The music industry has always bred prodigies and currently rising to fame is Dubai based Michelle Rasul aka DJ Michelle. At just 9, she has outclassed as many as 70 artists from across the globe, all older to her in age and more experienced, at the DMC World DJ Championship, held online this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Her achievements far outnumber her tender age. Currently, she has her eyes on the world title with her first track also in the offing.
Not too long ago, her journey as a child turntablist started. “Since I was little, I did not listen to Baby Shark stuff. I followed Tupac Shakur, BIG, Jay-Z and all the rappers," Michelle puts it. Now, she performs at kids’ parties and music festivals across the city. “DJ-ing is all about music. It is my passion and I can’t imagine my life without music. When I scratch, it is all about dancing and making everyone happy, which I love to do. It is about inspiring people. I started DJ-ing professionally when I was 5 years old," she adds.
Michelle’s father, DJ Shock, has been instrumental in shaping her interest and recognised her musical abilities early on. He is also her first institution, apart from the online schools where she takes her classes from. “I used to see my dad DJ-ing in his room all the time. When I was 1.5 years old, I started pressing buttons on his console. On my fifth birthday, I asked if he can get me some equipment. It was him who inspired me to do it and taught me the basics. He teaches me stuff but I try and learn by myself. There are schools like DJ Qbert and Beat Junkies that offer video classes. I learn from there but mostly I create by myself. I figure it out," she says with an air of confidence.
Michelle’s videos of scratching with her deft fingers have racked up quite the viewership on her social media handles. It is a treat to see her in her element behind the console, vibing to her own beats, donning those funky hats. “My mom does it, putting my videos out. She takes pictures of me. I went public when I was 5. My first performance was at a friend’s birthday party. But on stage, it was at City Walk Dubai. As soon as it got over, I asked my mom ‘can we do it again’? I play for people of all ages. I get messages from not only kids but adults as well that I inspire them. I love their messages and am glad that I can inspire them," Michelle proudly says of her child celebrity status.
Everything in her life revolves around music. When asked what her other interests are, she says, “Bass guitar is something that I love. I am going to start learning the electric guitar soon. I also like solving the Rubik’s Cube, dancing, singing and hanging out with my friends. I love dogs and reading books. I have already got like a hundred books."
With her growing popularity, she has adjusted to the star status rather comfortably. “People recognise me on the streets. They often come and take pictures with me. Sometimes the cashiers at the malls are like ‘oh my god, you are DJ Michelle’. I love the fact that I am the youngest DJ in the world."
When asked about her future plans, Michelle has a lot going on. “I want to start producing music. I am also working on my first track now. My friends are also into music and we have a little gang. I want to be a professional bass guitar player. My life is about music."
Interestingly, Michelle has an ear for Punjabi tracks. She says, “Sometimes me and my dad, we sit down and listen to Punjabi songs," adding, “I have a lot of friends in India. I want to tell them that nothing is impossible. You just have to go for it. You will have success."