From Selling Sticks of Bubblegum in His School Lockers, DJ Cito Became an Executive in 6 Startup Businesses

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From selling sticks of bubblegum in his school lockers to now becoming an executive in six startup businesses. Cito is a true example of an underdog. He started his entrepreneurship by dj-ing private events rocking over 1000 plus parties, learning to manage his own DJ business. Listen to his Underdog story now.

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Pamela Bardhi 

Welcome everyone to another episode of underdog today we have a super awesome guest, DJ Cito. From selling sticks of bubblegum in his school lockers to now becoming an executive and six startup businesses. Cito is a true example of an underdog. He started his entrepreneurship by DJing private events rocking over 1000 plus parties. Learning to manage his own DJ business, Cito soon started to open six other businesses Premiere Latin DJs, Valentino’s entertainment, Fantasy dance floors, Everlasting photo booths, Mix USA, and Fly Kids Academy. My passion is driven by my dreams, and my dreams are driven by my passion, as he likes to say, and by far he is truly a big dreamer, always seeking to achieve the impossible and acquiring great rewards in the process. Today, we welcome DJ Cito.  Today, I have a very special guest today, DJ Cito, which I’ve known forever. I want to welcome him here today. Thank you, Cito so much for taking the time to come today.

 

DJ Cito 

Pleasure.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Absolutely. It’s been a long time, you know, since 2008 2009, when we used to, we used to hang out in the club, but we were like the people that were kind of detached from everyone else. Really talking about the bigger picture. I always remembered that about you and watching you come up throughout the years has been incredible. And watching everything that you talked about since that day is like 10, 11 years later and doing it and you’re doing it exactly what you said you’re going to do 10, 11 years ago, which is incredible. So, I’d love for you to make an introduction about yourself and sort of everything that you’re working on now. And we’ll get to it.

 

DJ Cito 

Cool. Thank you for the introduction, Pam. Like she mentioned, my name is DJ Cito. Cito, we do a little bit of it’s definitely a long journey that we’ve definitely gone through. Back when you first met me, I was just doing the DJing thing. Yeah. And back in 2080. That’s when I first started and it was just like, it took off from there, you know?

 

Pamela Bardhi 

 Right.

 

DJ Cito 

So my name is DJ Cito. I’m currently the owner of Premier Latin DJs. It’s actually a couple of companies. So it’s our Premier Latin DJs, Valentino’s entertainment, which was kind of like an Hora Loca thing we do for weddings and festivals and sweet 16th. We also have this thing called Salem Summer Jam, which is kind of like a youth festival that we kind of give back to the community of Salem, something for the kids to do, you know. We also run on Wine Party. It is kind of like this whole under 21. So back when we used to park leads on the 21 we’re actually started a new generation.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Like, what are the different venues that they’re using for nightlife?

 

DJ Cito  

Right now, not that many to be honest. Yeah. But the thing is that, like, it’s all who you know, you know, so since I’m connected with so many people, it just, why not just makes it happen? You know, me and my partners, you know, we just put things together and just…

 

Pamela Bardhi 

So now we’re like the different venues for the Under 21 nightlife kind of starting to happen. Yeah, so

 

DJ Cito 

Right now this, like I said, not a lot, not as many, but we’re actually running it. I saw this nightclub, you know, the Middle East. Oh, Cambridge.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Yeah, I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s a nice space and it’s very centrally located baffling. Now the Castillo is that still around?

 

DJ Cito 

Ah, to be honest, I don’t even know. Something happened and like, I don’t even know the story behind.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Yeah, many venues. He did and like taboo is now that Uber

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah, I know. That’s crazy.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I’m like, what is this generation going to experience? Because that’s kind of like you know, where it all kind of started for you.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Your way back. So, speaking about that, like I’d love to hear your journey like Yeah, what sparked everything for you in like the music world from day one. I guess you could start from wherever you like.

