Jason Dawson (Dj JD)
Jason got his start DJing as a sophmore in high school when his parents bought him his first DJ mixer for Christmas. As most first things are, it wasn't the best, but it was more than enough to ignite Jason's passion for DJing. That one gift set the stage for what continues to be an amazing career as a DJ, teacher and entrepreneur.
Jason always had a love for music, signing in church youth choirs and taking piano, clarinet and baritone saxophone lessons. An early accomplishment thats till stands in his mind today was singing a solo in 5th grade choir. His love for singing only grew from there as Jason entered high school, singing in Ledyard High schools top choirs, traveling around the pond to England and France, singing at Carnegie Hall and winning many festivals and awards including the Berklee High school Jazz Festival.
It was that visit to Berklee that started the next leg of Jason's journey in music when he realized there was a program that joined his love for music with his passion for music technology. That program was Music Production and Engineering. When Jason started at Berklee in 2002, DJing was still at the very top of his mind and he looked for ways to continue his craft. If you've attended college, you've probably been to a student activities fair where you can sign up to be a part of student run organizations and events that spark your interest. Jason was especially eager to join the turntablist club which was listed in all of the brochures. But when he walked through the fair he learned that the club was not active and had nobody to lead it. That's when Jason's entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and he quickly reformed the club, which, within two months of coming together was the opening act for the DJ legend, Grandmaster Flash.
Part of reforming the turntablist club involved finding a suitable faculty advisor. This lead Jason to reach out to Stephen Webber, author of the first instructional book on DJing and scratching, "Turntable Technique: Art of the DJ." Unknown to Jason at the time, but Stephen Webber was developing the first formal DJing class at a music college. When that class began in 2003, Jason was the natural choice for assisting in the class which was featured by Al Roker on the Today Show and many other media outlets. When Jason graduated from Berklee in 2005 he immediately got involved in teaching a condensed version of the Turntable Technique class for Berklee's 5-week summer program, something Jason has taught every summer since.
In 2o13 Jason took over the DJing curriculum at Berklee where he now teaches one day a week, passing on his years of professional DJ knowledge to young musicians who are hungry to learn and find their path in the ever changing world of music. Jason has added to the original curriculum of Turntable Technique and Turntable Ensemble with the additions of Digital DJing Technique, DJ Mixing Techniques and DJ Scratch Skills. In 2014 Jason's Turntable Ensemble had the honor of playing at the Kennedy Center for the One Mic Hip Hop Culture celebration.
Some people say those who can't do, teach, but Jason's work has clearly proven that wrong. Starting in 2006, going under the name Dj JD for the first time, Jason broke into the club DJing world, playing weekly at clubs in Boston like The Roxy and Embassy while also perfecting his production and remixing skills. The event that lead to Jason finally locking down his DJ name was the release of his first remix record in 2006 called Party Tracks on AV8 Records, followed up by Party Tracks 2 in 2007. Remixes on both records were received very well in the DJ community, and, while vinyl sales were dwindling at the time, digital distribution was very strong, propelling JD's music across the globe. That fact eventually lead to DJ JD's remixes and mashups being played on radio and at club and festivals by DJ's like David Guetta!
It was that notoriety along with a great demo that landed DJ JD the residency of a lifetime at Shrine Nightclub, owned by Big Night Entertainment Group (BNEG), inside Foxwoods in 2008. Jason remembers opening night at Shrine as a true highlight of his career when he got to open for someone who truly inspired him, the most creative DJ of a generation, Dj AM. One of Jason's greatest accomplishments at Shrine has been his part in the group effort to make I Love Tuesdays the industry party to beat, being recognized as a finalist for Promo, Party or Event of the Year at the Nightclub & Bar Awards. Shrine has also been ranked in the top 25 clubs in the country and won best nightclub in CT many time.
Over the years Jason has played alongside the best talent in the game, including: Tiesto, Hardwell, Diplo, Rick Ross, LMFAO, The Chainsmoker, Kaskade, Avicii, Steve Aoki, Jazzy Jeff, Dj AM, DJ Riz, DJ Scene, Lil Jon, R3hab, Alesso, Afrojack, Yellow Claw, Henry Fong, Laidback Luke, Disco Fries, Tommy Trash, Benni Benassi, Martin Solveig, Chuckie, Audien, Adventure Club, Nicky Romero, Arty, Dada Life, DJ Mustard, Jump Smokers, Clinton Sparks, Dru Hill, Sisqo, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Jazzy Joyce, Dannic, 3lau, Pauly D & Nelly.
Jason's skill and knowledge quickly propelled him from just resident DJ to Music Director for Big Night Entertainment Group (BNEG) which now owns 12 venues and counting between Boston and CT. BNEG venues consistently rank among the highest in both customer and employee satisfaction, earning numerous awards.
With all of this going on in the background, Jason also built a leading wedding and event entertainment & lighting company, founded in 2007, which has won numerous customer satisfaction awards from The Knot and Wedding Wire. Utilizing his club mixing style, Jason weaves in couples favorite tracks with dance floor favorites with a finesse rarely seen at a wedding. That's why Jason is recommended over and over again by both clients and industry insiders, because nobody does it like Dawson Entertainment!