Joshua “J1” Raiford moved fast up the ranks at Radio One after starting out as one of Atlanta’s best club DJs and on-air mixes. As the program director of hip-hop and Sirius XM Pandora Presently, he is now altering the urban scene by generating fresh and exclusive content series for Pandora (Channel 3).
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in the music business.
I started deejaying when I was around 15 years old. I grew up in New York City so I was influenced by people like Funkmaster Flex, DJ Clue, DJ Envy and DJ S & S. I always had a passion for music and it’s really what inspired me to get into deejaying. I always thought the DJ was the one that controls the party and influences the culture and the movement. So I wanted to be a part of that. I saved up [for] one record player and used my parent’s old-school record player and would practice on that and try to mimic what I heard on the radio at the time. I got down to Atlanta after I graduated [and] one of my older frat brothers taught me the art of deejaying [and] taught me the fundamentals [and] showed me what it was to really be a good DJ, mixing, style, and skills and song selection.
Tell us how you came to be in your current position.
I was fortunate enough to deejay so much that I got on Hot 107.9 around 2007 and from there, I became the MC show coordinator, then worked my way up to assistant program director. Currently, I am the director of hip-hop programming for Pandora music and I’m also a program director for Sirius XM Channel 3. At the apex of my DJ career, I knew from the get-go it wasn’t something long-term [and] I knew I wanted to continue to grow [and] also knew I wanted to get into streaming because it has rapidly become so big. I knew if I wanted to have a long career in music, that I would have to start thinking outside the box. They gave me the option of what market I wanted and I chose Atlanta because [it] is just the epicenter of Black culture and hip-hop music right now.