DJ Irie is as signature to Miami as hot women, cool bars, sun and fun. As the official DJ of the Miami Heat, he has provided the soundtrack for the team as they dribbled their way to victory game after game. Now the philanthropic turntablist will be hosting the 9th Annual Irie Weekend June 27-29 in Miami Beach. We caught up with the magic city's most famous DJ to chat about the Heat, the songs he can't stop playing this summer and why you won't want to miss Irie Weekend.
What are the latest strides you're making with the Irie Foundation?
"We are so proud of the progress we are making with the IRIE Foundation. Just earlier this month we awarded our first Irie Foundation Impact Scholarships to two most deserving high school graduates through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. We’ve also had a lot of success with our after school program initiatives and cultural arts programs."
What does it mean to you, as a fellow Miamian, to see Pitbull blow up the charts globally?
"It means everything. I’ve known Armando for many years now and I have been fortunate enough to be there from the early days to not only see how his perseverance and hard work has paid off but the fact that he remains the same person that he always was. Extremely humble and a die hard fan of everything Miami. Pitbull is truly a great global ambassador for Miami."
What has been the most memorable moment so far for you of this Heat season?
"There are just soo many but to date I’d have to say the Game 7 home game win against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals was the most memorable. No one saw that series come down to the wire like that, but it was a very hard fought series between two excellent teams."
What song or songs really gets the Heat pumped up on the court?
"The players like all kinds of stuff but a few of the artists they’ve personally requested include, Big K.R.I.T, 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Flo Rida and Jay-Z."
Since you've been DJ'ing on "Good Morning America," what has that experience been like for you and what do you enjoy most about it?
"Performing regularly on 'Good Morning America' has been such an amazing experience. It was a bit overwhelming my first time on [the show] thinking…'I’m about to be LIVE on the No. 1 national morning show in the country” but Josh, George, Sam and especially Lara and Robin made me feel right at home."
In Miami, what are the latest hotspots you and your friends like to hang out at?
"Lately we’ve been kickin’ it a lot at Lucali in Sunset Harbour. Really great vibe there and the food is excellent and when I’m not there you can also catch us enjoying some of the best seafood Miami has to offer at Garcia’s Seafood. On pool days we chill out at either the Mondrian or Hyde Beach | SLS Hotel."
Musically, how has Miami grown since you started DJ'ing down here?
"Wow we’re going back many moons ago [laughing]. Miami has truly evolved musically since I started DJ’ing. When I first started it was either a hip-hop club or a dance music club or latin, but nowadays it’s commonplace to visit a club and hear a mix of all types of music all in the same night and from the same DJ from salsa to EDM to Hip Hop & Rock."
For people who haven't had the pleasure of experiencing Irie Weekend before, what are some events relating to it they won't want to miss?
"The Weekend on a whole is not to be missed, but it’s still very enjoyable a la carte as well. A few of the staples that are not to be missed are the VIP Hublot Kick Off Reception, the 9th Annual Irie Weekend Celebrity Golf Tournament and the Verizon Bowling Tournament. These events are much bigger this year with our new VIP Reception host venue, Hyde Beach at the SLS South Beach and the addition of the Target Hospitality Tent to the Golf tournament."
What are your top 5 songs on your playlist for summer?
1. "Get Lucky" – Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rogers
2. "I Love it" – Icona Pop
3. "When You’re Ready" – Flo Rida feat. Future
4. "Can’t Hold Us" – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton
5. "Ain’t Worries About Nothin’" – French Montana
For more on Irie Weekend, visit IrieWeekend.com.
Contact Joanie Cox-Henry at email@example.com or follow her tweets on Twitter.com/joaniecox.