Working Towards a Dream


Joel Marquez (10), or DJ JoJo, working on music with some of his colleagues. Marquez was interested in the music career when he was in 8th grade.

Justyce Reed

Making beats and spinning tracks isn’t for everyone, but for Joel Marquez (10), AKA DJ JoJo, it’s a piece of cake. Marquez starting learning to DJ when he was in 8th grade and has been drawn to it ever since. With his brother as an inspiration, he started to slowly gain publicity.

“My DJing career started in 8th grade when I had an app on my phone. Then, my brother went off to college, and I started using his equipment because he was a DJ as well.”

On Dec. 6 of 2018, Marquez had the opportunity of a lifetime to go on the radio with other fellow DJs including someone named DJ Lil John.

“[DJ Lil John] owns kids radio stations, and one day he asked me to be on there with him. Now, I’m on there every Tuesday. The first time I went on the radio, I was really nervous.”

Not only is Marquez featured on the radio, but he also performed at a festival called Drip Fest on Dec. 22.

“In the summer of 2018, there was a region fest where all the region DJs and rappers came together, but I didn’t get asked to go. After that, I tried to put out good work for the Drip Fest so I could get asked to go, and I did.”

This career choice comes with its hardships including doubt from both Marquez himself and his peers. Having an older, more grounded role model has certainly helped him get through this.

“My biggest inspiration is probably Lil John. I always tell him what’s going on and he always says ‘Don’t listen to them and just keep working and keep doing what you’re doing because you’re going to get somewhere and they’re not.’ Everyone always asks, ‘Why do you make mixes with his songs? He’s not even a good rapper.’ He tells me to chill out because if I start hating back, things won’t go my way. He always keeps me on track and inspires me to go farther.”

With dreams and wishes as high as Marquez’s, this certainly won’t be the last time you hear his name.

“The most unforgettable memory I’ve had was probably being on the radio for the first time or watching my song hit 50,000 [streams]. Don’t worry about what people think because if they say something bad about you, that’s when you know you’re doing something good.”

Who knows what the future holds. Maybe one day you’ll be cheering at a concert, rooting for an encore from DJ JoJo.