The DJ With The Golden Ticket: DJ Willy Wonka

by Keley Johnson

DJ Willy Wonka, was born Adolfo Quan in Belize City in the country of Belize. He and his parents immigrated to the states when he was only 4 years old. He grew up in the Bronx, NY, and is now based out of Los Angeles, California. Coming to the states had little impact on his Caribbean upbringing, as he spoke Belizean creole at home, ate traditional meals and listened to the music of his native roots.

Willy started to DJ at age 17. After high school, he attended Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Joining the Syracuse University Caribbean Students Association as their in-house Dj and events manager exposed Willy to the music and culture of many islands other than his own. This had a huge impact on the different types of Caribbean music he would learn to not only play but to love.

DJ Willy credits Buju Banton, Gregory Issac, Barris Hammond, and the great Bob Marley as some of his earliest musical influences. He is also very heavily influenced by his uncle Dj Wiz who was a well known DJ in Belize City. Reggae and its extensions is the kind of music he heard on Sunday mornings growing up and while enjoying time with family and friends. He also loves the sweet sounds of Third World, Sanchez, Andy Palacio, Lord Rhyaburn, Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Aidonia, Black Uhuru, iOctane, Super Cat, Ninja Man, Cocoa Tea, and Barrington Levy.

Part of the Swift Soundz sound crew with DJ Fiasco, Willy is still in love with the music. As a Soca lover and connoisseur, Willy is the creator of the Soca Factory mixtape series. He shared with us that the next volume would be a musical historical journey of Soca music over the years, and sadly, the last Soca Factory release. Don’t be too disappointed though, DJ Willy plans more new musical offerings and his website and SoundCloud give you plenty of music from reggae, dancehall, Caribbean slow jams and even a hip-hop sampler to enjoy. Old and new fans will still find plenty from DJ Willy to love.

Willy and his partners Aaron Rodriguez and Janelle Sampson plan to branch out and share different flavors of Soca, Reggae and Afrobeats with not only the release of new mixtapes but also with his new brand Soca Fetish! Soca Fetish brings the music, food, and culture of Soca to you with parties, pop-ups, clothing, live steel pan music and more! Their next Soca event pop up SOCA Fete-Ish BUS – Monday WEAR Edition is party bus style and will be held on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 10:30 PM – 3:30 AM PDT find out more at www.socafeteish.com

When asked what he thought made Caribbean music so special, without any hesitation, Willy replied, “Caribbean music has a message, it tells a story, it tells about our struggles. There is much more than just wineing up!” he continued “with Soca music, the message is freedom, happiness, and joy!”

DJ Willy was DJ for Arizona, San Diego and Las Vegas Carnivals in 2018. He also was DJ at the Hollywood Carnival in Los Angeles last year. If you missed him, you can find him DJing at on the road with Hollywood Carnival Band Winery Mas this year. You can also find him at the Treehouse Rooftop Brunch N’ Beats in Los Angeles every Saturday as he is their resident DJ. He also frequents the Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival, popularly known as Caribana in Canada the first weekend in August (he was DJ for Venom Mas in 2017) although he is not attending this year. He often heads home to Belize to enjoy the carnival there. He is a very busy man!

Dj Willy left us with some words about what he wanted his followers and fans to know about him. “I am a people person, I love people, I love the music. My purpose is to bring happiness and spread good vibes.”

Through his music, DJ Willy Wonka is fulfilling that. Being at one of his events is an experience that always ends in dancing with joy and abandon.

To keep tabs on this busy DJ visit his website, DJWillyWonka.com where you can check out his music and learn more about this world-famous musical mover and shaker. Pick up some sweet DJ Willy merchandise at https://djwillywonka.bigcartel.com. To find his mixtapes, head over to his SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/djwilly-5 and follow his social media on Instagram at @djwillywonka and on Facebook at @DJWillyWonkaLA and @DJWillyWonka.

Willy was kind, gracious and a pleasure to speak to. Even over the phone, his voice lit up when we talked about the music. Thank you, DJ Willy, for your time today and for spreading joy through Caribbean music where ever you go!

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