You may not usually see Wesley “Diplo” Pentz in videos or hear his voice, but he IS the man behind a string of hits.
DJ, producer, musician, sound engineer and once aspiring palaeontologist recently released a new song in June this year called “Don’t Be Afraid.”
This song was with Damian Lazarus and Jungle, based on his house label called Higher Ground.
But recently BBC took to Twitter to make an announcement. It’s officially the end of an era for Diplo’s long-running “Diplo & Friends” show on BBC Radio 1.
US DJ Diplo, the host of Diplo & Friends, is also leaving in September.
The iconic national radio station has announced that it will no longer broadcast the show after a decade on the air. “Diplo & Friends” aired from 11 PM to 1 AM on Saturday nights.
Do not fear!
Diplo is not going anywhere. He may have left the radio scene, but he is not shying away from the music one.
With growing success, the powerhouse producer and DJ show no signs of slowing down.
Just yesterday, on the 5 September, the global phenomenon finished playing for the Burning Man event.
The event is of a group of creatives who took matters into their own hands by planning to continue the tradition in Nevada’s the Black Rock Desert.
The week-long celebration of creativity and radical self-expression is a traditional mix between an art festival and a visionary rave party that started from Aug 29th 03:00 to Sep 6th in a desert.
The jet-setting DJ is scheduled to play in Las Vegas this week in XS Nightclub.
The Rise Of The Stars Reputation
On his full-length solo effort in Florida, however, his sound is closer to sample-based cinematic instrumental hip hop, not unlike the work of DJ Shadow.
It’s only in the past 10 years that the act of DJ-ing started becoming known for their headline acts or becoming superstars. The ability to produce, mix and combine original tunes with old ones is a skill not many can achieve.
Diplo’s rise to fame was never easy.
During an interview with CBS Mornings.
“Man, I was doing all sorts of things. I was a zookeeper, I worked at Subway for a year. I worked as a school teacher, social worker in Philadelphia and it wasn’t until I was 23 when I realised that I just wasn’t good at any other job. Music was the one thing I could do and I decided to just go with my gut and start it from scratch, building up and up. It is never too late to change your luck”– Diplo
Born in Mississippi and raised across the southern United States, Diplo picked up much of the local culture while growing up there.
His reputation and music styles reflect dirty south, crunk and Miami bass, which are now trademark ingredients of the Hollertronix output.
Southern Gothic and other southern literature also influence Pentz’s solo work. Additionally, world music is a strong musical influence on Diplo, especially baile funk, which he encountered whilst travelling in Brazil.
Diplo is also one of two DJs comprising the group Major Lazer. Made up of DJs Diplo and Switch.
It All Began With His Love For Dinosaurs
Thomas ‘Wes’ Pentz grew up in South Florida and worked in a bait shop with his dad with the dream of one day becoming a palaeontologist.
But his proximity to the Miami music scene exposed him to another passion and he enjoyed travelling the world in search of music rather than studying dinosaur bones.
His DJ name Diplo, short for Diplodocus, a long-neck dino, derives from his childhood fascination with prehistoric animals. He has a tattoo of one on his right arm.
It took him some time to find his audience working a bunch of random gigs while he moonlit as a DJ, building a loyal fan base.
Before Diplo became a superstar DJ, he started his label, Mad Decent, and teamed up with Skrillex to form Jack U.
London rapper M.I.A noticed his eclectic taste.
Together and with the help of DJ Switch and M.I.A created a Jamaican dancehall project and cartoon series titled Major Lazer.
The three rose to fame in 2005 with the track ‘Paper Planes’ which earned for them a Grammy nomination and from there Diplo got his hands into some of the most popular hits of the last decade.
In 2010, he even bagged a leading role in the famous Blackberry Torch Ad,
But according to Diplo, all his fame just came down to luck.
In an article with Forbes, Diplo stated:
“I was lucky to even get my first show. When I was in Philadelphia, my first ever gig was in San Francisco. I was so surprised at how I was getting paid just to go somewhere. It was insane. I didn’t even have to buy the tickets. I just showed up at a location, DJ’-ed and made money. So over 20 years I realised that touring gave me a lot of success. The more I travelled, the more shows I did. The more I got published, the more I got into songwriting. From their it all just sort of happened for me. I just fell into these different revenue streams.”Diplo
Diplo is far from extinction
Ever since then, Diplo has blown up the music industry by releasing two studio albums, ten EPs, six compilation albums and more.
Diplo has worked on production and mixtape projects with many other pop artists, from Die Antwoord, Britney Spears, Madonna, Shakira, Beyoncé, No Doubt, Justin Bieber, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Gwen Stafani, Poppy, Trippie Redd and more.
And there is no stopping him.
In 2015, Spotify declared Diplo’s “Lean On” the “global song of the summer.”
Diplo was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013 and 2016 in the category Producer of the Year, Non-Classic. In 2016, he won Grammy Awards for Best Dance/Electronic Album for Skrillex, and Best Dance Recording for “Where Are U Now”.
The now global superstar makes some of the biggest club hits and makes remixes of songs so massive you forget there ever even was an original version.
The producer, songwriter, artist, DJ, entrepreneur, director, innovator, and cultural icon fully embodies what the multi-talented 21st-century artist is all about.
“You just have to DO; you can’t live by the rules of what you’re supposed to do. I think every person is good at something, and you just have to push that forward” – Diplo.