The Mizrachi brothers are synonymous with their success on the poker felt. The family trophy cabinet is stocked full of World Series of Poker bracelets, World Poker Tour titles and every other poker trinket you can imagine.
But not all of the Mizrachi brothers decided to pursue a life in the poker world. Donny Mizrachi, the youngest of the bunch, decided from an early age that he would find life in the more creative arts. He started out as a magician and worked his way into the music industry where he performs worldwide as DJ Mizrachi.
In this interview, we talk about his personal journey, how sibling rivalry provided the inspiration he needed to pursue his own dreams and much more.
Where did your interest in music begin?
“It started with poker. I was stuck at a casino one night, and my ride left. I happened to get a ride back from one of my brother’s friends, and he happened to have a studio. He was the manager of a famous group in Miami called ‘Pretty Ricky’. I ended up going to the studio non-stop. I fell in love with it.
“I was a professional magician for 10-years, and that’s how the transition happened. I started creating music for my shows. I wanted to sync the magic with the music and choreograph the whole show.
“I was always on my computer making beats; I decided to build a studio and take my production to the next level. After 5-6 years of producing I started to DJ. I used to be known as ‘DJ Magic’ when I was in the magic business. Too many people had that name, so I decided to switch to ‘DJ Mizrachi’. I thought that would be more original, and people would find my music online when they looked me up. That was six years ago, and I haven’t looked back.”
So you didn’t begin in the vinyl days?
“I was at a point in my life where I was producing and making a lot of records. I was working with a lot of artists and singers making beats for them and mixing and stuff. I decided I wanted to play my music live. Everything just clicked. It was just before the EDM scene got pretty heavy.
“A buddy of mine from Vegas called ‘DJ Five’ is an amazing DJ who works all the big clubs over there. I had the privilege to sit down with him, talk about a few things and learn more about the industry. I started out with vinyl but quickly realised that everyone was on the CDJs. I ended up getting both turntables. I wanted to be versatile and know the equipment. I kept myself open to multiple genres, fusing and mixing. I was never closed minded when it came to what records I played. You always get a mixed crowd, and you need to know your crowd – reading energy and vibes, etc.”
Where do you draw your energy and creativity?
“That’s a tough question. I have a crazy imagination. I get inspiration from dreams, travelling, humor and sadness. Any experience that creates feeling I try to take that in and fuse it.
“I feel like I was born to entertain. I was performing professionally at age 12. I had the talent to put smiles on people’s faces. I had this gift to connect with people through sound and magic. Everyone loves music. I love dancing. I love giving people that feeling and seeing how people move.”
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What are the toughest aspects of the job?
“Rejection; putting in lots of lots of hours on the computer. It’s painful for the ears. I hear songs over and over again, and I am picky before I release songs. It’s important that before you release something to the world, that you make it count. I will go through 80 different mixes of my songs until I know it’s right.”
How do you develop a track?
“You can go either way. Sometimes I work with vocals and build a beat around that. Sometimes you play a beat for an artist, and they bring it to life.”
How did you get into magic?
“I got into magic at a very young age. I was 12 years old in LA, and I walked into a magic shop and bought two tricks. One was turning four nickels into four dimes, and the other was a trick where you make a coin disappear. I came to Florida and spent hours practicing. I would perform magic for my brothers, my parents and friends. They would pursue me to get deeper into magic. I started creating my own tricks, and using my imagination, so eveytime they brought their friends over they never wanted to leave my room.”
Was it tough growing up in a family with so many successful brothers?
“It was tough when they beat me up. I grew up a little faster than others. I played poker at a young age. There was no pressure to play poker. It was natural for all of us. I felt pressure to do what I loved that’s why I play poker part time and decided to go with my passions: magic, music and performing.
“My brother’s success motivated me to believe that anything is possible. They were World Champions, and I realised if I could put all my energy into my craft I could get there too.”
Give my 14-year old son some advice.
“Don’t grow up too fast. Enjoy yourself while you are young.”