From DJ to Def Jam

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Elie Lamazerolles is a third-year music industry major who just returned from a co-op with Island Def Jam Music Group in New York City. Originally from Brussels, Lamazerolles has been DJing at parties and clubs in Europe since the age of 15. Photo by Brooks Canaday. 

Elie Lamaze­rolles, AMD’15, has music in his blood. Back in his home country of Bel­gium, his grand­fa­ther was a jazz and blues radio host, a music lover with more than 500 records in his collection.

“As a child, I would go to my grand­par­ents’ and just listen to vinyl’s,” recalled Lamaze­rolles. “Jazz is a great foun­da­tion and start in music.”

At 13, he decided to invest in turnta­bles and exper­i­ment with DJing. Within two years, he had honed his skills so well that he was playing at par­ties and clubs every weekend.

Lamaze­rolles has con­tinued to pursue this pas­sion at North­eastern, where he is cur­rently a third-year music industry major with a con­cen­tra­tion in music recording. He is also a Husky Ambas­sador, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for the Council for Uni­ver­sity Pro­grams, and host of a two-hour long DJ set on WRBB radio, a non­profit, free-form sta­tion run by students.

Last semester, he worked in the Artist and Reper­toire depart­ment at Island Def Jam Music Group, part of the Uni­versal Music Group, in New York City. The Island Def Jam Music Group was formed in 1999, when UMG merged Island Records and Def Jam Recordings.

He had two pri­mary jobs. The first was con­ducting research and combing through sales and air­play sta­tis­tics in a score of coun­tries. The second was working under Island Records Pres­i­dent David Massey to help his assis­tant with a variety of tasks for the record head. These respon­si­bil­i­ties granted him an inside look into the divi­sion respon­sible for talent scouting and over­seeing the devel­op­ment of recording artists.

“Working as a DJ across Europe for eight years has taught me about the per­for­mance side of the industry, but this co-op exposed me to a whole other side that I wasn’t aware of,” he said. “It really inspired me.”

Lamaze­rolles got prac­tical expe­ri­ence in the music industry through working as a DJ and his pro­gram at North­eastern was instru­mental to his under­standing of the busi­ness side of the industry. In his first year at North­eastern, he took classes in which he learned the basics of how the music industry func­tions. Those courses pre­pared him well for his co-op at Island Def Jam.

“When I started at the depart­ment, there was a lot that I already knew and under­stood, which allowed me to dive into my work as quickly as pos­sible,” he explained.

Becoming immersed in the job so quickly, he said, allowed him to get the most out of the expe­ri­ence, which also solid­i­fied his desire to work on the A&R side of the music industry after graduation.

Lamaze­rolles cred­ited his North­eastern class­room expe­ri­ences for teaching him about sub­jects that he encoun­tered first­hand on co-op. “At my co-op, I was able to apply these skills and con­tinue to build my knowl­edge through expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion,” he said.

Written by Jordana Torres

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This article was originally posted on Northeastern News. Read it here.