VADR explains his passion for DJing and success while being a student at Michigan State University.
Addison Brown, a twenty-two year old inspiring DJ attending Michigan State. Some of you may know him as VADR. Brown has done nothing but succeed in his path for DJing. Four years ago he left his life in Texas and moved to Michigan State for college. Born and raised in Texas, Brown came to Michigan knowing no one, leaving behind a large music community, and not sure what path he was going to take. Looking past what he didn’t know, within a little of a year Brown’s talent spread across State’s campus and East Lansing. Since releasing his talent, he has performed many shows, opened for artists such as RL Grime and Adventure Club, made it to Nationals Semi-Finals for Campus DJ, and turned his passion into a lifestyle.
Cheyanne: Explain a little bit about VADR.
VADR: “My names Addison Brown. Born and raised in Texas but now living in Michigan because I attend Michigan State. VADR is basically what organically became all of my partying, DJing, whatever you want to call it in high school really. I was just that kid who had mad music on his phone and laptop at all times. I had this mini controller that I brought with me to any party that I ever went to that I DJ’d off of. I grew up early in the electronic scene in Dallas so I was always going to nightclubs and festivals. They were just a little ahead of the ball on dubstep and stuff like that. Electronic genres were really blowing up in Texas so I got to see a lot of artist that are huge now that were not very big then. The start of DJing though became really organically for me. I felt like I kinda had a skill for playing music at a party. I downloaded a free DJing software on my computer and it was just always something I did in high school. Then in college I had to restart my networking since I moved across the country. About a year into college I had to play on the local radio show, Impact, and was asked what my DJ name was. I didn’t have one so I had to come up with one. I thought back to when I was a kid when I used to call my name Anakan because I hated my name Addison and I was a huge Star Wars fan. Playing a darker style of music, I went with VADR for like a week and it stuck.”
Cheyanne: Describe your style of music.
VADR: “I’m super into hip hop and hip hop influenced being from the south and having so many friends into rap. When I was going to shows, I’d go by myself usually. I ended up making friends there, so whenever I was hanging out with my other friends it was always hip hop. Hip hop has just always been something I’ve listened to. Once I was gravitated into electronic music, trap was huge, as well as bass music and dubstep. Primarily, my music would be trap, bass, and hip hop.”
Cheyanne: When it comes to making music, what are the main things that have inspired you?
VADR: “Back to the hip hop. I’d like to call myself a beatmaker but it wasn’t that awesome. I do have a lot of stuff coming though. Working on a project right now with Rosco P we’ve started making music together and adding stuff to my library. A lot of it is hip hop influenced, adding in bass then throwing in synths and stuff. At the core it’s really hip hop orientated, trap feel type songs.”
Cheyanne: What’s the biggest accomplishment you are most proud of at this moment while being a DJ?
VADR: “I think as far as shows go my biggest accomplishment was Commencement Festival recently. Opening up for RL Grime was huge for me and he is one of my influences. Getting to open for him was an honor in itself. That performance was just my most accomplished performance from a personal level. My best on the microphone. My best interaction. I brought Rosco P out for that set which in my mind was a really bold move at an EDM festival. It was right though with my hip hop influence, and I really want to be that artist known to bring out hip hop artist into my sets. Also, playing for campus DJ and making it to Nationals Semi-finals would be another. It took me back to my home state where four years ago I was traveling to Austin for shows. This time it was the other way around.”
Cheyanne: Being a college student at Michigan State, what are some of the positives and negatives at being a DJ at the same time?
VADR: “Negatives is definitely balancing school. School work and DJing don’t go well together. Being a student specifically, it’s hard to keep the grades up. I have to give and take between the two and get a good balance. I’ve done pretty well though and on the path of graduating on time. As far as positives go, it gave me a purpose and something to do at State. Moving from MI to Texas was really scary for me so DJing gave me a passion to strive for and a direction. It’s made me hustle when it comes to shows, tickets, promotions, playing and all that stuff.”
Cheyanne: What would your advice be to students or young artists your age wanting to pursue a life in the music industry?
VADR: “Don’t get overwhelmed with thinking that the time has passed or overwhelmed with the amount of people trying to do it. Anything you try to do there’s going to be a million people doing it too. If you’re having fun with it, you’re always going to succeed no matter what level you get to. You’ll find your path in it. You’ll find your balance. Just don’t get overwhelmed with comparison. Create your own uniqueness behind it and ride it out.”
Cheyanne: Being your second year in a row playing for Life In Color, you’ll be opening up for Zeds Dead and Baauer this Friday, March 24th. How are you preparing differently this year with everything you’ve accomplished compared to last year?
VADR: “My ticket selling tactics are different. Last year I was solo as far as handling all the stuff I do. I didn’t have any management then and I still don’t have a manager now. However, I do have people that help me with selling tickets, promotions, and we’ve created a team behind it. As far as preparing differently for it, my music selection has gotten better. My sets have gotten better. I’m just trying to keep my brand going in the same direction really. It’s also different because I am playing the official pre-party too. I’ve learned how to build more around one thing. I’ve built more structure to myself not so much solo. I’ve learned to be better prepared for when the time comes to tackle these shows.”
Cheyanne: Aside from Friday, you will be playing at the pre-party, March 23rd. Explain a little more about that.
VADR: “Yeah, I’m hosting the official pre-party on the Riverboat. I’ve worked with the Riverboat plenty before, played many shows there. I know them personally so it was an easy connection to make. I’m teaming up with Super Future, another local, on the bill for the Zeds Dead show. Him and I are bringing our street teams together and using it as a pre-celebration for all of our teams efforts and for our fan basis. Come out, hang out, grab some drinks. It’s going to be a teaser for what we’re about to play. Life In Color is always a tease for us by getting a thirty minute time slot. We’re always itching to DJ more. This gives us another chance to connect with our fans ahead of time. It’s also a great chance to get kids out there who maybe can’t go to LIC. We’re offering free admission to the pre-party event if you buy tickets off me or Future which adds value to the event.”