DJ Irie on Irie Weekend and Loving the Miami Heat: "No City Is More Dedicated Than Miami"
Photo by Jeremiah Lazaro
DJ Irie (or Ian Grocher, as he's known to his family back in St. Croix, Virgin Islands) is possibly the hardest working man in the Miami music biz.
Rarely seen anywhere but behind the decks, he has been the official DJ to the Miami Heat for 13 years. Off season, he can be seen spinning at famous friends' parties, from bashes for Robert Downey Jr. to clubby throwdowns with Jamie Foxx. Honestly, the man's iPhone contact book is essentially the invite list for the MTV Movie Awards.
Looking to share the bounty of his success, he helms the Irie Foundation, which seeks to empower South Florida's at-risk youth through mentorship programs, cultural experiences, and scholarship opportunities.
To promote his cause, Irie hosts an annual three-day celebration featuring a celebrity golf tournament, a concert at LIV nightclub, an afternoon of bowling at Lucky Strike, and a closing party at Mokai.
But before he and his A-list friends take over Miami for Irie Weekend 2013, we at New Times caught up with Mr. Grocher to discuss philanthropy and his undying faith in our Miami Heat.
Crossfade: I know you just got back from Texas. How was it?
DJ Irie: San Antoino is a great town. I love it there. The feelings won't be mutual till the finals are over.
Well, everyone hates the Miami Heat. Always.
Not true! [Laughs] Well, maybe. I think a passion for your team is a passion for your team.
How did you get involved with the Heat organization?
About thirteen years ago, when they moved from the Miami Arena to the American Airlines Arena, the marketing department reached out to me. The wanted their in-house entertainment to match the big, new facility they had. They figured Miami had such a nightlife culture and an official DJ might resonate with the fans. At the time, I was DJing all the parties and clubs on South Beach. So really, I wasn't that into it. I didn't think it was the right move for me. They were pretty insistent. I knew no one had done it before, so I couldn't really live up or fall behind anyone. I could make it my own. And two rings later, here I am.
Two rings and tickets to every game. Pretty sweet gig.
I never forget that. I am beyond blessed.
You were kind of the first to do what you do, right?
Yeah, the first full-time DJ for any professional sports team in the country.
No one could ever call you an imitator.
I feel like I have done that a lot in my career. Meeting new challenges with no one to really look to for guidance. It's hard, but to conquer something on your own is a pretty amazing feeling.
Speaking of being blessed, it's great how you spread the wealth with things like the Irie Foundation. How did it come about?
I had great philanthropic mentors like Alonzo Mourning, Jason Taylor, and Pat Riley. I worked very closely with them on their initiatives and watched how involved they are. Not only that, but you get to see the effects first-hand. We might have bigger resources than most people, but everyone can do something to help out. No matter how big the footprint, it's still a footprint.