Q&A: Shawn Prez Talks Giving DJs Their Just Due At The Global Spin Awards

Music

By: / September 10, 2014

A DJ can make all the difference between a dope party and a party dripping in whack sauce. But for the spin masters who continue to keep the hits coming while still breaking new artists, the third annual Global Spin Awards offer their time to shine.

This year’s award show will be preceded by a weekend full of events including a DJ battle, along with a DJ bootcamp sponsored by the Scratch Academy to offer tips and techniques for up and coming DJs. A honoree brunch for Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex and DJ Premiere—this year’s legendary and lifetime achievement recipients—will also take place along with a celebratory bash to cap off the weekend.

Before the awards show airs Nov. 18 on Revolt TV, VIBE caught up with founder Shawn Prez, a man with more than 20 years of music industry experience, working at Atlantic Records and alongside longtime friend and business partner Sean Combs. Here, he discusses why broadcasting the Global Spin Awards on television is a boss move and why it’s time DJs received proper credit.—Shenequa A. Golding

VIBE: The Global Spin Awards will now be aired on Revolt. Why the move?
Shawn Prez: Moving to Revolt is a natural progression. Revolt’s mission statement is s the same as ours. They want to reach millennials. They want to reach music lovers. They want to reach fans that are not necessarily conforming to the industry status quo but are individuals and that’s what The Global Spin Awards are all about. We recognize the DJs. They’ve always been there. They’re the backbone of the music. But they’ve never been recognized. They’ve never been put in a position where the industry stands up and takes notice of them formally. So I feel like a marriage between the Global Spin Awards and Revolt was natural and was just something that fits.

DJing is one of the pillars of hip-hop yet this is only the third annual Global Spin Awards. Why did it take so long to get the award show off the ground?
That’s a great question. Nobody has ever asked me that. We still continue to face hardships and face obstacles. For one, the DJs themselves, we had to make this credible for them. As a friend of the DJ community for many years I understand how they think we had to come up with a very fair, unbiased and credible award show that the DJs themselves could not question. So first and foremost the DJs had to respect it. Another obstacle is the industry is suffering. Record labels aren’t making the money they used to. They’re not able to sponsor We’re finding ways to fund this ourselves because we can’t rely on the back end of record labels. Years ago, they would’ve been the first ones to jump on an event like this.

How do DJs get nominated and win?
I didn’t want to handpick anybody because then it becomes ‘well, if you’re Shawn’s friend, you win.’ We created the bureau and that’s comprised of bloggers, party promoters record producers, executives and promoters; people who are familiar and in touch with the DJ community. We send them out categories with no names attached and they fill in who they think it should be and whoever comes back with the most votes win. We have bureau members all over the country.

Lastly, what’s your ultimate goal for the award show? Shawn Prez: We’re starting from the bottom and working our way up. I’m a perfectionist through and through. So there will be no sneakers. There will be a red carpet. You’re going to have to come there dressed. It’s upscale. I want it to look and feel like the Grammys.