Many are calling deaf DJ Robbie Wilde the Beethoven of the modern world. Much like the late classical composer, he uses sonic vibrations to hear and create his stellar music. Never heard of him? We're here to aid with that.
Robbie was born hearing in both ears, but a severe ear infection at age 7 left him deaf in his right ear and 80% deaf in his left. In spite of his circumstances, Robbie has launched a successful DJing career, with mixing and turntable skills that rival most hearing DJs. We recently spoke with Robbie about his music, his motivation, and his hopes for the future; he was nothing short of inspiring.
ACT: Can you explain how your hearing loss affected you growing up?
DJ ROBBIE WILDE: Throughout my childhood, my hearing affected a lot -- from schoolwork to social conversations. However, my parents and their importance on education pushed me to do my best. I continued going to public schools all the way to college, achieving honor rolls and dean's list at Kean University. But it was not an easy journey. With my family’s support and my ambition to succeed, I made it through and still continue to strive further each day.
ACT: When did you discover your passion for music and DJing?
DJ ROBBIE WILDE: Music has been in my life since I was a child. My mother would go to discos with my father in England until she was 7 months pregnant, and I’d kick to the beat. As a teenager, I went to Atlanta and heard a good friend’s brother, DJ Ulises, play. I traveled back to Jersey and started DJing at my father’s restaurant on the weekends. I got hooked on the art of turntablism!
ACT: You're sort of like the Beethoven of the DJ world. Can you explain how, like him, you use vibrations to hear music?
DJ ROBBIE WILDE: WOW. That's an amazing honor. Vibrations in the subs are the key to my craft; they help me feel my songs and time when to scratch. Unlike the hearing community enjoying a track for the lyrics, I enjoy a track for its instrumentals. There’s nothing like a hard kick and low bass to me.
ACT: Do you feel that the music community is more or less welcoming to you because you are deaf?
DJ ROBBIE WILDE: In the beginning, it was a major concern to the venues and event directors. They were afraid that my mixing and sets would be...silent. But with the support of some owners and promoters, I’ve been able to share my music. Club to club, state to state, people are beginning to hear me and become believers.
ACT: What do you think is your greatest accomplishment to date?
DJ ROBBIE WILDE: My proudest accomplishment is scratching, I wouldn't have learned the art of turntablism if it weren’t for DJ Shiftee, who took 2 hours a day, 2 days a week to teach me. His patience, experience, and humbleness are the reason I can do what I can do.
ACT: What are your ultimate goals for your career?
DJ ROBBIE WILDE: My main goal in my career is…to help others hear. One of my goals is to create worldwide events where the hearing and deaf communities can come together. I’d donate proceeds to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which gives hearing aids to people all over the world.
Robbie will soon be releasing a documentary about his life and music, and recently shot a campaign for the launch of HP’s Windows 8. Keep up with Robbie, his music, and his inspiring journey by following the Action Links below!