Interview By: Kaitlyn Tarallo
What else is there to accomplish when you’re already an internationally-known recording artist, a business mogul, and a social media mastermind? Between sharing major keys on Snapchat and touring with Queen Bey herself, DJ Khaled managed to add author to his ongoing list of successes after dropping his brand new book – The Keys. We got the chance to chat with DJ Khaled about his keys to success, the importance of staying away from negativity, and a few of his most insightful celebrity friends.
They don’t want you to keep reading, but we suggest you do.
Q: Few people have mastered Snapchat the way that you have. What inspired you to start sharing your major keys to success on the platform?
A: We live in a very digital world now! Especially with the younger generation being on a major platform like Snapchat, I’m able to connect with them more. I want them to know that anything is possible! Never settle; there is always room to grow and aspire to be the best person you can be. Every young person needs to know that. The door has never been open for me to walk in, in my whole career. I was determined and passionate – ripped doors down, took the hinges off, and put the hinges back in their face!
Q: What has working on the book been like for you? What do you hope fans and readers take away from it?
A: I know for a fact, you all will love THE KEYS. I love it, and usually when I love something I feel like the world will love it. Fan luv will definitely get insight on the keys from my perspective. A major key is to serve the people! I want you all to know I take nothing for granted, and I always remember where I’m coming from; that’s what drives my vision.
At the same time, you will get mogul talk from my book from the man himself, JAY Z. Jay Z will let you know in the book, why he rocks with me. You [will also hear from], LA Reid, Puff Daddy, Arianna Huffington… all people who I have so much respect and admiration for. But, you will also hear the story of the people who I came up from in the streets with [during] my childhood, or real good friends of mine.
Q: Is there anything in The Keys that people might not expect to see?
A: Absolutely, NO NEGATIVE TALK! Straight up. We don’t dwell on negative energy. It’s all about moving forward in life. Sometimes you will definitely hit a few bumps in the road – that’s life. But, it’s where you go from there. So, in The Keys it’s all about motivation and giving insight into my life and inspiring others through my story.
Q: Millions of Snapchatters follow along as you highlight personal aspects of your everyday life on social media. Are there other personal stories we can expect to see in the book?
A: When you peel back the layers of DJ Khaled, you see a story more complex than the ten-second Snapchats. It’s the tale of a child of immigrant parents who worked his way up from DJ-ing school dances in Orlando to the top of the Miami music scene. Now, I’m in seven million cell phones. My success didn’t happen overnight. It took time and sweat and some very overworked vocal cords. I feel like it’s the most unbelievable story because I am the definition of “hard work pays off.” I knew when I was a kid this is what I wanted to do, and there’s nothing else that I wanted to do more than this.
Q: Some of the cool features in The Keys include the “Mogul Talk” sidebars, where we’re treated to insights from some of the world’s most well known celebrities. Who do you think is your most insightful celebrity companion?
A: The book will feature “mogul talk” from industry vets like Rick Ross, Puff Daddy, L.A. Reid, Lyor Cohen and more. But, my most insightful celebrity companion – no introduction needed – the man who inspired us all within this industry, HOV – JAY Z. Jay and I have been friends for a long time and have built a relationship throughout the years. As some of you may know, I rock with Roc Nation. We always said we were going to do something together besides making music. So, I said let’s make history together, let’s make big business, and let’s secure the bag together. I consider this partnership…two moguls? It’s powerful! A word used to describe Jay, he is a visionary and he never settles. This is why I have so much respect and admiration for him.
Q: Before you became the master of motivation, where did you go for inspiration and advice?
A: The motivation and inspiration came to me at the age of 12/13. You know, in the garage with a bunch of turntables, a bunch of records, posters of my favorite artist – Biggie, Jay, Tupac, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson – all this beautiful energy around me. My drum machine where I would make beats, my microphone. The biggest blessing in life is LIFE itself! Determined to live it to the fullest!
Q: Something you say quite often is “They Don’t Want You..” What is the significance of this phrase? What does it mean to you?
A: The phrase, “They Don’t Want You to . . .“ refers to the people who doubt your success, who don’t believe in you or your vision. The person who tells you, you can’t have “that”, or that you can’t win! So, we stay away from “They.”
“They” never wanted me to have my own book, but look. . .now I got The Keys to you all! That’s what the phrase, “They Don’t Want You to…” means. STAY AWAY FROM THEY!
Q: As you know, at Barnes & Noble College, our main focus is on our students. Is there a major key you think that tops all the rest? How can it help college students on their journeys to success?
A: Of all the major keys, I think the best of them all is to believe in yourself and never give up on your aspirations in life. You only get one opportunity, make the very best of it. Life may sometimes not be easy – but that’s life! You just have to have faith, love, and people who believe in you and your dream. . .that’s the MAJOR KEY!
Q: You are a busy man with quite a resume, but we have to ask – what’s next? Are there any specific projects you hope to tackle in the future?
A: Thank you! It has been quite a year for me. I mean, from really having a connection with my fans on a new level, to going on tour with BEYONCÉ! I mean. . .what can I do to top that!?! But, I am forever grateful for every opportunity that comes my way, and in any projects that I have in the near future, I just want my fans to feel inspired and to be with me on this journey.
Have you had the chance to read The Keys? Let’s discuss! Share your feedback in the comments below.