He’s been doing this a long time. Necktie and suit are model’s own.
Native to the D.C./Baltimore corridor, Ty Hussell is a DJ, multi-instrumentalist, producer, sound-engineer, and educator with a deep love for rhythms & sounds from around the globe. Drawing from his extensive and eclectic collection, he’s been igniting dance floors for over 20 years with his mixtures of Afro-Latin, Brazilian, Jamaican, Caribbean, African, Funk, Soul, Disco & Boogie. When called for, he accompanies these sonic explorations with an array of live percussion instruments, which he has collected from various parts of the world. A consummate professional, Ty takes pride in curating custom-tailored musical experiences to suit each unique occasion.
As a member of Analog Soul Club DC, or flying solo, you may catch Ty Hussell locally at Tropicalia, Café Saint Ex, Dodge City, Wonderland, Bossa Bistro, at a festival, or by chance at a private party or event.
Hussell’s instruments of focus include piano & keyboards, guitar, bass, drum kit, percussion, a pair of turntables & a mixer, as well as the modern DJ controller. His musical work and studies, along with his thirst for rare recordings, have taken him to Cuba, Brazil, Turkey, Central Asia, across Europe, as well as through various parts of North America and Mexico. He has lived and worked in Washington DC, NYC, Memphis, TN; Tucson, AZ; Portland, OR; and Lisbon, Portugal.
As for his origins, Ty’s parents placed a white plastic Fisher Price record player next to his crib before he was even brought home from the hospital. At the age of five, his father began gifting him a 45 rpm record every Friday. In 1979, at age 6, ‘Bustin’ Loose,’ by Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, became his theme song, and “Ty Hussell’s DJ Hour” became his favorite household pastime. Armed with his cherished Radio Shack mixer & Realistic reverb unit, he started by blending between an old belt-driven turntable and a cassette deck. He’s been doing this for a long time.
How long have you been DJing?
For Fun: Since 1979. Professionally: Since 1993.
How long have you been DJing weddings?
How often do you get on the mic?
Typically, only as often as needed, but I’ll gladly fulfill any MC function that will make whatever event I’m working go smoothly and efficiently. While MCing, I keep it clear, concise, and confident, with a twist of joy.
What are some of your all time favorite wedding songs?
- Isley Brothers “Shout”
- Sergio Mendes featuring Carlinhos Brown “Magdalenha”
- Outkast “Hey Ya”
- The JB’s “Doing It To Death”
- Marvin Gaye “Got To Give It Up”
- Damien Marley “Welcome To Jamrock”
- Stevie Wonder “I Was Made To Love Her”
- Junkyard Band “Sardines”
- Santo & Johnny “Sleepwalk”
There’s too many to name!
What kind of music do you DJ when you’re not at a wedding?
Multiple genres and eras including, but not limited to, Afro-Latin (Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Cumbia,etc.), Brazilian (Samba, Bossa-Nova, Musica Baiana, MPB,etc.), Jamaican & Carribbean (Reggae, Dancehall, Dub, Zouk,etc.), African (Afro-Beat, Soukous, Hi-Life,etc.), Soul, Funk, Pop, Disco & Boogie, with live percussion added.
What is your philosophy on weddings?
A wedding is a celebration of life-long love & devotion, of family, and of friendship. I am always honored that I’ve been chosen to be a part of such a momentous occasion in a couple’s life together. Practically speaking, a wedding is highly detail-oriented affair with a bunch of moving pieces that all must move in concert with one another, and in accordance with a time-sensitive program. As a part of the team of professionals who have been selected to plan and realize this event, I fully involve myself in and dedicate myself to seeing that the entire process is as smooth, as joyous, and as beautiful as it can possibly be. On a personal note, I am grateful for and celebrate the bonds of love & marriage every day as a happy husband and father, and as the son of still-happily-married high school sweethearts.
What size wedding do you prefer to DJ?
I appreciate and give the same energy and attention to any size wedding.
What makes you different from your competition?
First, this is what I love, this is what I’m passionate about, and this is what I do. With decades of experience to build upon, I continue to learn, to develop, and to refine my ability to express myself, to bring musical joy to people’s lives, and to deliver impeccable professional service through the art and the craft of DJing. As a music lover and a bonafide people-person, I take a highly individualized approach to each and every event that I work, and I do so with a sense of freshness and excitement. With an acute awareness of the big picture, I am attentive to each minute detail, projecting positive energy, rhythm and flow all the while. Being fluent and proficient in most all musical genres, styles and eras, I am able to fashion a distinct musical montage in order to bring a distinctive touch, feeling, and vibe to each affair, in accordance with the respective client’s tastes and desires.
What do you do to motivate the crowd if no one is dancing?
Knowing when and how to get people moving and grooving is an art in and of itself, one that requires great sensitivity, intuition, and confidence. I read the room, read people’s body language and energy, and take a fluid approach to getting people moving, turning on a dime with my musical selections if need be. Playing the right songs, parts of songs, in the right order, with the right transitions, while projecting the right energy is no easy task. A DJ needs to be receptive and responsive to each new situation, each and every time.
What training have you received?
My training began by studying the early pioneers, such as Grand Master Flash, and by listening intently to Frank Ski & Larry Gee every week for years. DJ Shortkut of the Beat Junkies lived in my neighborhood, and I was one of the many kids who danced in the hallway outside his bedroom while peering in at him, totally mesmerized by his skills and sounds. Fast forward, and with many years of parties, club gigs, private engagements, and professional experience under my belt, I went to sound engineering school and learned the art of live sound reinforcement and music production. As a multi-instrumentalist, I have studied music at various institutions and with a variety of incredible teachers & mentors in various countries and cities. My teachers include such luminaries as Bernard Purdie (‘The Hitmaker’ and the world’s most recorded drummer) and Calvin Jones (long-time Ray Charles arranger).
What problems have you encountered at a wedding and how have you solved it?
Whenever problems and/or technical glitches arise, I calmly yet diligently handle them and then move on. Having the kind of specialized knowledge and preparedness that can only come from years of experience, I’ll use whatever combination of technical expertise and interpersonal skill is required to take care of business and get on with the show.
Preferred DJ gear manufacturers:
Technics, Ortofon, Pioneer and Beyerdynamic.
Favorite record labels:
Discos Fuentes, Hi Records, Odeon, Analog Africa, Honest Jon’s, Ahhhh too many to list!
Preferred clothing labels:
I’m a sucker for good quality vintage clothing, such as the Italian-made three piece pinstriped suit pictured. Jose Botta Shoes for dancing.
Favorite DC nightspots:
Bossa Bistro & Lounge, Zeba Bar, Habana Village, and Tropicalia, among others.
Favorite live show(s) (strictly as a member of the audience):
Olodum at Pelourinho Square in Salvador Bahia, Brazil; Zedashe at Pheasant’s Tears Winery in Sighnaghi, Republic of Georgia; Bobby Ward Trio at Maceo’s in Baltimore, Md., and many, many more. . .
Taqueria Y Rotiseria El Rey, Rumba Cafe, Ocopa, Pho 14, really I’ve got a ton of ’em!
“I can’t hear myself think in here!” Favorite spot for a quiet cocktail:
The reading room at Petworth Citizen
What are your five desert island discs?
Shoot, only five? Being forced to choose amongst the many galaxies of incredible recorded music in our universe, I’d end up just listening to the nature sounds on the island. Then, of course I’d have to fashion my own instruments out of the available natural materials, and who knows what would happen next.
What’s your dream DJ gig?
At the beach on the Nicoya Penninsula in Costa Rica at the dancehall that my wife and I create.