DJ Sean Mac has become more than just a household name over the past few years: the energetic DJ has managed to break barriers with his sheer show stamina, hustle, and self-promotion, which has cemented a place for himself in the fickle world of DJs, no matter what the haters may say.
Sean Mac is a living, breathing example of the mantra “hard work pays off.” In an age where overnight prosperity seems more apparent than it has ever been, we tend to set our eyes on the “industry plants” and young Internet stars and forget about those who finally find success after years and years of work. Mac belongs in the latter category; he didn’t wait for handouts or get lucky. Although he has attained international recognition during the turn of this decade, the Chicago-based DJ made a name for himself due to having passion, perseverance, and a risk-taking mentality.
We caught up with Sean to learn about his recipe to success, undivided passion for music and his focus on his transformative process rather than the fruits of success.
VOYD: You're always bouncing back and forth between destinations, so when do you ever sleep?
Sean: Man, that’s funny, to be honest, I sleep maybe once every couple days lol... my schedule, gigs & travel is out of control (a blessing), but it’s tough keeping balance. I have a drive like a racehorse and Porsche 911 engine combined. But to be honest? I get about 3hrs sleep per day.
Source: Instagram @sean_mac_
VOYD: I remember you used to hustle different; you used to be the DJ of the streets, now everyone seems to know your name. Your self-promo is top notch, but it looks like you went to another level. What made you make that shift?
Sean: I’m happy you noticed that... coming up as a street DJ you get comfortable doing what you’re doing, but at the same time you’ll become complacent & won’t even notice your not GROWING. That’s something I took notice very quickly. I wanted more... but I knew great sacrifices would have to be made. So I tore down EVERYTHING and built a NEW Sean Mac... I took off the “DJ” in front of my name if you notice for a couple of reasons. 1: I was raised on house music, and a lot of house DJ never used “Dj” before there name. Terry Hunter, Andre Hatchett, Frankie knuckles, Pharris Thomas, etc. so that inspired me. 2: I look at myself as an artist & a brand, the DJ title always made me feel like I was limiting that just a little so when I was rebranding myself I think it was the perfect time to change that. Not saying I’m not a DJ but now the name stands alone & much stronger. (Small things like that matter to me) lol
VOYD: Is there any life lesson that you learned from the Chicago hustle and through your years of DJing?
Sean: Oh man did I... Chicago has a CEILING when it comes to whatever you're doing. You MUST make your brand so valuable and reliable that it’s undeniable. You have to watch the people your running with as well; it really can damage your momentum & credibility out here in the streets. Chicago is BLUE-collar so diversifying your BRAND is the key to survival out here or you’ll be at a standstill. Understanding (open format) music style changed my LIFE. Finally, the most critical KEY I’ve learned from the Chicago hustle is TRAVEL. I took time to reach out to many cities and set up gigs to prove to them I can ROCK. I even would pay for my flights, room & would do the gig for FREE to show them I was 1 of the best. After doing that for a year or so (lol) I gained the TRUST from these cities, and now I'm a resident DJ in 5-7 other cities & 3 countries outside of Chicago. The Chi hustle has taught me a LOT of survival skills, and I’m pleased about that because it opens me up as a brand and musically helped me GROW my artistry.
VOYD: We live in an age where things move very quickly. How do you overcome challenges and how do you keep up with the times?
Sean: This is VERY true... when I was coming up it took a lot to get recognition, gigs or even respect as a DJ in Chicago. For the first two years, they didn’t even spell my name right lol; some DJs didn’t want to support you or see you shine either. It’s so different today because it’s so easy now to pick up some equipment (not five heavy record cases & turntables lol) but just a laptop and a controller & say “YO... I’m here” Not that I have anything against new DJs (Because hating on other DJs was never my style) but it is much easier today then it was in the late 90’s. Keeping up with the times was the natural part, I grew up in the era when hip-hop was getting big and still transitioning. On top of the fact that I’m a music lover, in general, it’s not too difficult (speaking for myself ) to stay current. I love turntables but I also respect CDJ’s, I love Prince, Jay-Z, Kanye, the Isley Brothers, etc. I also appreciate Lil Uzi, Migos, Drake, Moneybagg Yo, so for me, it was pretty effortless to stay up to date.
VOYD: Tell us about your latest work and what can we expect from The Mac Show?
Sean: The very 1st Sean Mac produced single. (quiet as kept I’m working on some things right now with that) Musically right now that’s the next level for me; Radio was a big step in a NEW direction so that in itself is still new and I’m still learning the ins and outs of the radio game. Going to be getting back into Street where & doing some collaborations with fashion pretty soon. Got some new contracts / new deals that I can’t mention right now that are about to be a game changer as well. And to be honest with you, just constant elevation in all aspects, keeping my brand CLEAN and maintaining a positive mindset towards today’s issues & the challenging stigma Chicago carries. Keeping GOD 1st is vital... everything else falls in place. Welcome to the Mac show.