When 50 Cent signed Jersey Shore’s Pauly D to the G-Note imprint of his record label, it raised a few eyebrows. Despite the spray-tanned star’s years of DJ experience, most people knew him as the spikey-haired, iron-pumping housemate on MTV's endlessly parodied reality show. But with a spin-off series detailing his DJ trek across America and an album on the horizon, people are beginning to realize there’s more to DJ Pauly D than fist-pumping and “Oh yeaaaahhhh.”
Fuse spoke with the reality TV/EDM star about his just-released (and surprisingly awesome) collabo with Jay Sean, his Vegas residency and working with 50 Cent.
How did “Back to Love” come together? Did you and Jay Sean get together in the studio or work on it over email?
I’ve always been a fan of Jay Sean and we had wanted to work together. I already had the song and I was like, “I need Jay Sean for the vocals.” I knew he would kill it. So we got together in the studio: I produced the beat and he absolutely killed the lyrics. He did such a wonderful job, I’m so happy with it. And I’m really glad the Internet is going nuts over it now.
A lot of hugely popular DJs like Avicii don’t even have an album. What made you decide to deliver a full-length record?
A lot of people don’t know what I spin if they haven’t been to my shows, so I figured I should put it on CD, You know, put a DJ Pauly D party on print. I’m trying to fill this album with a little bit of everything—a little bit of hip hop, a little dance, radio songs—because that’s what I play when I DJ. I don't think there's much else out there like that. I’m taking my time with it, but I’ll be dropping singles here and there as I feel needed. It's all about timing, but I really want to give the world a taste of what I can actually do.
Given that 50 Cent signed you to G-Note, an imprint of his G-Unit label, will 50 be on your album?
Oh yeah, absolutely, I’m going to use a lot of the guys from his label as well. 50’s been so great to me and we’re definitely going to work on some tracks together. We’re still working [the details] out.
What about the delayed second season of The Pauly D Project. Will we see that anytime soon?
I’m not really sure yet. I hope so. I really liked it, it was fun. It was cool to show the world another side of me other than Jersey Shore, so I’d love to do a second season.
Some of the people behind Jersey Shore are working on an EDM reality show. Do you think it’s possible to create EDM stars from a reality show, or is that something you have to do from the ground-up?
There are a lot of amazing DJs all over the world that people don’t know about. I don’t really know exactly what the show is about, but if they’re going around the world trying to find that hidden talent, that could work. They could find some real talented guys who just don’t have recognition yet.
What about you: Do you see yourself as more of a DJ than a reality star?
I’ve been a DJ my whole life, ever since I was 11 years old. I always loved music and I always loved to play music LOUD. When I was young, I just grabbed a cheap little DJ set and some turntables and I was messing around in my house until I landed my first actual party to DJ. I was really nervous, but at the same time, I didn’t want the music to ever stop. The feeling I felt when I was deejaying, I knew it was something I wanted to do. So I was doing local parties and school gigs until I finally got into the club. Then I was deejaying six nights a week in Rhode Island, pretty much just promoting myself and making my own flyers. I always dreamed of making it as a DJ, but it’s just really hard to do that. You need promotion to get your name out there, and [when Jersey Shore came along], I thought, "What better promotion is there than this television show for me?" Of course, it ended up blowing up. So I used that to my advantage—it gave me this big audience to DJ in front of, but it wasn’t easy. I had to prove that I can actually spin and that I’m actually talented. It’s been a good run. I’ve been on tour for a little over three years now just proving to the world what I can do. And landing these major residencies are what proved it.
Speaking of which, you’re starting your residency at Haze Nightclub in Las Vegas this weekend. Is deejaying for Vegas different than playing in other parts of the country?
I don’t really ever prepare a set because I don’t know what the crowd is going to be like. I play to the crowd and Vegas is a party crowd, so you gotta bring it when you DJ in Vegas. You gotta play the party tracks, but I still switch it up and play a little bit of everything because I want them to have a memorable experience. Maybe I’ll start off with a dance track and see how they respond to it. If they’re really into it maybe I’ll play another one, or maybe I’ll tease a little bit of hip hop into the set and see if they’re feeling that. You can tell if they’re not really feeling your music, and then you know to switch it up quickly. I want you to get a little bit of everything when you come to a Pauly D show.
You can catch DJ Pauly D at Haze Nightclub in Las Vegas this Saturday, and listen to his Jay Sean track "Back to Love" below.
What kind of time warp?! '90s (and early 2000s) rock icons Fred Durst, Scott Weiland and Mark McGrath get photobombed by '70s icon Wayne Newton, aka Mr. Las Vegas. This should be all these guys' Christmas cards.