DJ DeMarko! is one of the headline
Fortitude, a new GLBT benefit
weekend featuring over 12 events throughout
Fort Lauderdale during Presidentís Day Weekend 2011
(February 17 -21). Fortitude (FORTITUDEweekend.com)
includes a film festival, comedy night, live concert,
womenís and menís pool parties, sunset cocktails,
brunch, and nightclub/bar events. All proceeds from
Fortitude go to charity; amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS
Research, is the main national beneficiary, while the
Pride Center and the
Miami-Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals
are two of the local charities. DJ DeMarko!, who has
remixed for artists such as Jody Watley, Deborah Cox,
Matt Zarley, Inaya Day, Taylor Dayne, Angie Stone and
Ace Of Base, recently caught up with Mark Magazine about
spinning at Fortitude, his passion and what is next in
his musical journey.
Can you talk about being one
of the headliners at the new Fortitude Weekend in Fort
It's an absolute honor to be part of
this select group of DJs to bring attention to Fort
Lauderdaleís Fortitude Weekend. We all intend on
bringing the best of us to all of you on an entirely new
level and that's what Fortitude is all about, creating a
What is the most important
thing to you about participating in an event like this?
The most important thing is making
sure everyone goes away remembering this was the best
pool party they've been too. Everyone will make new
friends, reconnect with old ones, spend a great day next
to the pool dancing to what will probably be the best
music they've heard poolside in a long time, and it was
for all for a great charity and honest cause. I've been
spinning for 30 years and I have yet to find someone who
I have let down.
do you want your LGBT audience to take away from your
music? Do you hope to inspire or to just give out a
It's definitely all about the vibe!
Music sets the pace, the tone, and it lights a spark in
the atmosphere that everyone feeds from. Everyone who
comes out to Fortitude contributes in their own way just
by being there and the synergy will be felt by everyone.
Was it difficult to get
started and promote yourself as a gay, black DJ? How has
your career transformed from first starting out to now?
When I started spinning in my teens,
"DJs were NOT rock stars"! I hung out in straight clubs
in the booth with the DJ (when I had a girlfriend and
thought I was straight) but never planned on making it a
profession. As the years went by, my passion for music
grew; but I had a great modeling career which I was very
serious about. I was ready to stop at nothing to make it
to the top. After I moved to L.A. to pursue a career in
film, I suffered a serious back injury that quickly
brought everything to a halt; thatís when my hobby
started to take up most of my time. Once again I found
myself hanging out in the DJ booth, but this time with
DJ Manny Lehman. His career was taking off and he had
asked me to fill in for him when he would get bookings
out of town. He was confident that I would be able to
handle the decks. What I didn't know at the time is that
it would turn into my career. Within a year I had my own
weekly after hours, a monthly party and was headlining
at major events.
Do you think you helped pave
the way for other openly gay DJs?
I don't think I've paved the way,
but I've been told by aspiring and seasoned DJs that
I've inspired them and they want to follow my footsteps,
which I don't understand; but if I've touched someone so
deeply and in a positive way, that's a real compliment!
What I do think I have done is help bridge music and
fashion. When I decided to move to NYC I knew the
competition would be fierce, so I hired a wellknown
photographer, hired a publicist, created a press kit and
within six months I had residencies at G Lounge,
Limelight, Splash Bar & Roxy, places people had been
wanting for years. As they say in New York, if you can
make it there, you can make it anywhere!
would you describe your sound to someone who has never
heard you spin?
It all depends on the event or venue
I'm spinning. I've spun The Black & Blue Leather Ball
and Military in Montreal, the NYC Gay Pride Dance On The
Pier (I was the first black DJ in its 20 year history),
Carnival in Rio, clubs in Tel Aviv, and Hustla Ball in
Las Vegas, Berlin, Barcelona & NYC, and countless other
events and clubs. What they all have in common is
positive energy! I give lots of twists and turns with
bumpin' and grindiní rhythms. It all adds up to a very
sexually charged, playful atmosphere! You really can't
help but get involved in the music. It's the perfect mix
of movin' & groovin' tracks with popular vocals that
Iíve remixed. You wonít hear any radio versions with me.
You have worked with many
well-known artists and performed at many popular events.
Is there an artist or an event that stands out above all
Every event to me is like playing it
for the first time, even if it's a weekly gig. I can
honestly say I get excited no matter where I'm playing
and for how many people I'm playing for. As for an
artist, it would have to be Lady GaGa. I met her at a
party and she was very much the entity that everyone
thinks she is! She has no attitude, sheís easy to talk
to and mysteriously sexy. I instantly became her ďBig
Monster.Ē My exclusive remix of "Beautiful Dirty Rich"
is by far my favorite remix.
What projects are you
working on in the future, and will you be back at
Fortitude Weekend next year?
I'm presently working on my 3rd CD &
4th CD, both of which are very different. One is a
Fleetwood Mac remix album that will feature all of their
hits remixed and then an exclusive remix CD that shows a
definite progression from my last remixed CD. It's taken
me over a year, but it's been so worth it! And I will
certainly be back if Fort Lauderdale will have me. I
will be more than happy to take it to the next level
For more about DJ DeMarko! visit