The story of DJ SuperNova starts at the crossroads where determination, professionalism, and preparedness meet. Bronx raised SuperNova majored in Computer Engineering at Penn State University, but his prowess on the 1’s and 2’s quickly earned him DJ spots at all the coveted parties on campus. This hobby quickly blossomed into a full-fledged profession spider webbing through the east coast college circuit, to theater, to becoming a resident DJ at the largest urban radio station in South Africa. Pivoting from computer engineering to music full-time meant that breaking down cultural barriers in his family was difficult, but his determination proved fruitful. This fall in New York City, SuperNova will be able to invite his mother to see his skills at work on set of Othello: The Remix, a Q Brothers Production presented by John Leguizamo.
From family, to music, to theater, SuperNova’s goal to create common ground and understanding through music is clear. His mixes are a masterful blend of genres like hip-hop, top 40, EDM, latin, classics, reggae and afro beat served up weekly across Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. As an American DJ, his relationship with the continent of Africa started with preforming a play at an arts festival in South Africa. Before long he would become a resident DJ, travelling a couple times a year, cross pollinating their hip-hop with our hip-hop.
Having built up a solid rapport with artists, he gets all the new music first and when asked if language barriers hinder him from breaking new artists, SuperNova remarks “South African twitter is a real thing, they talk about all the gossip and new tracks, so it’s easy for me to stay in tune…” With his hand on the pulse of music stateside and in the motherland, SuperNova is fully aware of the structural racism and parallels of the treatment of people of color in Africa and the U.S. “My overall goal is to make it cool for people to work together, specifically people of color. We all go through a lot of stuff in society…if we can make it cool for us to work together, some of these artists here are genuine superstars with a million followers that are completely different from someone from the States who has a million followers.
Why not put these people together and cross pollinate these audiences and open up opportunities for each other and each others’ domain?” As his love for music and diverse artistry grew, so did SuperNova’s technical skills. Introduced to sound design on his college campus through DJing over a decade ago, he was excited to use hip-hop to drive messages home through different art forms and tell stories. As a sound designer and music director for theater, he places sound effects, music, and more to create the auditory ambiance and tone that accompanies a play. Working with the Q Brothers, veteran writers and directors of many stripped down, hip-hop adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, came about when readiness met with fate. After being spotted by Jackson Duran at another show, he referred SuperNova for the DJ gig for their production, ‘A Q Brother’s Christas Carol.’
Two weeks later in a phone interview, the Q Brothers asked what he would do if a homeless person fell on the train track… SuperNova answered the question correctly and was hired on the spot. Years and many collaborations later, he is to be reunited with the Q Brothers for the New York City run of Othello: The Remix opening mid-November and presented by John Leguizamo. Within this contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello, there is a lot of pressure on and trust placed in SuperNova to play Q Brother’s produced music cues and use his sound design skill set. He is as intimately involved in the play as any of the actors, while having the creative license to use DJ techniques to help tell the story. With trust factor at an all-time high, Super- Nova said, “All the music is done live, it’s not prerecorded at all… If one of the guys skips a line, they trust me as a DJ to bring it back.”
Currently, SuperNova is working a seven episode documentary series, (U).S.A. that will focus on the influential South African hip-hop artists and his own adventures as an international DJ. Always on the go, his travels have taken him from South America to South Africa. After his current tour through Southern Africa, he has eyes set on Europe and Asia to explore music in those areas. If you ever had any questions about how far you could go, take it from the inspirational, always on-time, multi faceted DJ SuperNova, “Never be content. There are so many beautiful things that are out there that we can learn from… I just feel like I’m a better human being because of traveling.” Follow DJ SuperNova on IG www.instagram. com/djsupernova