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Standing amongst the world’s greatest DJs, Starting From Scratch is Canada’s gold standard. He is one of one, a cultural pillar for millions of music fans across the world with an influence that cannot be denied. Revered as one of the top 100 most powerful people in music, Scratch has anchored Canada’s largest urban radio station (Flow 93.5FM) since its inception 11 years ago and continues to push the creative envelop, inspiring a generation of DJs following in his footsteps. Arguably the most well known DJ to ever come out of Canada, Scratch is far from all flash. With a tireless work ethic, fearless creativity and a scholar-like musical IQ, Scratch’s skills are legendary. From touring with names like Russell Peters, George Lopez, Usher and Keshia Chante to spinning five, count’em five mixes a day for Flow 93.5FM to winning countless awards, DJ Starting From Scratch has taken what was once a hobby to heights few DJs achieve.
Originally from Montreal, Scratch moved to Toronto during high school where he was first introduced to the art of DJing. Scratch explored this new world alongside childhood friends like Director X and Russell Peters, the latter of which was DJing himself at the time. After years of building his skillset, he caught his first break at 18 as a fill in DJ at a Naughty By Nature show in Toronto. Coming from relative obscurity, Scratch campaigned for a spot when the scheduled DJ didn’t show. He impressed the crowd and immediately received more job offers.
By the time Flow 93.5 came knocking, Scratch was an established nightclub DJ, often spinning five nights a week.
“I was very ignorant to it,” admits Scratch, who originally quit the same day as he auditioned. “I didn’t like the feel of it. I didn’t want to be under chains, but Farley Flex talked me into it and looking back, that’s when I realized DJing could be my actual career. You can only survive in the clubs alone for so long.”
Fast forward 11 years and DJ Starting From Scratch is Flow 93.5’s flagship DJ, appearing on billboards and spinning 5 times a day (7am, 8am, 9 am, 12pm & 5pm).
Coming from a family of musical minds (his father a singer, mother working for Warner Brothers and his step dad a drummer), DJing was a natural choice in hindsight. But unlike some DJs, Scratch has always been more interested in moving crowds with his sets than with his voice. His hesitancy to be in the spotlight is an ironic quality for a DJ of his caliber and an insecurity that was tested in 2008 when Usher invited him on tour.
“I met him while DJ’ing Director X’s wedding,” reveals Scratch. “He invited me on tour and the first day of rehearsals told me he wanted me to be a part of the show, grab the mic, hype the crowd & play a set of my own with all eyes on me.”
Scratch wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but took the challenge and after a few bumpy shows, found his groove and finished the tour strong. Scratch calls this experience his hardest, yet most gratifying moment as a DJ.
By this time, he’d been touring with Russell Peters comedy show for three years (which he continues to this day) and performed in front of stadium size crowds. Scratch also would tour with Keshia Chante and later George Lopez/Carlos Santana further breaking barriers and exposing his incredible musical sensibilities to the masses.
Adding to his already stellar resume, Scratch also worked with artists Kanye West, John Legend & Kardinal Offishall and received gold and platinum plaques for his creative input. With another avenue for his creative instincts to flourish, Scratch became well renowned on both sides of the border as a gatekeeper, influencer and authority on music and cool.
“I’m not a fan of the spotlight, which is weird because what I do puts me in the spotlight,” admits Scratch. “I like to focus on what I do best: DJing. I’m not Khaled, I’m not Puffy, I’m Scratch and it’s the musical creativity of what I do, all the ranges, all the stages, from comedians to Summer Jam’s to radio to the clubs, that makes my name hold weight. If it involves music, I got you.”