On Thanksgiving Day, while multiplatinum recording artist Jason Derulo hit the field for the NFL Turkey Bowl halftime show between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings, Jae Murphy simultaneously hit the turntables in preparation for the pop singer’s big debut. Subtly dressed in a black Colin Kaepernick t-shirt, Murphy brought his signature high-energy style to the stage as over 126 million viewers tuned in from their living rooms around the country.
Raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Murphy always had a passion for music and entertainment, and began building his name as “The Voice” of Howard University, where he would often serve as a host alongside of a number of celebrity guests during his stint at the famed HBCU. Upon graduating he became the host and DJ for the 2012 BET Music Matters tour headlined by Kendrick Lamar, and soon after moved to Los Angeles where a number of opportunities opened up for the SKAM artist, including tours with artists such as French Montana, Problem and Eric Bellinger.
In 2014 Murphy co-wrote and released his first record “You Playin’ (This Could Be Us)” ft. Game, Eric Bellinger and Problem, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artists chart, and also earned writing credits on Eric Bellinger’s record “Viral” from the Cuffing Season album, which debuted No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B Album’s chart.
Over the last couple of years Murphy has joined Derulo on the road as his official DJ, gracing stages around the globe, as well as making appearances at last year’s Forbes Under 30 Music Festival, Good Morning America, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel.
But being a DJ isn’t just about festivals and world tours; it’s a business—and Murphy knows that to stay in the game, you have to play like a boss.
As Jason Derulo’s official DJ you recently had the opportunity to perform at the NFL Turkey Bowl half-time show in front of 126 million viewers. What qualities do you bring to the table that has enabled you to get on stage in front of millions of fans?
Just giving the energy that Jason needs to complete the duration of his performance and knowing how to act and perform on TV without being nervous. I’m the only other person on stage that has a microphone besides Jason, so Jason trusts me not to say any wild stuff with a mic in my hand. Him trusting me and allowing me to be vocally present during the performance, it’s definitely a blessing
Your resume is pretty impressive. You’ve worked with a number of notable artists and toured with various events since leaving college five years ago. How did you go about building your brand as a DJ?
I’ve been building my brand as a DJ since 2009 by exploring my talent, music selection, stage presence and vocal presentation. When you’re able to captivate any audience—whether it’s a room of 30 or a room of 30,000—that is your one moment to sell yourself to that audience and for that audience to remember who you are after you get off that stage. So I’m able to brand myself as someone who is very much animated, charismatic and witty, but also educated on performance.
A lot of times when we’re doing state fairs or festivals or whatever, I’m booked to DJ an entire hour before Jason even comes out. So I’ve been able to brand my talent to the point where I’m a separate entity. I’m not only just Jason Derulo’s DJ, I’m also Jae Murphy. Me being somebody who’s still in his 20s, me being relatable, me being a testimony or a success story, that alone makes my brand so credible and believable. I have a real story, and as people have grown with me over the years, they’ve seen the story unfold.
What advice would you give to an aspiring DJ about building their brand and social media following so that they’re attracting bigger opportunities?
They should definitely try to master their 10,000 hours. 10,000 hours read more