An entrepreneur at heart, Samir Thaker always found ways to earn extra spending cash. His journey into the entertainment world started when he was just 18 years old. Sneaking into a club one night with his friends, he was instantly hooked by the scene. “I couldn’t believe that the DJ was getting paid to basically party,” Samir says. His newfound side hustle quickly turned into passion.
From that night, Samir began to learn to ropes of the cut-throat entertainment industry. He quickly made a name for himself as an open-format DJ that also had the ability to control a crowd with a microphone. He was invited to perform at various parties, clubs, bars and event venues. Once graduating from high school, Samir went on to attend Cleveland State University to pursue a double major in management and marketing. The side hustle remained constant and DJ Samir Productions was born. He was attending classes during the day while DJing at night.
Within a few years, Samir began to climb the rankings to become rated among the top DJ’s bred out of the Cleveland area. Knowledgeable in multiple genres like Bhangra, Bollywood, Hip-Hop, Top 40, Pop, EMD, etc. DJ Samir brings an array of skills, music knowledge, crowd interaction, creativity and performance to exceed crowd expectations. From clubs to weddings, DJ Samir has won multiple awards and finds himself spinning at over 100 events annually around the nation. He has worked with many talents including Sir Mix-a-Lot, Jay Sean, Mickey Singh, Russel Peters, Fatman Scoop, DJ Kool, Bappi Lahiri, Arjun, Happy Raikoti and Sunny Leone.
Samir established Crown Entertainment with a focus on catering to the corporate and private events industry. The Indian SCENE spoke with Thaker to learn more about his life journey, struggles and aspirations so far.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.
The Indian SCENE: What did your family think of your venture? Did you have their support initially?
Samir Thaker: I was fortunate to have a very supportive family. Starting a business out of the norm wasn’t easy and it definitely had its ups and downs. If it wasn’t for the support from my family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. As a young Indian adult, I often faced a lot of pressure from society to follow a “normal” path. If I don’t follow that path, society will judge me for it. Getting over the fear of “what other people will think” is a life lesson everyone should learn.
I worked at Panera Bread throughout high school to pay for my DJ gear. So here I am spending every hard earned paycheck on speakers/lights and I’m not getting enough gigs to cover that cost. That was a very stressful time for me. People would say to me, “You’re wasting your time” or that, “You should find a normal job.” I spent most weekends practicing mixing in my bedroom and reading business books. I did most gigs for free or practically no pay at the time. It wasn’t until I had made a name for myself that those same people were congratulating me.
After the summer of my senior year in high school, I went on to attend Cleveland State University where I graduated with a double major in Business Management & Marketing.
IS: How would you describe yourself?
ST: I would describe myself as ambitious and driven. I believe everyone has an opportunity to make something of themselves and it comes down to how much work that person is willing to put in. I love helping others and will never pass up a chance to do so. Giving back to my community is very important to me and that is why Crown Entertainment has donated services and made monetary contributions to temples, public events, and charities.
IS: Who inspires you and why?
ST: My parents inspire me to be the best version of myself that I can be. Like many immigrants, they came to this country with just $20 in their hands and a goal to one day live the American Dream. Their constant hard work and struggle has given me great respect and taught me to never give up, no matter how tough life gets.
IS: When you are not DJ’ing, what do you like to do?
ST: When I’m not DJing, I enjoy spending time with family, hanging out with friends, watching sports, and working out.
IS: What is next?
ST: Moving forward I am excited to continue growing Crown Entertainment and the DJ SAMIR brand. I am also excited to announce I will be continuing my educational journey and attend business school this spring at California State University where I will be completing my MBA.