58 July/August 2014 | BethesdaMagazine.com
By Teddy Amenabar
Suzanne Young wanted her
teenage son, Alex, to get a job. Becom-
ing a disc jockey seemed to make the
most sense, given Alex’s love of music,
so Suzanne convinced him to enroll in
classes during the summer of 2011 at
the private music school Bach to Rock
Two years later, Alex, now 17, no longer
needs those lessons. Instead, he’s making
a name for himself as an up-and-coming
DJ in the world of electronic music, a
growing genre popular among youths
that involves the creation of songs by editing sounds on a computer. Alex has performed—playing tracks he’s created or
remixed—at shows in Las Vegas and
around Washington, D.C, released a music
video, and produced an album that was
expected to come out in May. He plans to
tour Europe this summer.
Vibe magazine’s website named Alex
among the “Top 25 Dance Music DJs
Under Age 25” in 2013, noting that
“from heavy trap to light-hearted chill-
out tunes, Young’s range is remarkable,
and will assuredly grow more complex
Alex, who lives in Bethesda, has
garnered roughly 39,000 followers on
SoundCloud, a social media site where
artists can broadcast new music to fans.
He doesn’t charge for most of his songs.
His most popular tune—a remix of
the pop hit “Sweater Weather” by The
Neighbourhood—has received more
than 750,000 plays on his Facebook
page. And that doesn’t include versions
copied onto You Tube or reposted to various music blogs.
It’s a stunning rise for a teen who was
sitting in classes at Walter Johnson High
School two years ago and just beginning
to explore the world of electronic music.
After finishing the summer classes at
Bach to Rock, Alex says he spent much
of his time learning the culture surrounding electronic music by searching
for the latest songs and trends online.
Eventually he created his own songs and
sent them to small, obscure bloggers
to try to gain attention. “From there it
started building,” he says.
By the time his mother began tuning
in to Alex’s passion for electronic music,
he had already developed a following
online. “It kind of came out of nowhere,”
Suzanne Young says.
As Alex began devoting more time to
his music, it became harder to balance
his classes during his junior year. Soon
the family was faced with a decision.
“Parents want their kids to go through
high school and do well,” Suzanne Young
says. But “it was a struggle for him to be
able to work as hard as he wanted to on
his music and do the school piece, too.”
After much discussion, Alex and
Suzanne decided that he would leave
school. Before making that decision, the
two met with a school guidance counselor who said that Alex was the only student who could drop out and “walk right
into a job,” Suzanne Young says. “And
that’s the truth. He has a career.”
Bethesda teen disc jockey Alex Young
is hitting all the right notes