 

DJ Cito 

where everything kind of sparked was I kind of have to say like, the way that I kind of grew up, you know. I didn’t obviously come from like a rich family. We came from el campo, you know, from the Dominican Republic, which is Campbell is kind of like his, you know, it’s a very poor, you know, place in the Dominican Republic. So that’s where we all came from my family and stuff. So, I kind of came from like the struggle of like, man, I want to buy something, I want to do this, I want to do that. But obviously, I couldn’t, you know, get it because I don’t have any money at all. So our first kind of started coming up, it was back in high school, right in high school is super funny, because I would ask my dad, my mom wouldn’t have no money at all to give me but I would ask my dad, when can I get like 20 bucks? 10 bucks? Yeah, right. Yeah. Let me just wait till my dad takes a shower. So then, you know, he kind of puts his pants right down the side. And let me just take 20 bucks for him, right? I’ll take the 20 bucks; I’ll go down to CVS. And all by myself, they used to have the sales like, you buy three packs of gum for five bucks, right. And in each pack contain, I think it was like, three packages or five packages of the five gums. So that I used to buy that, and in high school, I was actually selling it for 25 cents each. Every stick of gum for 25 cents each. You know, ‘cause everybody’s bad. Like, everybody has bad breaths, you know, and especially in high school, you’re there for eight hours, you know, freshened up with Cito, you know.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Is that kind of like your marketing kit?

 

DJ Cito 

That was my marketing in high school. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I got to say, that’s like, we’re all kind of started. And then from there.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Give me a give me a walk through like, yeah, you would go up to how did you let people know that you were the one selling.

 

DJ Cito 

So, it was just like word of mouth. I really didn’t that led by many people know like that, because I was a little bit shy. But if you knew that after class, you can meet with Cito in the locker, it will freshen you up.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I’m going to freshen you up, just come see me at my locker.

 

DJ Cito 

Just see me at my locker.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

That’s hilarious. That’s an entrepreneur by blood, you’re like, I’m going to take this money invested in this gum and make that much more.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly. And I’ll tell you another thing to another crazy story when I was a kid, one of my first jobs was actually CVS, right. And I always used to think like, if I’m kind of like wasting time, or if time is passing by, I need to somehow kind of like make money while time passes by. So say for example, like..

 

Pamela Bardhi 

As you’re working?

 

DJ Cito 

 As I was working Exactly, yeah, it’d be women’s good. So, like, I was always thinking about, like, the bigger picture. So I was I used to work this job, CVS, and I’ll be there for like, you know, three, four or five hours and I used to think like, Man, I’m so limited, because I’m here. I can’t really do much. Because I’m limited. I can only work and get paid for the hours that I’m working. And I was like, you know what, I don’t know. Maybe I could do this. I don’t know if it’s cool to do it, but I just did anyways. But like, somebody would come up to me, and we’ll, obviously the customers and be like, Oh, I want to buy this bag of chips. It was 99 cents, and they’ll give me $1. And oh, do you want your penny back? And I’ll tell him. I’ll tell him that right now. Man, I want to keep the change. And I don’t mind if I do. But you know what I mean that at the end of the day, I used to rack up on like, all the little pennies that I would like stable that that customer would give back and it came down to like 50 cents, 40 cents, but hey, I’m only 16 years old. You know, I got to hustle somewhere, you know? So that’s a little kind of like, a little thing that I did. So, you know, but it all started from high school, you know, definitely all started from high school.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

So, like, were you just always into music like growing up like your family? Just music was a big part.

 

DJ Cito 

Yes. Yes. Back in the day. You remember how people used to listen to like the Walkmans from Sony?  But I used to be a big music person right from like CDs and like even like the tapes you remember the cassettes?

 

Pamela Bardhi 

 Yeah,

 

DJ Cito 

You flipped politically. And yeah, I kind of started from there from like, the reggaeton area like back when reggaeton was like, popping.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Yeah.

 

DJ Cito 

That’s where I got this.  The Gasolina Days? Yeah, the gasolina days. Actually, before the gasolina days actually. Crazy. I kind of like figure that like, whatever. I was used to be a bit of a fan. Back in the day when we used to party, Dancehall was popping Oh, yeah. So that was like 2006 2007-ish.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Yeah. started coming out. Yeah, and they kind of kept going for a good five years. Yes. Exactly. That life under 21. That kind of died down.

