DJ DeMarko is finally getting the recognition he was hoping for. Nearing 40, the hunky New York club jock is one of the fastest rising DJs on the gay circuit, and is releasing his first remix album this August on Centaur Records. In conjunction with his CD debut, he will also play at clubs around the country to promote the record.
The road to success was not an easy one for DeMarko. The Montreal native moved to Los Angeles to start a successful career as a model and actor. He made the cover of Playgirl Magazine in 1997 and did several commercials for Nike.
But his dreams of success were shattered after a serious car accident. DeMarko was paralyzed and had to go through extensive rehabilitation to regain his strength. DJ friends Tony Moran and Manny Lehman encouraged him to use music as a way to escape from the pain and frustration.
Now completely recovered, DeMarko says that dance music ultimately gave him the willpower to make it through this difficult time.
The Canadian vividly remembers how he received his big break as a DJ. "After my accident, I started bartending in L.A.," says DeMarko. "One day, the resident DJ did not show up. I got all my stuff from home and I filled in for him that evening. I started to work with Manny then a bit more to learn the ropes and to fill in for him at times."
DeMarko's style can be classified as progressive tribal house with powerhouse diva vocals. "The boys love their divas," he laughs. "I like to give the crowd what they want and make everybody happy. Everybody loves vocals, you need tribal for the rhythm and progressive vibes for energy."
He proudly admits how long he waited for the moment to release his debut CD.
"It was the reason I came to New York," he says. "It is so interesting to me because there are still people that refuse to believe in what I do. But that's O.K. With my persistence, determination, hard work and not giving up, I'm now making a name for myself.
"Spinning is what I love to do. I'm very confident about it. I have always looked for something that makes me happy and with music I've found it. I don't even have to get paid for it."
DeMarko is one of few African-American DJs on the gay circuit. He believes that racism might have been a factor in some of the hurdles he has faced and the relentless criticism he has received from naysayers.
"I have heard stories about club owners who don't want to book me because I'm black," he says. "You know what, if they’re going to judge me by what I look like and not by what I’m playing, then I'm not the one losing. It's their patrons that will miss out on a good time."
DeMarko's CD debut will appear in stores this month. It will be the next installment in Centaur Records' much-celebrated "Global Groove" series. The DJ cannot reveal which tracks will be included on the CD, because all the songs haven’t been legally cleared for inclusion on the album yet.