East Lincoln student brings the beats to prom
Zach Jensen won’t be taking his date to East Lincoln High School’s prom May 12. She’s going with friends instead, and Jensen, a senior, may not even touch the dance floor.
But he will be at Charlotte’s Crowne Plaza Hotel an hour-and-a-half early and won’t leave until the last flower petal is swept away.
Jensen, 18, will be the party’s disc jockey, the first time East Lincoln has used a student in that role. Jensen wants a career in music – in production, or engineering – and he’s been creating music mixes and edging into the DJ business for about a year.
“The passion is there. It’s a cutthroat industry, and I know that he realizes that DJ’ing is only a fraction of what the industry has to offer,” said Edward Shouse, 23, who DJ’d the prom last year and who works at Butter NC, a nightclub near uptown Charlotte. “I give him advice here and there, and we exchange emails. I listen to his mixes and tell him, ‘That was awesome,’ or ‘That was not so awesome.’”
Jensen, who lives with his mom, Brenda, in Denver, said his classmates starting joking earlier in the school year about his supplying his electro/dubstep/hip-hop mixes for the prom. Then someone mentioned it to the prom committee.
“I talked to the principal, and we made an agreement,” said Jensen, who uses the stage name DJ Baby J.
Principal Tim Woody said the senior class approved of Jensen by overwhelming majority.
“We are excited to have a senior giving back to his senior class by serving as DJ for the 2012 ELHS prom,” Woody said.
Jensen’s buddy, senior Brian Trulli, shadows Jensen when he works, helping with set up and takedown and keeping the crowd off the sound system.
“I make sure people don’t go crazy, like get too close, or spill a drink on it, because he has very expensive equipment,” Trulli said.
When Jensen DJs a birthday party or other social gathering, it’s Trulli’s truck that totes the mixer, amplifiers and speakers. For East Lincoln’s prom, the pair also will bring a stage, fog lights and strobe lights.
“What I do is I start with a set-up list of songs, just a few, to see how the crowd reacts to each kind of genre,” he said. “I’ve always been around music, I just never found my main interest. Then I started getting into electronic music around October 2011, and it sparked my interest.”
Jensen has a SoundCloud account to showcase his mixes and can be found on YouTube. He’s looking at colleges that offer courses in mixing and mastering music, but hasn’t made a decision. “I never really knew what I wanted to do, but then I found it was music, and nothing else,” he said.
The segue will be his senior prom.
And as for that date? “I’ll see her before and after,” he said. “But if I can sneak a dance in there, I might.”
Want to know more?
Find out more about Zach Jensen’s music online at soundcloud.com/zach
To contact him about DJ’ing an event, visit www.djbabyj.com and click on Booking.