Tell us a bit about you and how you cope with your disability and being a DJ.
My name is Jake Smith. I am a 21-year-old DJ/Producer from Cheshire, and I have Cerebral Palsy. I don’t allow my disability to get in the way of anything I do; I am very positive.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a DJ?
As a little boy, my dad always used to play dance music in the car, and whenever I was in there with him, he used to turn it up very loud. When I got my first iPad, I downloaded a DJ app; I was only about 10 at the time.
What were the initial challenges you faced in your journey to becoming a DJ, and how did you overcome them?
I have always tried to remain positive in my outlook on life and display a determination to not let my disability stop me. Before any performance, I think about the surroundings, such as access to the building, whether my wheelchair will fit under the DJ stand, and if the audience can see me. All part of making the experience more enjoyable for everyone, not just myself.
How did you stay motivated and persistent during the tough times when success seemed distant?
I have the drive to show people that even if you have a disability, you can still achieve your dreams; that helps me and keeps me motivated during any tough times.
Describe a defining moment in your musical career when you realized that your hard work was paying off, and your dream was becoming a reality.
When I performed at Ibiza Rocks this summer.
The road to success is often filled with obstacles. Can you share a setback or failure you encountered and the valuable lessons you learned from it?
Turning up to gigs and not being able to fit under the decks. I then learned to always visit venues before performing, check the height of the decks, and communicate with the organizers.
As an aspiring DJ, what advice would you give to others who are starting on a similar journey?
Enjoy your journey, don’t put any pressure on yourself, and set yourself realistic goals.
Your music has undoubtedly touched the lives of many. Can you share an inspiring anecdote about how your music made a positive impact on someone’s life?
Meeting followers in Ibiza and being told how they find me an inspiration to them even though some of them work with people who have special needs.
What does the future hold for you?
I would like to play at more events, release more of my own music, and change more people’s perceptions of disability.
Anyone with a disability and wanting to make it as an artist, what advice would you give them?
Don’t give up!