Nick Davis, '19

Nick Davis stands in front of his turntables

Junior Nick Davis grew up with music flowing throughout his household. While his mother listened to mostly R&B and soul, his grandparents listened to classic jazz musicians like Count Basie and Duke Ellington. These influences are where his love of music stemmed from.

“Music was a big part of growing up,” Davis said. “I’ve been listening to music for as long as I can remember. In my teen years, I was like, ‘I want to listen to jazz,’ and everyone was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ But I loved it. I would not be DJing if it were not for my mom because she always kept it in my ear.”

He might have been raised on the classics, but Davis said it was the internet that introduced him to the world DJ culture.  

“You know how you might watch one YouTube video and then two hours later you’re watching some random video? For me, that random YouTube video was about DJing. It was a video of a class at another university, maybe in California, where they actually taught a DJ class,” Davis said. “I instantly thought ‘OK, I want to do that.’ I was maybe a freshman or sophomore in high school.”

After expressing interest in the hobby to his mother, Davis got the gear to get started.

“She bought my first-ever DJ controller, which was a small little thing. I didn’t have speakers, so I had to use my mom’s laptop that always overheated and I always had to keep a fan on it,” Davis said.

Getting the equipment was the first step toward beginning his DJing career. He also had to put in a lot of work — Davis spent many afternoons after school and several hours in the evenings practicing.

“I would come home from school and do homework and then I would DJ until I fell asleep, and I would do that every single day,” Davis said. “In high school, it was probably two to three hours every single day. If I wasn’t doing homework or I wasn’t in school, I was DJing. Now that I’m in college, I try to keep it to an hour a day just so I can remember how to DJ.”

He does not have one distinct style, but likes to bring many different influences into his work.

“I’m all over — I like playing just about all types of music, whether it be a song from your childhood like the SpongeBob Squarepants theme song, or something like that,” Davis said.

Davis began taking on some gigs after school and on the weekends. He would DJ birthday parties, family reunions and anniversaries, but it was not until he moved to Kansas City for college that he was introduced to the club and bar scene.

“It kept jumping around until I got to school in KC and I met some guys who DJ here who kind of pushed me onto the DJ scene in KC which was really, really cool,” Davis said.

Although hesitant to share his DJing career with others, he was ultimately met with support from other students and the surrounding Rockhurst community.

“One thing that I always had reservations about when I got to college was that I wasn’t going to tell anyone that I was a DJ because I didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh, this guy’s a DJ, he won’t stop talking about it,’” Davis said. “But people might see a picture of me on social media somewhere and they kind of came to figure it out. I thought I was going to be the only person who likes it, but it ended up being the complete opposite, to the point where people would say, ‘Oh, this is awesome. Nick, when are you DJing, where are you DJing? Let us know.’ There have been multiple times when I’ll be out DJing and I’ll see someone who goes to Rockhurst and they’ll come out to support me. Stuff like that is really cool. It’s not what I expected, so to have that happen is absolutely awesome.”

On campus, Davis has had the opportunity to DJ several events, including venue events for Greek organizations and home games for the Rockhurst men’s basketball team.

“The one thing with me loving DJing is that I can never say no. If it’s a situation where someone is asking if I can DJ this event or that event? I will, always. I would love to DJ any organization’s events on campus because I just enjoy DJing and I like to think I’m pretty good at it,” Davis said.

Davis is optimistic about the future of his DJing career. He hopes to one day be able to support himself and his family solely through his DJ career. As a short-term goal, he hopes to be able to travel and take his music to other parts of the country.

“Not to say that I’ve done everything there is to do in KC,” Davis said. “There’s still so much to do and so many other places to play, things like that. But I want to be able to travel. I want to be able to say, ‘OK, this weekend I’m DJing in this city, next weekend I’ll be in that city.’ That is kind of the ultimate goal for me. One, see the world and two, be able to DJ to different crowds and play music for them.”

You can follow DJ Nick Davis on Snapchat and Instagram @nickdavis1200