Today, we bring to the blog Derek Canas, with an inspiring story that highlights the resilient human spirit of survival, and of making your dreams come true regardless of the adversities. Derek is a DJ who goes by the name of DJ D-REK, and he’s also an AIDS activist. He has a powerful message he wants to share with us: “always chase your dreams. I thought I was dead 15 years ago, and I still went after and got my dream job.” Let’s meet the extraordinaire Derek Canas.
Derek, tell us a little bit about you and your background.
I’m battery operated, I’ve had pacemakers since I was 3 months old. I was diagnosed with Aids at 16 after getting bad blood from a blood transfusion at 3 months of age during heart surgery. I’ve been through hell and DJing is my escape for a few hours on the weekend.
Not an easy start for you… But you found a way to channel your talent and rise against adversity and that’s wonderful. When did you decide to become a DJ and why?
When I was 16 I discovered I had been given a bad blood transfusion. I got the bad blood during heart surgery at 3 months of age and was then being diagnosed with Aids. I isolated myself and my escape from doctors and meds became music. When I was old enough to go out, I met some local DJ’S who were playing CDs I had recorded for friends. This was when CD burners had just become popular. The local guys then took me under their wing, and showed me how to DJ.
That’s great, music does make a difference in someone’s life. When and where was your first gig as a DJ and how did you feel?
My first DJ gig was unexpected. I was working with another DJ learning everything, and one night he was unavailable, so the owner asked me to fill in for him. I had my own equipment at this point, but had never done it solo. I was so nervous, but those nerves soon went away as the dance floor became packed.
Sounds great! I’m glad it all worked out. What do you like best about your interaction with the fans?
I love the energy they give back to me. I’ve always said I truly come alive at work. I wish my fans knew how much those few hours I’m at work and their love and support mean to me.
It’s so rewarding when you get a job where you feel you’re not working but having fun and enjoying it! And what genre of music do you prefer to play? What is your favorite song/artist?
I love EDM just for the energy it creates. My favorite song is Bill Withers: “Ain’t No Sunshine”; it’s a goodie after a crazy night song.
Fabulous! Now I have that song on my mind! And which artist or musician has influenced you the most?
Justin Drake has influenced me the most; he taught me how to be an Emulator DJ. I love using the Emulator on gigs, because it takes DJING to a new visual level.
That must be so much fun. I need to visit your club one of this days! What are your plans for this year? What are you working on currently?
To keep working on the charity campaign and then turn into the DJ on the weekends. I’m currently preparing for a very busy summer. I work in a tourist area beach town that get’s crazy during spring break and summer.
I’m sure you’ll be busy! Tell me your favorite quote – or any of your favorite quotes – who said it and why you like it.
Garth Brooks – The Dance: ” I could have missed the pain but I’d have to miss the dance”. I wouldn’t miss this for the world!
Derek, thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your life and work with us. We want to wish you good luck and much success in your career and your cause. Where can we find out more about you and your charity cause?
To help Derek’s “End the Stigma”campaign, visit his Facebook page and follow him on twitter.