A DJ for all people: Prashant Haley
When Prashant Haley steps in front of the crowd and surveys it, he is not looking for anyone in particular, but rather all of the different people there to see his set.
A junior criminal justice major, Haley is from Stafford, Connecticut, and got his start in the greater Bridgeport and Stamford area. After tearing his ACL during his senior basketball season at Bunnell High School, Haley began his DJing career, first shadowing the local DJ Yogo. Much of his early inspiration came from his grandfather, who played a lot of Columbian parties, consisting of genres like salsa and merengue. He took Haley to many of his events.
“I really wanted to do it, just because of the way that the crowd moved, how he was able to talk on the mic, and it was influencing everybody,” Haley said. “I knew that's something I really want to pursue.”
Haley emphasizes and enjoys the concept of reading a crowd and adapting himself and his music to the group. “I go to the microphone and say ‘Where are my Latinos at?’ ‘Where are my Africans at?’ Where are my Jamaicans?’,” Haley said. “Knowing that, I can play a little five-minute segments dedicated towards these certain groups of people, even though they probably don't even expect me to. That probably makes them feel at home because it's probably the music that they listen to at home.”
Haley is making this inclusion a signature part of his style as he steps out into the greater Boston DJing scene. Haley got his start with events on campus before creating his new local network. This past year he connected with DJ SNAX , the Boston DJ of the Year in 2021. DJ SNAX helped him get in with Dope University, a party group serving Boston’s college scene.
“He’s been a great, eager, and attentive listener. He asks a lot of questions which is imperative to learning,” DJ SNAX said. “I’m glad that he can be humble enough to ask questions to learn more and become better. It will pay off in the long run.”
A major roadblock for his career has been his age, with many clubs unwilling to give a DJ under 21 years old a chance. This hasn’t stopped his ambitions, as he’s frequently set his eyes on campus performances, a place he sees potential for parties and fun. His on-campus gigs led him to open for the campus’ biggest event of 2023, the spring concert with Hot Chelle Rae.
“I didn't even think that would ever come to me like that. That was a bucket list moment I never knew I had,” Haley said. “The band was very nice to me. All of them had no egos involved, they were all laid back. They were actually questioning me asking, because I think one of them did pick up on DJing recently so he was asking me questions about you know, ‘How do I do this?’ ‘How do I transition this song?’ Like tips on how to work the mic better.”
After his education, Haley has aspirations to enter law enforcement. Regardless, he still wants to grow his reputation and schedule, getting in front of countless more people.
“They really expect to hear something different,” Haley said. “I want to make sure that they leave that night feeling good. Feeling like they heard some of their favorite songs that they listen to in their ear buds that everybody else can vibe to at the same time. And not even just like we're making sure they're good, but showing people a new different genre as well, besides the regular top 40 hits.”