Written by Miya McClain
It was May of 2015 and the summer season has just begun. Hundreds of people stood in front of him waiting to be blown away. He pressed play on his laptop and began to turn his tables. The crowd screamed and in that moment, he knew his dream had come true.
UT student and Memphian Anthony Walton, also known as DJ A-Wall, began his career as a DJ when his promotion group needed someone steady.
Walton is a junior majoring in political science with a minor in Africana studies and business and a focus on law. He manages to keep his grades up and his career in tip-top shape through the support of his family and friends.
His mother supports him by traveling hundreds of miles to see his shows.
“I can’t even name three things that she has not attended,” Walton said. “From parties to graduations and ceremonies. Even if her job is on the line, she’s always going to be there.”
His friends have stayed close to him on his way to the top. Whether they are DJs like himself or just his supporters, Walton is constantly thanking them.
“I always give credit to one DJ names DJay-Ju. He’s an older DJ and I call him my godfather because without him, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” he said.
Before a performance, Walton said he likes to sit in silence or listen to soft music to get away from the loud music with bass that he will be hearing all night.
He also reminds himself of the two main purposes of the show: the money and the people.
“Its about giving people the experience because a lot of DJs tend to just play music,” he said. “I feel like the crowd deserves a performance. You have to give the crowd something to remember when they go home.”
While Walton may consider himself a popular DJ in Knoxville, he has had many shows across the southern states and cities.
He says one of his most exciting performances was when he was scheduled to open up for “Crank That” superstar Soulja Boy at Louisiana State University.
“I was in the middle of a song when someone came and told me I needed to go upstairs, so I ran up there and I walk in and it’s Soulja Boy,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting him until later, but something happened to his DJ so I ended up having to DJ for him right on the spot. It was amazing”
Walton’s new career hasn’t always been easy. From stress and being overwhelmed with responsibility to the new demand for his performances, Walton always tries to pull through.
“Coming into the DJ world, it’s a hard thing to do because one bad show can determine your career,” he said. “My first show I did not do well,” he said. “People were going around saying the DJing thing with A-Wall wasn’t working. I always look back at the struggles that I’ve been through. It’s what makes me humble.”
Walton practices all day and night to improve his DJing skills while also balancing his academic career.
“It has shown me how to really manage my time really well. I have notifications set up on my phone for every event and my laptop, and I also have a calendar,” he said.
Along with his academic studies, Walton says determining the personality of a crowd at one of his performances is like homework. He says it is important to know the crowd in order to put on the best show possible.
He has never considered dropping out of college to pursue his DJ career because he says is mother is going to be right there pushing him to go back.
“I look at it like, yes, I’m stressed right now, but the outcome is going to be greater,” Walton said. “I love my major, I like political science, so if this DJ thing cools down, I can still be a lawyer.”
Walton is not selfish when it comes to the spotlight. He wants to see everyone around him gain success and follow their dreams, just like he has done.
“I don’t like to take all the glory. We all have the same grind. We all have the same mindset,” he said. “We’re all just trying to be successful.”
Featured image courtesy of Anthony Walton
Edited by Taylor Owens