When wellness specialist Latham Thomas’s 11-year-old son DJ Fulano Librizzi was a 5-year-old DJ in training, he made an announcement during a dinner in Miami that proved to be prophetic. “He said when he is 8, he will need a cell phone, ’cause he is going to travel the world making people happy with music,” recalls Thomas. Three years later, the curly-haired prodigy was deejeeing at some of the most exclusive parties, amassing a client roster which includes Gap Kids, Diane Von Furstenberg, the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Morgan Stanley, VH1 Save the Music and The Clinton Foundation.
“He certainly had a vision,” adds Thomas, who signed a 5-year-old DJ Fulano up for DJ lessons at the suggestion of a friend who opened a DJ school. What initially was intended to be a hobby to keep her son occupied became a full-fledge business. “I love deejeeing. I don’t know if it came easy, but it was really just instinct. It’s that kind of thing where you try something for the first time and you’re good at it, but you still need to practice,” explains DJ Fulano. So impressive were his skills that he won a scholarship to study the art of deejeeing the year he started his classes.
Not only did this prodigy have the technical skills to excel as a DJ, his old-school musical references left his instructor speechless. “I was playing the era of music that I like and not a lot of kids my age are into. I was playing Michael Jackson, James Brown, Rick James and Grace Jones,” says DJ Fulano. His love for spinning funk, soul and hip-hop is the result of the heathy diet of A Tribe Called Quest, Fela Kuti, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Roy Ayers he was fed by his mom and father, the visual artist Nemo Librizzi. “I decide what music I play depending on the audience. I play pop for kids and hip-hop, soul and funk for adults,” says DJ Fulano.
“Fulano’s vast knowledge of music, sophisticated rhythmic timing, and uncanny ability to read people supersedes his age in ways that inspire utter wonder,” offers DJ Cassidy, one of the most sought-after DJs in the world. Cassidy became DJ Fulano’s mentor after the young DJ (a 7-year-old at the time) started tweeting his mixes to DJ Cassidy every day before school.
“He did not listen to them for a while, ’cause he thought I was just little kid and still learning. When he finally did listen he was like, ‘Oh crap, he likes the same music as me,’ ” says DJ Fulano. “I started deejeeing when I was 10, and Fulano started when he was 6. He continues to outdo me in every way, and I couldn’t be more proud,” says DJ Cassidy.
“People get really surprised at parties when they see that I’m the DJ. They can’t believe it and they say I’m incredible,” says DJ Fulano. Hobnobbing with celebrities, NBA players and even ex-president Bill Clinton at V.I.P. events doesn’t faze DJ Fulano, who stresses that he spins because he loves making people happy and not for the fame or money.
DJ Fulano can make up to $10,000 dollars a gig. The huge basketball fan does admit to having been excited to meet Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler when he spun at the Nickelodeon Kid Sports Awards in L.A. this past summer.
While summertime allows DJ Fulano more time to work, during the year school is a top priority. “It’s not hard to juggle both. I take both of them seriously,” he reveals. Thomas has strict restrictions on her son’s work schedule. He works after school, weekends, on holidays and during the summer. “He’ll have a full day of school then a gig that last less than three hours. He must always be comfortable at any event he works at. If not, we don’t do it,” says Thomas, who wasn’t hesitant about getting DJ Fulano into the entertainment business. “I see a lot of kids who do not bode well in the industry. If they do not do well, it is usually because the parents are not doing what they should be. They are trying to hang out and party with their kids. They have to be a parent first,” clarifies Thomas.
She makes sure DJ Fulano leads a humble and grounded life. They pray before every performance. “The lessons you share with them, they carry with them.” DJ Cassidy agrees and he points out that DJ Fulano’s “sweetness and warmth are his true triumphs.”—Alexandra Phanor-Faury
Cool List from the Coolest: DJ Fulano
Movies: The Blues Brothers, Home Alone, 42, Ghostbusters
Albums: Illmatic, Get On Up, any Rick James
DJs: me, DJ Cassidy, MOS, DJ D Nice, DJ Reborn and Jam Master Jay
Actors: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd,
Book: Lost hero, The Simpsons comics
Producers: Swizz Beatz, RZA
Magazines: Car magazines
Blogs: Any blog that I’m on 😉
Singers: Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Diana Ross
Bands: The Roots
Rappers: Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Jay Z, Common and 50 cent
Fashion Designer: Lacoste, Polo, Brooks Brothers