 

DJ Cito 

Yup, yup, yeah, exactly.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Was like that five-year wave?

 

DJ Cito 

The fight Yeah, exactly. Just like that. Yeah. The thing is with that is that I used to be a big Reggaeton fan, the only thing that was that drove me crazy was that you know what I get done. When you do a remix, with that same instrumental, that will be five artists that still use the same chorus, right? But in Dancehall, there’ll be 20 artists that use the same instrumental. And it’s a completely different song. Yeah. So, I used to be kind of like a music nerd, like an atta computer. And I used to like, burn CDs for my friends. And I used to get so heated, because there were 20 different songs that were all really good that I just wanted to put all together into one CD, fun. You know that with those CDs, you only had a 20 song, kind of a 20-song limit.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Because of the storage, I think we’re back with the CD is. Oh my gosh.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly my friend put me onto fruity loops, I started mixing all those. I started mixing all those records together into one instrumental. And then from there, that’s when the whole MySpace thing around that era, I suppose of the mixes on MySpace, and then we’ll just be random people hitting me up. Hey, I like your mixes, my friend told me, Hey, I need somebody playing music at my baby shower. And I was like, you know what, I can do this, you know, I played it. And then from there, that’s where the whole DJing actually started, you know. So, it was like crazy from there. And then with the whole DJing thing, I kind of like, the way I kind of grew up, I was always like bullied people, some, some people will make fun of me, some people will do this. So, it was kind of like tough for me. But I remember that that first day that I used to play those songs at that baby shower, there were some people that was coming up to me afterwards saying, oh, wow Cito, you did a great job. Like, then you had everybody, you know, do this. So I kind of like kind of, like started hearing that, like, handle all those compliments. People will talk about in school. And it just went from there, you know. So that’s how it all kind of like…

 

Pamela Bardhi 

So that was back in high school?

 

DJ Cito 

That was back in high school. That’s when I first started DJing, you know.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Kind of like, inspired you to just keep going. And so, it’s really like everyone was giving you sort of the affirmations to like, say, hey Cito, so keep going. And like, yeah, you also had the passion for it too. So that kind of like a double, which is incredible.

 

DJ Cito 

And speaking about the passion, it’s, it’s creative or whatever. So, actually got kicked out of high school. It kind of stayed whatever. But I remember when I when I left from school, when I dropped out, I went to college, I went to this program, Catholic Charities helped me out a lot to get my GED. I got my GED, I went to Community College, took a couple classes here and there. And it was crazy because one of the professors that were there, they told me… Well, they were given a speech in the class and they were saying, oh, that pretty much he was making about 80K a year, right and his job. And what he absolutely hated it. He hated waking up, going to a job that he hated. Like, it was whatever. It was a cool job where it was like, I don’t know what exactly it was. But he said it was cool. And that he was making a lot of money off of it. And I’m like, Okay, cool. And then he’s like, but since he hated it so much, he was just like, you know what, screw this, I’m done with this job. Let me become this. He’s not making that much about 30,000 a year. But he, it was something that he loved doing. I kid you not once he said that, like, my whole thing was school is I wanted to become a CRNA. Right. And the week after he said that, I was like, you know what? I don’t want to do this isn’t my passion. My passion is music so I just dropped out of college, right? And then started focus on my music career, you know, on the DJing doing private events and just taking my passion to the next level, you know. How to make money after my fashion, I do something I love doing.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Because you started off with the DJing. And then you sort of got into like different events to it just like the gigs that you started getting. You’re like, oh man, because people were asking for stuff you kind of were building as you were growing.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly. Yes. That’s exactly how it happened. Yeah, literally just how you said it. I kind of just went with the flow.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

It’s just crazy. Because, you know, you came from just like selling gum and ice to dropping out. And these are most things that people deem as like, failure, right? Yes, I labelled it as failure, but like you took it and you’re like, Nah, I’m going to focus on my passion. You took the DJing and you like magnified it.

 

DJ Cito 

Yes.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

And you’re still continuing to do that, you know, which I think is incredible. You know, like, it’s like so now you know, where is everything at this point in time and like talk about different events that you’ve done too. What sort of each piece of the story?

