It’s almost that time of the year when the electronic music finest meet in arguably…
Despite his early success as an NBA basketball star, music has always been Rony Seikaly’s passion. By now, the Lebanese/American DJ and producer has played every major club worldwide and has shared the stage with heavyweights like Marco Carola, Damian Lazarus, and Guy Gerber to name a few. His releases on Suara, Saved, Yoshitoshi Recordings and others have garnered critical acclaim, and he has just launched his own Stride Records, as continues to run his radio show ‘Sugar Free Radio’, now in its sixth year.
Standing at 6 feet 11 inches with impressive athleticism, Seikaly’s triumphant NBA career began on his Greek stomping grounds before landing at Syracuse University where he went All American, led his team to the championship game, and had his number retired. A combination of his innate skills and dedication to the sport helped establish his name, and in 1988 Rony became Miami Heat’s first-ever college draft pick where he averaged a double-double for his career and still holds numerous team records. Even throughout his career, however, music remained his true passion. His court-side nickname, ‘Spin Doctor’, was nothing short of perfect foreshadowing.
‘I never really thought about becoming a professional DJ, I was just sharing my music and thinking that this is my passion. I’ve been into electronic music from a very young age, starting with disco, early house and so on. I’ve always had a music room in my house and I never thought that I would do it professionally. Especially after an NBA career to become a DJ, it was never something that I imagined doing, but it just happened naturally.
‘Music is my passion and I believe my music is different, it brings different flavors and I love to share it with the people. Music is very subjective – you may like it, you may not like it – but I feel this style is unique and I like to chase my goal: to get my sound out to the people’, says Rony.
His first official gig was at Miami’s Winter Music Conference, back in 2007, but since the age of 14, Rony had been hosting a club for friends in his parents’ garage. He grew up listening to Frankie Knuckles and Louie Vega, later moving on to Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia, Steve Lawler, and more. Fast forward a couple of years down the line, he has now played at Spy Bar in Chicago, Amnesia Ibiza, Space Miami, Sound in Los Angeles, and festivals like Burning Man, Ultra and BPM Festival (where he has his own Majanina stage).
He started Stride at the end of last year as a platform for his own music, as he sought to have total control over his music, free from anyone else’s constraints as he stays true to his own instincts. Stride launched with the ‘Give me Space’ EP, which included an Audiofly remix, followed by his very own ‘Pursuit’ EP back in 2019. Now, Stride sits tall at number 11 in the BeatStats Top Labels ranking – based on Beatport’s top 100 charts. At this moment, ‘Feel Right’, included in his latest EP, ‘Flying Circles’, is currently charting at number 3 on Beatport‘s Hype Top 100 and at number 16 at the Deep House Top 100, after a month from its release released.
“Music is my passion and I believe my music is different, it brings different flavors and I love to share it with the people“
As well as DJing and producing, Seikaly has also founded his own weekly radio show ‘Sugar Free Radio’ on the biggest satellite radio station in the US, Sirius/XM. Firmly established as one of the first underground radio shows on the airwaves in America, the show has now been running for six years, racking up over 200 mixes on Soundcloud.
The future seems bright for him, as he focuses on bringing his distinct style of music to clubs that matter to him, with his ‘quality-over-quantity’ approach when picking his shows. From playing timeless sets, his ongoing new project as Stride label boss, creating brilliant productions, and building his radio audience too, Rony continues to do what he loves and does best.
Be on the lookout, as Rony releases his new ‘What For’ collaboration with Black Circle, featuring remixes from Luciano, Gianluca Caldarelli, and the artist himself, on June 17th; and his ‘Mila’ EP, on August 14th, both via his own Stride label.