DJ Willie Cruz is a professional DJ, sound engineer, and entrepreneur with Studio 1R. He is available to play at parties, weddings, and other events in the New York, New York, area.
Born in El Salvador in 1965 and arriving in Spanish Harlem, New York City at the age of five on October 1970, Guillermo “Willie” Cruz was destined for great things. Before his teen years in the mid-1970s, he had already begun experimenting with music on his mother’s hi-fi stereo and playing music for guests that came to visit. In 1976, he was given his first tape recorder as a gift for his 11th birthday. He began recording snippets and break-beat samples of current 1970s music.
A Fateful Move
In 1977, his family moved to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, where he had his first real experience watching DJs at local outdoor events or “jams.” Pioneer DJs such as Charlie Chase, Grand Master Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, and Cold Crush Brothers became role models in his new dream of being a DJ.
A Talent for Break-Beats
By the late 1970s, he began making his first break-beats compilation on cassettes with his tape recorder—recording and repeating the same breaks from songs of the time. He shared his recorded creations with his friends and peers. Upon hearing one his compilations, one schoolmate asked to see his turntable skills. However, he wasn’t aware that the mixes he was hearing came from using a simple tape recorder and the pause button. Willie knew he was in trouble. Without actually owning DJ turntables, he wasn’t sure how he would show his friends his “DJ skills.” So, with his mother’s Fisher™ turntable, Scott™ receiver, and Altec-Lansing™ home speakers he began putting together what soon became the start of his DJ gear.
A New Career
With his determination and dedication to his new hobby, he borrowed a Technics® SL 1 Belt Drive turntable from a friend and began emulating cuts and scratches, similar to his early tape recorder compilations. This was the beginning of Willie’s DJing career and the creation of DJ Willie Cruz.
Roller Rinks & New Inspiration
In 1980, he moved to Inwood, New York City, and got his first break as a DJ at Spin Easy Roller Rink and Manhattan Roller Rink. He devoted all his free time practicing the art of beat matching and blending. By 1982, he had already begun DJing at private parties for close friends and family. Soon afterwards, he was introduced to DJ Valentino at a party, who invited Willie to a club to meet another DJ by the name of Kenny Carpenter. Kenny became his mentor and inspiration. Kenny’s expertise was not limited to DJing; he was also a performer that seemed to “make love to his crowd.” His music seemed to slowly lift the dancers into a “musical orgasm” with his choice of music, typically Garage House, quickly becoming Willie’s preferred music style at the time. Living in the melting pot of different cultures that is New York City, Willie’s musical repertoire eventually included a wide range of genres, from reggae and hip-hop to salsa, merengue, and bachata, among others.
Move to Brooklyn
In 1989, Willie moved to Brooklyn where he started up a mix-tape recording studio known as Studio 1R Productions. After the development of the studio, Willie began doing larger events such as weddings, Sweet 16 parties, and quinceañeras. By 1994, he began promoting his DJ company by volunteering his services for community events in New York Metro area.
A Lucky Break
His hard work eventually paid off when he got a call from the office of the Bronx Borough President, Fernando Ferrer. His first major event was with Richard Ortiz, director of the Roberto Clemente State Park, creator of the JP Morgan Chase™ concert series. After the second year of the series, he had crossed over from being the DJ to eventually becoming the sound engineer and system provider. During the series he worked with big acts such as, George Lamond, Lisette Melendez, Oro Solido, and Johnny Pacheco, to name a few.
Ready to DJ
Since then, his expertise and vast knowledge has grown and continues to grow, as can be seen in his work today. Willie and his company have worked at hundreds of different events, with Willie working as an engineer as well as DJing. His most recent events include opening up for big acts such as Train, Missy Elliot, Jimmy Fallon, and Weezer, as well as working with Grammy award-winning salsa musicians, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Schedule Studio 1R for your next event by contacting us today.