While performing onstage at last spring’s Quest concert before main performers Brillz and Flosstradamus, Lehigh student disc jockey, Minni Kim, ’16, was overcome with joy. Accustomed to DJ-ing for small groups of friends or Lehigh students at off-campus events, this concert was a very different experience for Kim.
“It was the first time that I could take people from the beginning of the set to the end and show them all the different types of music I like,” Kim said. “It was absolutely awesome.”
Kim, often referred to by his stage name, Minnit, is just one of several DJs that perform on Lehigh’s campus.
He attributes part of his successful DJ career at Lehigh to his work as the large events director for University Productions’ music division. This position was how Kim landed the opening spot for the 2014 Quest performance. He helped organize this event by looking for artists within the electronic sphere, which would allow for a more high-energy vibe, as displayed by Brillz and Flosstradamus.
For this year’s spring Quest concert, University Productions was able to book rapper Big Sean. Kim was directly involved in the planning, and is very excited for the concert. According to Kim, booking a current artist was very important. Kim said it happened to be great timing that Big Sean recently released a new album and advertised college concerts while on tour. Kim will display his DJ-ing talent again this spring by opening for Big Sean.
Kim’s experience with being a DJ expands far beyond his years at Lehigh, however.
“I’ve always been passionate about music,” Kim said. “High school, though, was when I really got into electronic music.”
Kim’s first exposure to the world of professional DJ-ing was at a fitness club in New York City, his hometown. He was hired as the DJ for a Zumba class. Admittedly, the music playlists for the hour-long Zumba sessions were not the type of music he is into, he said. Kim spent some of his time experimenting with DJ-ing and music mixing at warehouses with his high school friends, too.
His style is mainly dance music, but hip-hop, rap, trap and house music are also present in his mixes and playlists. Kim said that his ultimate goal is for people to connect with the music.
“I like it when people actually dance, not when people are just jumping up and down,” he said.
Kim has done a fair share of DJ-ing on campus, as well. Along with three other Lehigh students interested in music and DJ-ing, Kim created an event called Music in Lower Cents.
“We wanted to provide an alternative experience for first years so they could meet each other and feel comfortable doing so,” Kim said.
Kim said that this event was a “flop,” and he is trying to understand why it was so under attended.
“We recognize that people may not think it’s cool to go to Lamberton for an event,” he said. “We want people to feel like they are a part of something and make connections at these events.”
This past fall, Kim was the DJ for Dance Marathon, an event that raised money for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and he will also be DJ-ing in a similar capacity at Relay for Life, which will be held March 27 in Grace Hall.
He also recently began displaying his skills at a reoccurring off-campus event called Flow. This event is promoted mainly through word of mouth. Kim does have some social media sites, but his promotional work primarily takes place on a more personal level.
“Flow is for the community of people who want to listen to music and hang out,” Kim said. “Promoting that environment is why I promote my DJ-ing.”
Kim has also been given several opportunities through the Eckardt Scholars program, an honors program that allows students curriculum flexibility. He has been able to tailor his curriculum at Lehigh to his interests through research and independent studies. His sociology research focuses on hip-hop and basketball and their relationship to racial and class inequalities.
“I’m very interested in studying how music affects people,” Kim said. “I’m privileged enough to be in a program that allows me to do that.”
David Brewster, ’16, another student DJ at Lehigh, also noted his positive experiences both on and off campus. Brewster got into DJ-ing because he loves good music and seeing people happy.
“It’s always cool feeling the audience return the same energy you’re putting out,” Brewster said.
On campus, he has DJ-ed for Rock the Quad, an end-of-the-year celebration hosted by Lehigh’s Residence Hall Association. Brewster said he was given this opportunity in part due to his past connections with University Productions’ special events.
In comparison, another Lehigh DJ, Morgan Mok, ’17, has mainly focused his DJ-ing career on performing at off-campus venues. He started learning about DJing in the 8th grade when he was living in Hong Kong. Once at Lehigh, Mok was hired as the resident DJ for a local hookah lounge and has also DJ-ed weddings. Mok enjoys the way his DJ-ing affects the people around him.
“I think it’s the fact you get to change the way people behave,” Mok said. “I’ve always loved music. Not just listening to it, but producing it.”