DJ of the Month! DJ Renato

Renato Harris has been making a splash in the Cayman music scene for some eight years now and the DJ says he is only getting started.

His baptism into the world of music, as well as his journey to inciting positive vibes at the push of a button, was not a matter of entitlement but one he had to fight tooth and nail for.

“I was always interested in music growing up and would pull things apart, as well as take old speaker parts from people and fix them into miniature sound systems,” he recalls.

Renato jokes that this was a major source of contention between himself and his parents, who were not as enthused about a future in music and considered it a more safe option to focus on school and find a more conventional career path.

“They would sometimes mash up my self-made musical sound systems,” he chuckles, adding that though he was not allowed to go to the late night dances in his neighbourhood, he lived close enough to the sound to be enthralled by what he heard.

“I was always taken up with music and I can remember one clash in particular with a sound called Stone Love in the 80s that increased my fondness for musical selection.”

It was not long after those early experiences that the DJ would find himself having a similar effect on young ears.

“When I left school, one of the first jobs I had was at a hotel, where I was responsible for entertainment. This came naturally, as I was always involved in church growing up and was familiar with MCing, drama and that type of thing,” reveals DJ Renato.

He says shortly after that, he started working at Breezes Super Clubs in Jamaica, which he did for sometime before coming to the Cayman Islands.

Once he arrived in Cayman in 2003, where his father is already well-known and respected chef, Renato took on responsibility for the entertainment at Sammy’s Inn. After Hurricane Ivan and the closure of the popular hangout, the young DJ was back in the wilderness, not knowing what the next move would be.

He started doing some work for Party Surfers, which brought him into contact with Hot 104.1 FM.

“I started hanging around the station until they finally asked me to be a part of the team on a limited basis at first.”

Soon Renato would move on from street promotions to being on air Disc Jockey and personality, creating shows like “The Night Flight,” a show that got its name from a popular sound system that ruled Grand Cayman in the 90s, spearheaded by legendary DJ Dirty Harry; now deceased.

“My father was the only survivor of the five people that were in Harry’s car the night he crashed. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to the man who everyone will tell you was one of the best to do it,” says Renato.

DJ Renato now holds three prime time slots on the station and boasts a litany of loyal listeners and fans.

For youngsters who are interested in the profession, the advice he offers is simple.

“Preparation is the key. Take advice and some telling and do your research. It’s not as simple as it looks.” WH