DJ Wheels, a talented DJ and music enthusiast who attends the Elmwood Adult Learning Center, recently had the chance to perform at the single release party for blind singer and disability rights activist, Lachi. The event, held at Hudson Yards, was a celebration of disability culture, music, and art, and was centered around Lachi’s new single “Black Girl Cornrows.”
Camila Kann, a former Theater Specialist at ADAPT Community Network and current Talent Manager at C Talent/Whalar, represents Lachi and played a crucial role in connecting DJ Wheels with her.
“I started working as a part of Lachi’s management team in February 2022 and primarily support her with brand partnerships, modeling gigs, and film/TV casting opportunities,” Kann said. “Lachi always wants to support and elevate talented Disabled artists, and as soon as she mentioned she was looking for a local DJ for the event, DJ Wheels immediately came to mind as I have worked with him in the past for some events at ADAPT.”
Kann stated, “I sent over DJ Wheels’ DJ set for Lachi to listen to and she loved his mixes and grooves, so she asked me to connect him with her team to discuss booking him for the event.”
Lachi is the founder and president of Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities (RAMPD), which works to improve inclusion and accessibility in the music industry for artists with disabilities. She is also a Board Governor and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Ambassador for the GRAMMYs.
“She was awesome, very talented,” DJ Wheels said. “She’s easy to work with, I hope to do more gigs for her in the future. It was a great night.
The theme of “Black Girl Cornrows,” Lachi’s single, is about the empowering act of self-description and self-expression. “The intention is to make self-description as commonplace an identifier as the pronoun,” Kann explained.
DJ Wheels, whose real name is Michael, has been supported by ADAPT for about 12 years, but his DJ experience extends beyond that. Before his time at ADAPT, Michael was introduced to DJing by a friend and staff member at his former residence, Tommy.
“I was just messing around on my iPad with a DJ app, and my friend Tommy, he showed me how it works,” Michael said. “He’s in the DJ business.”
Eventually, as his passion became more serious, he bought DJ equipment and began to work with ADAPT Music Specialist Jesse Kral on recording projects. Jesse also acted as a liaison between Michael and Lachi’s event production team, fielding communications and ensuring the technical aspects of DJ Wheels’ set went smoothly.
Overall, the single release party was a huge success, thanks in part to the hard work and talent of DJ Wheels. Keep an eye out for his future work — maybe one day you’ll hear him on the radio!