Q&A: DJ Irie Talks Miami Heat Highs and Lows
June 26, 2013 | by liana lozada | Talk of the Town
After another championship season spinning for the Heat, DJ Irie readies for his annual Irie Weekend
June has been good to DJ Irie—aka Ian Grocher, aka the official DJ of the Miami Heat. He celebrated a birthday, witnessed the Heat take home its third NBA title, and is putting the finishing touches on his ninth annual Irie Weekend. Kicking off this Thursday, June 27, the three-day event helps raise money for the Irie Foundation and its after-school programs and scholarships. Irie Weekend festivities will include a celebrity golf tournament, concert at LIV Nightclub, bowling tournament, and closing party at Mokai. How does Irie do it all? We chatted with him to find out.
In one word, how has the last week has been for you?
DJ IRIE: Probably sensational. Even though the Heat won back-to-back championships, they still feel like totally separate trips.
You've been with the Heat since 1999, experienced all their highs and lows—does that make weeks like this sweeter?
DI: Knowing what it is to feel that low makes you appreciate this kind of success even more. I remember a season where we lost, like, the first 15 games, I believe. Attendance was such a challenge then that we had vouchers to give to friends to come to a game.
Does the Heat's success help set the tone for Irie Weekend?
DI: Well, it definitely doesn't hurt! The weekend had the same timing from its start, so it is a blessing that it can take place right after this championship and share some of that excitement.
How has Irie Weekend evolved over the years?
DI: I would say our biggest evolution has come through our partners. An event of this caliber cannot happen without a lot of support. ESPN was one of our first supporters; they've been with us every year. AmericanAirlines has been onboard for about five years. Irie Weekend today has Target, Cadillac, Verizon, Premiere Beverage, and Heineken all believing in what we're building. The first couple of years I also had to be on those phone calls and emails to have celebrities attend. Now many [celebrities] actually call us. We sold out the golf tournament two weeks ago!
Is the golf tournament open to fans, or just players?
DI: We realized people want to be a part of the energy, so we came up with the Target Hospitality Tent. For $100, folks can enjoy all the food and drinks they want. We'll also have Skam Artist DJs there and a Sol Republic bar where you can create your own headphones.
How do you mentally and physically manage such a busy schedule?
DI: Vitamin B12 and Reviv on Miami Beach, that is my secret. I strive to do everything I do with as much energy and excitement as possible. I prepare, come in, and give it all I got.
Taking a vacation anytime soon?
DI: Right now I'm looking at August. My schedule is pretty crazy until then.
Last question: what song sums up the 2012-2013 Heat season?
DI: Hands down, The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.