Vince Staples announces tour with Sac State student DJ

Denzel Harry went from DJing house parties to opening for Trill Sammy


Photo Courtesy of wav3

Denzel Harry DJing a concert at Holy Diver downtown for artist Bankroll Hayden. Harry joined Trill Sammy and Vince Staples on tour earlier this month.

Denzel Harry was preparing for his last semester at Sac State: buying textbooks, school supplies and reading over syllabi. The 21-year-old did not know that he would be joining rapper Vince Staples on tour starting the second week into the semester.

It was only nine months ago that Harry, a Sac State senior and communications major, decided to fully commit to DJing.

Harry’s friend Robert Crandall was hosting an event at Chaise Lounge — a bar specializing in Asian food and dancing in downtown Sacramento — and helped Harry land his first DJing gig in Jan. 2018. This was what led Harry to consider DJing as a big part of his future.

On Jan. 29, Harry, who goes by Priince Harry when he’s DJing, received a call about the opportunity to open for one of Staples’ openers, Trill Sammy.

With only a two day notice, Harry packed his bag and went on tour with Trill Sammy and Vince Staples on his “Smile, You’re on Camera” tour in Arizona and New Mexico. They toured in Tucson, Phoenix and Albuquerque and then made their way back to Sacramento.

“I was super nervous the entire ride there until the actual first day of the show, but once we had soundcheck I just felt super comfortable,” Harry said. “I told myself ‘I do this all the time, there is no reason for me to be nervous.’ ”

I told myself ‘I do this all the time, there is no reason for me to be nervous.’

— Denzel Harry

Alex Figueroa is the creative director of Trill Sammy’s team and also happens to be a close friend of Harry’s. When Sammy’s team was looking for a DJ, Figueroa pitched Denzel and they liked his work.

“I always try to look out for my friends and try to get them involved,” Figueroa said. “I put Denzel in the pot and they loved him and it works out, I love seeing my friends succeed.”

Harry said he has always had a passion for music and concerts, and estimated that he has attended over 100 concerts with more planned for the future. Listening and going to shows is a big reason why he said he loves playing music live so much.

Prior to going on tour, Harry said he had performed as a DJ for house parties and Greek life events such as sorority events, formals and bid days.

“It was a jump from what I am used to, I wasn’t able to gradually make my way up,” Harry said. “It was like, alright you have this opportunity and now you either got to sink or swim.”

Harry plays locally several days a week at bars like Barwest and Momo Sacramento in midtown. On Feb. 23 he will start playing at the patio at Social Nightclub two to three times a month.

When he plays a set, the music Harry said he chooses is usually hip-hop and rap, but he considers himself to be an “open-format” DJ — meaning he is open to playing different styles of music. Harry said some of his favorite artists to include in his sets are Waka Flocka Flame, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar. He often includes latin songs and some EDM.

Lisa Rodriguez, a Sac State sociology major and Harry’s girlfriend of one and a half years said she has experienced his journey to becoming a successful DJ firsthand. She said she has seen the growth from when he first started playing to now and was proud to see him go on tour.

“It was definitely well deserved since he is so passionate it about it,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said she’s watched Harry’s confidence grow from when he was playing house parties and his shows at clubs downtown.

“His confidence level has definitely gone up,” Rodriguez said. “Before he would tell me about how nervous he was to play in his downtown shows but now that confidence level has gone way up.”

Photo Courtesy of Chris Solorzano
Denzel Harry playing at a Halloween event Frights and Yikes in Oct. 2018. Harry has been DJing for nine months and has played multiple venues since he started.

Harry often involves Rodriguez in his process. He asks for suggestions and keeps her awake at night as he develops new sets.

“I always tell him he’s nocturnal because he will start practicing at 11 p.m. and will stay up until 4 a.m. working on his music,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez isn’t the only one who’s been by Harry’s side as he’s moved through the music scene: Robert Crandall, a Sac State business management major, has known Harry since they were in high school said they’ve been close ever since.

“I have been there since the beginning, but even when he was first starting off he was already so eager and taking chances and opportunities,” Crandall said. “No stage is too big for him. No matter where he is he always brings the same energy.”

Harry said he is excited to finish school and see what is next in his DJing career. He hopes to one day move to LA and continue to work on his music by becoming a producer or a professional DJ.