One of DJ Ravi Drum's first memories is throwing his body down in a K-Mart and crying hysterically because his parents would not buy him a drum set. And that scene pretty much replayed like a broken record every time his family went to K-Mart, he says today.
Talk about signs of things to come.
"Everytime, I cried,'' says DJ Ravi Drums, whose birth name is Ravi Jakhotia. "Thinking one day it was going to change.''
These days, Ravi throws down on the drums and turntables, as one of the most unique and sought after performers in his industry. His unique blend of live drumming while spinning high energy music has earned him an impressive resume. Ravi was the music director and drummer on the 2009 NBC TV series Howie Do It, worked as a DJ at the Playboy mansion, performed at Superbowl games and the Oscars to name a few.
Voted the World's Best Innovative DJ/Drummer by the People’s Choice Awards, Ravi will bring his show to the Tampa Bay region during "TiECon Florida 2013,''
a one-day professional and networking conference organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs of Tampa.
The Indus Entrepreneurs is a nonprofit founded in 1992 by a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with Indian roots. Today, the nationwide organization consists of more than 11,000 business people. The Tampa Bay chapter will hold its annual conference on Sept. 20 at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
, 105 N. Bayshore Drive.
"Ravi Drums represents the face of today's creative youth who believe in achieving their dreams...even in the industry like music, by using their own creativity,'' says Kunal Jain, president of TiE Tampa
. "His latest innovation in drumming and the music industry is remarkable and Tampa Bay entrepreneurs should see that power and energy behind the innovation.''
Coming Home To Tampa
It will be a homecoming of sorts for DJ Ravi Drums, whose family moved to Tampa when he was 12 years old from Houston, Texas. Ravi attended Young Middle School and later graduated from Chamberlain High School
. His love for drums at 3 never went away.
"It was just exciting. You got to hit something and it made a noise and it was loud and exciting,'' Ravi says about his fascination with drumming. "I don’t know, but something about it -- the primal aspect about it -- was in my DNA.''
When he was In fourth grade, his father bought him a pair of drumsticks and a practice pad. It was a lackluster experience.
"It was so depressing,'' Ravi recalls. "It didn't make any noise and it was totally quiet and it was this ugly piece of rubber.''
Ravi had his sights set on a chrome drum set like Peter Criss from the rock group Kiss. He set out mowing lawns and taking up a paper route to earn enough money to buy one. He ended up with $264. His father kicked in the rest and he purchased his first "real'' drum set, which was more Jimi Hendrix than Kiss.
"It was awesome, but I didn't realize it at the time,'' he says.
Drumming lessons came next and Ravi became immersed.
"I got rid of everything else in my life,'' he says. "I wanted to play drums, to be in a ban and perform.''
In 1991, after high school Ravi joined the Florida-based ban Crimson Glory and was signed to Atlantic records. He was also pursuing a degree in music from University of South Florida
. It was a learning experience, but it didn't stick. Ravi had his sights set on Los Angeles where he felt the music scene better suited his aspirations.
"If you want to go work on Wall Street, you go to Wall Street,'' Ravi says. "You have to put your body where you want to be.''
In 1997, after changing majors and earning his degree in cinematography from USF, Ravi moved to L.A.
There he began playing drums alongside DJs at the Opium Den, one of L.A.'s hottest nightclubs at the time. Ravi soon realized he needed to separate himself, so he learned DJing and began combining the two performances.
Celebrities took notice. Paula Abdul hired Ravi to DJ her show Live To Dance, and he went on to perform in the 2008 Superbowl pregame show in Arizona. Later he was hired by Hugh Hefner as an in-house DJ at the Playboy Mansion. Like his music, DJ RaviDrums career has maintained a high energy pace ever since.
Deep Cultural Roots
Ravi, who sports a Mohawk haircut and elaborate tattoos, is known for dynamic presentations including a wraparound drum set replete with DJ equipment. Glow in the dark costumes are not out of the ordinary for DJ Ravi Drums.
His show is influenced by his cultural roots.
Ravi's parents were born in India. His father moved to the U.S. for college and later brought his mother over. Ravi also has a brother. His family still resides in Tampa.
"I love the Indian rhythms and I love the showmanship of all the Bollywood stuff,'' he says.
His other musical influences run the gamut.
"I love everything from Red Hot Chili Peppers to James Brown to Tchaikovsky,'' he says.
When asked what conference goers can expect from his performance, he says, "A damn good time.''
"Everybody will be dancing and celebrating life.''
You can follow DJ Ravi Drums on Facebook
Nicole Hutcheson is a freelance writer who lives in Tampa. She enjoys writing about culture, business and lifestyle topics. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.