Following the announcement of the most pivotal gig of his career, Lucy Tessier caught up with Hull’s very own DJ Steve Disco Newsome ahead of his warmup slot for the world-renowned American DJ and producer David Morales. Having been a DJ for more than 30 years, Newsome is transforming the perceptions of full-time work in the arts industry, proving that with enough drive and passion success will surely follow.
Making a statement online has never been more relevant in today’s world and with the new normality of live streams as a source of entertainment, creatives have entered a new dimension in securing a following and playing to a live audience. Taking the Twitch universe by storm, DJ Steve Disco Newsome is certainly using this COVID-age digital advancement to his advantage. Newsome has had quite the career, flitting from a graphic design profession to now holding his head high as a full-time DJ and working seven days a week from the break of dawn to the end of the night. Clearly, Rishi Sunak and his ‘retrain, reskill, reboot’ nonsense has no leg to stand on when it comes to Newsome’s case. To say the professional DJ has worked tirelessly to earn the vocation that he truly deserves is an understatement – he is an inspiration to all in the arts industry searching for light during this turbulent time.
“Well, I started in 89…and then I think I turned professional in 96 when I actually went and said ‘I’m going to be a DJ professionally’,” Newsome begins as he retells the story of how he began a career that would be deemed a life-long dream for some, “the recession happened and I started turning my career into graphic design and then when COVID happened, I flipped it back on its head!” What began as a method of staying close to his family and friends during isolation, is now Newsome’s claim to local fame as he now has over three thousand followers on Twitch and has built up his own fanbase which he calls ‘The Disco Squad’. “I sometimes feel like I’m just background music to a chat room,” says Newsome as he underlines the challenges that online streaming can sometimes pose, “but with Twitch it’s a community vibe.” An American video live-streaming service, Twitch’s interactive elements and ability to form connections with people on a global scale has secured many creatives like Newsome with a devoted following and platform to showcase their art. In Newsome’s case, his following increased gradually with every stream and it was shortly after that his talent was noticed: “Suddenly I had a thousand followers! Then Paul Brisk – he’s a massive DJ he’s even moved to Australia now – he asked me to be part of the team and that propelled me further.”
“The DJ’s on Twitch are a different breed,” Newsome explains, “and they all know the struggle and how much hard works goes into it, so all the DJ’s help each other out.” Queue The Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’! By promoting each other and creating showcases together, each taking turns in slots, Newsome has enabled himself to DJ worldwide and all from the comfort of his converted loft office. So, how did the opportunity to play alongside his biggest DJ inspiration, David Morales, arise?
Whilst some wait a lifetime to just meet their idols, let alone perform beside them, encountering Morales was an unexpected affair for Newsome one Friday afternoon, as his DJ hero listened in to the stream. “I was like, ‘Hiya David Morales, welcome to the stream’ as you would,” laughs Newsome casually, “….and about two hours later I got on the microphone and said, ‘I can’t believe Dave was here,’ and he popped on the chat and said, ‘I’m still here – I’ve been listening for three hours!’, and I was more concerned about the fact I’d called him Dave – it’s like calling the Queen ‘Lizzie’.”
From a small interaction with Morales, turned into a supportive working friendship as the two repeatedly stayed in touch and promoted one another through their two channels. The two now talk daily over the phone: “I remember I woke up one morning and I saw my phone ringing and I thought it was council tax – it was Dave Morales ringing me at eight in the morning…we ended up just talking…we now talk every day!”
David Morales is a globally revered American DJ, a Grammy award-winning record producer, a songwriter, and a businessman. He has produced and remixed over 500 records for an all-star roster of multi-platinum artists, including Mariah Carey, U2, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. The global phenomenon and penetration of dance music into Top 40 radio would not have been possible without him
With a tight bond over a shared talent, it was not long before Morales offered Newsome the gig of a lifetime supporting him on his Sunday show, and this Sunday his life may well change for the better. However, it also comes with a coincidental but sentimental meaning in taking place on the 31st of this month as for Newsome, the date marks a year since he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and was fighting for his life in hospital.
A year on, after a year of sobriety too, he could not be in a more remarkable, but well-deserved, position. He is a fighter! “Everything is for an absolute reason,” he firmly believes considering the rollercoaster of the past two years he has ridden through, “everyone’s got a right to moan – everyone’s got a God-given right to moan – but moaning gets you nowhere.” Steve celebrates the power of positivity throughout his career and the influence it can have on achieving success especially within the arts industry. “Success doesn’t come easy…everyone thinks the life of a DJ is great and sometimes it’s not, it’s tiring, it’s lonely…but who knows what tomorrow may bring,” he discusses as he challenges the beliefs of those that may deem his profession as unfeasible – Steve could not have proved more people wrong.
“Even when I was a kid, I would cut tapes up and make mixes using different bits of records to make it sound different,” he describes as he talks of the impact his childhood had on his new career, “from a very early age I discovered I could record two sounds into one cassette using the left speaker and the right speaker so that I could mix it on the cassette and then record it back from the stereo to a mono to make a mix.” It was only until Newsome’s uncle, the owner of a local pub, provided him with his first opportunity as a DJ in training. After watching local DJs spin mixtapes in the establishment, his passion and interest for the vocation were ignited and he began from the age of sixteen, performing in local clubs and bars across his hometown. “The record that made me want to be a DJ was, and I’d seen it on Top of The Pops, ‘Pump Up The Volume’ by M/A/R/R/S,” Steve reminisces as he recalls some of the records that shaped his desire to form his career. Perhaps one of the most frustrating elements of being a DJ is a constant misunderstanding from followers who do not understand the time and effort that is invested into mixing, finding new flavours of music, and delivering flawless sets with all the add-ons. There is no time for messing about and with someone as devoted as Steve, it is no surprise that his hard work is starting to pay off.
Those wishing to watch Steve at his very best warming up for the world-renowned David Morales, can tune in from 3pm this Sunday the 31st on Twitch. It promises to be an incredible set with over six hundred live listeners due to be watching. Averaging at a growth of two hundred to three hundred new followers a week, that number is most definitely going to rocket further after Newsome has delivered his set. For those in the arts industry waiting for a breakthrough with their career, this is a sign to strive for what excites the mind the most and to never stop believing in it. The proof? DJ Steve Disco Newsome.
Tune into the Dj set now: TWITCH.TV/OFFICIALDAVIDMORALES