Diplo returns to his old UCF stomping grounds
Published: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 14:03
Excitement pulsed through Deko Lounge on Sunday night in anticipation of former UCF student turned musical success Diplo.
The line outside the club stretched far into the night as students crammed, waiting until midnight when Diplo took the stage and awed the audience with his impressive remixes.
"It's never been about money or fame" Diplo said. "It has always just been about music. That's it plain and simple. I love music."
Born Thomas Wesley Pentz in Tupelo, Miss., he lived in multiple cities across the southeast before his father finally decided to settle in South Florida. In 1997, he enrolled at UCF.
"I liked UCF and the people," Diplo said. "Once I moved off campus I ran in a kind of hippie crowd that introduced me to different styles of music."
His father owned a bait shop near the coast of South Florida. From a very young age he developed a fascination with animals. As a child he wanted to be a paleontologist to fulfill his own curiosity with dinosaurs. His unusual nickname comes from the Diplodocus genus of dinosaurs.
After two years at UCF, Diplo decided that a change was needed, so he decided to pack his bags and head for the Northeast.
He ended up in the City of Brotherly Love.
At first he took many odd jobs to support his dream. For a while he was a social worker and movie theatre employee.
"It was tough at first but I knew what I wanted," Diplo said. "At one point I was living on a friend's table."
Eventually Diplo began to perform in Philadelphia nightclubs and garnered a reputation as a DJ who wanted to try different things. Much of the distinctive music that he brought to the clubs was a result of his time spent in Central Florida.
Diplo's music style is unique and distinctive. He combines '80s pop, electronica and Dirty South hip-hop to make unmatched blends of music.
Diplo spends much of his time in Jamaica writing songs and getting inspiration from local music. Plenty of time is also spent back home in America where Diplo collaborates with many top-bracket rap artists such as MIA. He rose to fame after producing her Grammy-nominated song "Paper Planes."
Diplo is quickly becoming one of the hottest DJs in the nation. Marcel Katz, event coordinator for Deko Lounge said he was pleased with the high volume of people to come out on a Sunday night, with more than 500 inside the lounge.
"When I saw Diplo on tour I knew he would be a hit at the Deko Lounge," Katz said.
Diplo went on the stage around midnight and did not finish until 2:45 a.m. Eventually, police told the club manager that the show needed to end.
"The club is so much more intense and lively whenever there is a DJ on stage that knows what he is doing," said Valencia student Tony Correia.
Diplo isn't slowing down. He knows what got him to this point in his life — not a big break or special offer, but hard work and perseverance.
"It's still a job that I have to do every day just like anyone else," Diplo said. "I'm still the same guy I was back when I went to UCF."