Dallas-based DJ Umana is big everywhere but here — but that might change
HEY MR. DJ
3025 Main St. Dec. 19. at 10 p.m.
Here’s a conundrum: Is international fame less sweet when your own hometown doesn’t know who you are? That’s a question William Umana hopes to answer this weekend.
The Dallas-based DJ is renowned the world over for his skills at the turntable, but Saturday marks his first premiere gig in Dallas. That’s when Umana headlines the Jingle Balls Party for Paul Kraft Productions. Even though he has played such hot spots as Colombia, Portugal and Argentina, he’s planning to make a lasting impression here.
"I would go and play in other countries and they look at me as a big name on the international circuit. In Dallas, it was like I didn’t exist. There are a lot of sacrifices I have to make just to get noticed. I kind of feel like I’m getting the respect I deserve playing this gig," the Columbian-born Umana says.
This isn’t his first shot at the Dallas big-time. He spun a gig opening for Peter Rauhofer, the uber-DJ who plays with the headliners a la Paul Oakenfold and Junior Vasquez. Rauhofer even requested Umana for the show. While the set didn’t do much to get him work in Texas, it propelled him internationally to some of the biggest gay Prides on the circuit. He spun the tunes at Sao Paulo’s Pride (considered the largest celebration in the world) and the Revolution Party in Rio with an astonishing 5,000 people at one dance event.
"I started getting requests to play initially in Brazil where my music plays strong and the gay scene is big," he says.
Umana’s music is unlike many other DJs who rely on underground mixes of top 40 hits. He verges on a unique style of "gay harmonies" and Latin flair. His top records include "Loca" by Nina Flowers, which is making waves on Billboard dance charts, "Get on the Floor, Bitch" by Yaxkin Retrodisko and "Can’t Say No" by Lisa Pure. The last two songs are hot despite not even having been released yet.
Umana started some 20 years ago because he was captured by the old sound of disco. Umpteen records later, Umana now mixes high-tech using mp3s and computers and has graduated beyond his DJ status.
"I’ve done lots of remixes but I’ve also produced three albums of original material. And I do everything on my computer. Technology is moving too fast and DJ’s have to keep up. Besides, it’s much easier to travel with," he says.
Now, he brings his cosmopolitan status to his adoptive city to start a whole new aspect of his career: Hometown DJ star. Which is a good thing for the man who feels he was meant for this job.
"I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I take my music very seriously," he says.
And rest assured, he won’t miss this opportunity to show out in Big D. When he says he takes it seriously, he’s not lying.
"The day I was supposed to get my degree, I didn’t show up. I had something more important to do. And that was a gig."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.