his sets of hip-hop and reggae music are backed by local drummer Adam Woodhouse, another unique feature not often done by the average DJ. Last month he hosted a local hip-hop showcase and continues to set up shows to display artists from Team Raedar and other local talent.
Along with all the current plans with his group, Raedar wants to plan a tour at colleges and universities across Ontario. “The show is not meant to be based around me,” he said. “Yeah it’s Readar going on tour, and yeah I’m bringing my artists, but I don’t want the focus to be just on me. I want it to be focused on the entertainment aspect.”
“I’m a performer and that’s what the entertainment industry needs. You could be the best artist, you could be the best writer, you could be the best vocalist, but if you can’t step on that stage and perform and you just stand there like you’re in the vocal booth, you’re not going to put on a show.”
When Rae was in grade 6 he would go to the school dances and watch how the DJ would get the crowd hyped up with the drop of the newest hit on the radio. Ever since then, he’s wanted to become a full-time DJ.
At 13 he began mixing music and teaching himself about the art. In high school Rae picked up the name Raedar and began doing shows for other schools’ dances with his hip-hop/reggae blend.
Raedar won the Durham College DJ battle in 2011, in his third week of attending college. However, after his first year, he decided to focus on his music career and left school.
“Being taught by somebody else is not my forte,” said Raedar. “Leaving school is just me saying to myself ‘I’m in this to teach my myself.’ When other people teach you what to do, you’re not going to be as happy as you could be. If you teach yourself what to do, light your own path, show yourself where to go and what your goals are and what you want in your life, that’s when you’re going to be successful.
Being a DJ, I live for that rush, and that’s what keeps me doing what I do.”
- Matt Aness