Simply Elevate January 2014 - Page 20

After sitting down to chat with DJ E Sudd, one word echoes: consistent. At just 26 years old, Erik Sudderth has made a significant name for himself as one of the top DJs in the music industry. His fans know him as DJ E Sudd, former DJ for Travis Porter and current road DJ for well-known hiphop artist 2 Chainz, working with artist like Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Drake. To get to where he is so quickly in his career, it is clear that DJ E Sudd has always maintained true to who he is and stayed focused on what he loves: DJing. So how did this young man from High Point, North Carolina discover this love for music? As a child music was all around him. He had the old school influences of reggae and jazz from his father in addition to the exposure to contemporary R&B and rap by his cousins. In elementary school he began playing the guitar, which morphed into the drums in middle school, but he always had a primary love of mixing music. “Mix tapes have always been a way for me to get my name out there since my mom’s basement. I was in the game before I even realized I was in the music game.” Sudderth had a hobby of burning CDs for his friends. “People came to me with a playlist of songs, I’d make it and sell it for $10. I’d make my own playlists and sell them for $5. I always had that mentality of hustling and branding myself. It became more than just burning a CD, the older I got the more I realized the art behind it.” By the time he hit T. Wingate Andrews High School, he began to move around the city, revealing the integral part that music played in the nightlife of the city. “That’s when I found that love 20 for promoting parties and truly being involved rather than just a guest.” As a young high school student, Sudderth began promoting parties and along the way he met his first mentor, DJ Smooth. “I followed him, watched how he worked and one thing just led to the next. He was the one that first led me to touch the turntables. He said, ‘You play’ I did and the crowd went crazy.” DJ E Sudd was born. He thrived off that energy combined with his love of mixing songs and by his senior year of high school was a highly sought after DJ in the High Point area, often performing at venues before he was even legally of age to enter as a guest. His family was extremely supportive of his work as he grew. His father, with a graphic communication design background, understood the love of branding things and giving something a wellknown name. “I don’t know if that was something I learned from him or if it was actually in my bloodstream or what.” From lending him their basement to mix CDs to giving him all his turntables, speakers, and crates rides to his venues, they never stopped showing him support. “Once they saw that it was something that was making me happy, they are behind him 100%.” During his senior year at Andrews High School, DJ E Sudd started working with Waleed Coyote on 102 Jamz to bring the radio to the streets and the high school crowd. “Being able to go to the radio station when I was in high school and see the great DJs they had at the time gave me a firsthand look rather than me just learning on my own. Seeing them mixing their transitions, their scratches. Each DJ has their own unique style, their own way of doing business, their own way of rocking the crowd.” This opportunity gave him a chance to meet new people and further engrain his name in the music community. After high school DJ E Sudd became a name on the campus of North Carolina A&T. “Since the college is very close to my hometown, a lot of people coming to the parties were already familiar with my brand and knew my name, so they knew that I would bring a crowd. So now I had the streets, radio, and college influences all in one. I just stayed consistent.” Successful in staying consistent as a DJ, Sudderth struggled with how to stay consistent to his heart, which beat to the tunes he mixed, rather than in the classroom. “I saw what I wanted and I went for it. Sometimes you get further in life going by your own direction. At the end of the day you have to do what you feel is right for yourself. The college counselor told me, ‘don’t waste time on something that your heart isn’t in.” Tony Graham, a longtime