DJ Donald “Don” Cannon was the center of attention at the School of Journalism Lecture Hall Friday morning. He was the special guest for the hip-hop forum, which was organized by the Red Bull Music Academy and Music Entertainment Industry Student Association.
The six-foot-something DJ and has dreamed of playing basketball and working in the music industry since he was five years old. Cannon said he played against Kobe Bryant in high school and knew if he could compete with the basketball great, the sky was the limit.
“When I saw that (Bryant) got that championship ring his first year in the league, I knew that I could accomplish anything,” said Cannon.
Cannon, a Philadelphia native, held a question and answer panel, answering students’ questions about his journey to success or the music industry in general.
He emphasized the importance of aspiring artists and producers knowing the music industry is where they want to be, because it requires dedication and discipline.
“I remember when artists were first starting out, they slept on the floor of the studio or wherever they could find a place to sleep,” Cannon told students during the session. “I want you all to know for sure this is what you want to do, because much sacrifice comes along with this. There were plenty of times and still are plenty of times when we forget to eat because we are so focused and in the zone.”
Cannon advised students to take advantage of people already in the industry as mentors and advisers.
“Technology and social networking is amazing right now; you could be one tweet away from your dreams,” said Cannon. “In my day, we didn’t have twitter and blogs, so I think you all should use it to the greatest of your ability if you are trying to be heard.”
The renowned DJ has produced tracks for artists like Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, Estelle, Big Sean and Paul Wall, and performed in London and Tokyo. The Clark
Atlanta alumnus became well-known in the Atlanta metro area for throwing college parties.
Christian Whitaker, a senior computer information systems student, said Cannon helped him learn a basic tutorial on a program he has struggled with.
“I’ve started producing myself, and Cannon taught me a few things on Ableton Live,” Whitaker said. “I really hope we have more opportunities like this, because he was very humble and I gained a lot from him.”