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Community Highlights: Meet Kelton Higgins of Marquee Artists

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelton Higgins.

Hi Kelton, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
For the last ten years, I’ve been one of the lucky ones who gets to follow their passion for a living. I’m a DJ, audio engineer, sound system designer and installer of high-end sound systems for others who are as passionate about music as I am. What many people don’t know is that my passion for music, events and the energy of nightlife is only part of the story.

Reading the travel stories of Eric Newby, Armand Denis, Josie Dew, Tony & Maureen Wheeler and countless others has led to a lifelong curiosity about what’s out there. I’ve dedicated a fair number of years to roaming the earth on foot & by bicycle and it has paid dividends in all aspects of life. Traveling the less frequented corners of the globe on a shoestring budget, living out of a backpack and embracing all of the adventures and misadventures I stumble across as been the greatest of teachers. Like the time I had to ride in the back of a dump truck across most of Ethiopia after a war with Eritrea broke out and all of the buses were conscripted by the military. That misadventure leads to a love for all kinds of Ethiopian music and dancing as well as the best coffee in the world! The time I was pulled off the street into an Indian wedding as an auspicious guest on my way to an underground dance party in Bangalore India, led to a love for Bhangra and Indian brass bands. Living on the beach in Costa Rica one summer after going flat broke, I was practically adopted by a guy who made a living flying to the USA and buying long haul trucks & cargo containers, filling them with goods and driving them back to Costa Rica selling the goods, containers and trucks along the way. He introduced me to Salsa, Bachata and Reggaeton as well as the hidden beauty of central Costa Rica.

The way I look at it, DJing is a bit like storytelling and the more stories you have lived the better you are at telling them.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My journey as a DJ has been filled with serendipity. Being at the right place at the right time isn’t something you can plan. It just happens. From the post-punk DIY events & ethos of Washington DC group house culture at its peak to finding Catastrophic & Ultraworld raves to stumbling into the world of David Mancuso, being open to new things has always opened the next door.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had my house burgled and equipment stolen and a few bad events here and there. Usually the result of not knowing what I didn’t know. I was also on planet earth for the entirety of 2020, which I would gladly have skipped if given the chance!

There is a grocery store in DC called Yes! They sell bright yellow T-Shirts that just say. “YES!” I love that T-Shirt because at the end of the day it’s all about your attitude in life. Lemonade from lemons and all that good stuff. Without a doubt having a giant yellow T-Shirt oozing positivity helped over the past 14 months!

We’ve been impressed with Marquee Artists, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I operate Marquee Artists, a small DJ collective that operates up and down the East Coast. Based in Washington DC, we have relationships with venues and planners in Baltimore, Philly, NYC and beyond.

We combine nightclub DJ skills + vast private event expertise + superior equipment + great attitudes for the most amazing events.

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
The best thing about DC is the people. There’s an endless stream of smart, interesting, passionate people moving to DC to change the world! You can find experts on most any topic at the table next to you. At one point, I lived with an emergency room doctor, a solar microgrid entrepreneur specializing in rural electrification in Haiti, a herpetologist, a NYT bestselling fiction writer and a guy we all thought was either a low key bitcoin millionaire or CIA agent. Only in DC!

Worst thing about DC is that it’s a revolving door. Not many people are from here and most people only stick around for a few years so your friends end up moving all over the world. Which is great if you want to visit them while traveling but hard to stay in touch. Tied for worst is the traffic.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Kelton Higgins, Roey Yohai Studios

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