As waves of music ebb and flow, we tend to occupy ourselves with the idea that our favorite DJ’s, the gatekeepers of dear old music, hail from our bordering neighborhoods and cities. To this we attribute our unyielding embrace. We are not all too familiar with the small city of Surat, located in Gujarat, India. Nestled only a few miles from the Arabian Sea, on the Tapi River, Bijal was born here. No sooner than he’d reached the age of 1 his parents, middle-class tobacco wholesalers, took a valiant trip to America. Throughout his adolescence he moved from town to town along the Northeast Coast, living, at some instances, in Motel’s. “We had no camera, TV, video or games or anything nice, all money went to my clothes, [and] food,” Bijal recalls. It was then that he was swept by the power of music.
At age 15, “[my cousin] caught me and showed me how to [play] a record…” Within a few months he paraded to Canal Hi-Fi (a sizeable electronics boutique located on Canal St. in Manhattan) and bought his first pair of turntables. Playing 24 hours a day at first, he soon wanted to record some of his handy work. The now self-proclaimed “DJ Bijal” made his first mixtape, entitled “No Doubt Dancing,” when he connected his DJ equipment to his tape deck. He began recording himself DJing and his personality on tape transformed. It was his calling. In 2001, while attending Long Island University in New York City he landed his first weekly gig at Club Exit in NYC. In May 2002 during a Network 40 magazine interview Bijal comments, “I don’t just scratch into every song. I blend vocals and beats and toy with repeating words and playing with the instrumentals…” With trendy mixtapes under his belt he harnessed his cult following. “What I like to do is slowly work some Indian artists in on my own mixtapes and put them alongside hip-hop and R&B heavyweights.” New York’s hip-hop/reggae crowd flocked to his room each and every Friday and Saturday night. With career highlights including honorable mention on MTV as “the next big thing” and numerous features in MTV’s Mixtape Monday, he capitalized on his notoriety. In Fall 2005, The Ave Magazine dubs him “DJ Clue of the Indian urban music market.” Bijal adds, “I feel Indian artists fusing their sound into hip-hop or R&B has the potential to create the next wave of music…”
As his popularity increased he became the first Indian DJ to have his own syndicated urban radio show on AOL Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio simultaneously. In February 2004 Bijal joined forces with well-known mixtape master DJ Kurupt, “The Master Jedi,” to create Team Jedi. Within a few short months Team Jedi was branded by MTV as 2004′s “DJs On the Rise” and the partnership gave birth to Bijal’s first commercial release on vinyl, Sumeet and Jay-Z’s “Agony – DJ Bijal Remix,” which was featured on Jedi Blends Volume 3. From spinning vinyl to being featured on vinyl, he went on to produce the Sumeet featuring Nivla “Ghost – Remix” and Deesha featuring Saj Supreme “Do You Remember – Remix.”
What began as fascination and hobby blossomed into his life’s work. He currently provides wireless content such as voice tones, ring tones, and wallpapers to wireless providers Jamster & Candy Mobile. Consciously bending and shifting to his ever-changing, ever-growing career, he has solidified himself as outstanding DJ Royalty.
- Joi Rogers