 

DJ Cito 

I’ll kind of tell you about the story, how it all kind of like came together.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Evolve

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah, evolve, exactly. So, whatever. It all started with, you know, DJ Cito.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Yeah, you were the bread. I remember you were like the spokesperson.

 

DJ Cito 

Yup. Exactly.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I love it.

 

DJ Cito  15:03

So with the whole DDC thing was cool, everything’s everything turned out to blow up bigger than what I expected. And one thing about the whole DJ Cito thing was that I started to get really busy, like I’m talking about, I cannot do so many events that will have multiple people asking me, Hey, can you do this, can you do this on this on specific day? And I’m like, oh, man, there’s only one of me, like, I would love to make your money, I would love to meet the money instead of that, but I can’t. It’s physically impossible for me to split into two and rock two parties unite. So, it first started off with CJ Cito. And then it evolved into Tailor Made, right. Tailor Made it was this kind of concept that I had in mind that I could build kind of like a beginning, right? Or you could kind of say, like a beginning company, where I have like, different DJs that work with me. And you know, we just rock parties. One thing about that was that it was very complicated, you know, to trust in people. How can you even explain this?

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Trace, like the bookings? Probably right, like to trust people to do what you do?

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly, yeah.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Almost like employees kind of.

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah, exactly, exactly. So, it was very tough for me at that moment. So, whatever, I kind of stopped that. And then I started then doing focus on just myself. So that’s where the whole Cito Events came into play.  Because if people are just requesting me, but why not just make the company be about myself, which is Cito events? That’s what I thought, right? And this was like, 2014. Yeah, around 2014. So, it all started from there, then I remember, a friend of mine, I guess he told me about this thing that he said that a millionaire has about seven streams of income, right? So, like, in school, you kind of like thought that once you’re a doctor, that say you’re a doctor, you only have one form of income. And that’s pretty much what I kind of learned. And then from family of all my friends that would just do one solid thing. And I was like, hold on. So, a millionaire has seven forms of income. How can I do that? You know, so then I kind of then started growing, and I’m like, that’s so true. Like, if I really want to become successful in life, I need to start getting into some different avenues, because I could, like, just sit back show and just do one thing. But I feel like I want more than that. I always look up to people like Drake, for example, like Drake is artists as that blew up, right is where 100…

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Still blowing up.

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah, crazy, still blowing up. And he got whatever, I can imagine like, he says, Good. You know, he’s, he has a couple of million dollars. But one thing that I’ve noticed about him is that he does, he’s not laid back, he keeps the grind alive. You know, he keeps the grind going. And till the day, he’s still coming out with hits, you know. But a lot of people don’t do that. A lot of people…

 

Pamela Bardhi 

just kind of, yeah, complacent and like that’s it.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly. They get one job, they have one source of income, they do one thing and then that’s, that’s it, that’s the limit. But I kind of like I’m the type of person that I want to do more I want to, you know, kind of, like, do what my father always wanted to do in life. And that’s obviously live the American dream, right. So, Pam, so that Cito Events, whatever. Then from there, we started doing more events, kind of like the Salem Summer Jam, which is the Youth Festival, which a good friend of mine actually my barber, Crispy from Royal Blends, he kind of like had an idea of like, let me give something. Let me get back to the community. You know, so that’s where I come in. I helped him out. We did this whole thing that we had about 1500 people show up last year.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Only you do outside?

 

DJ Cito 

Outside.Yeah.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Oh my god that looks epic. Yeah.

 

DJ Cito 

Crazy, crazy. It’s like a day festival where like, they are like a day festival for like kids, where they have like bouncy houses we have like magicians. We have like Elvis combined perform on one of the shows. It was like it was hilarious also, and then in the nighttime, we turn it into an LED glow party where we have like giant robots come out and just party it up with people and stuff.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Oh my god, and you organize the whole event?

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, me. Socrates and Crispy. And actually, we’d actually got somebody new involved JC. So, we’re, we’re kind of like, we did the whole festival. Kind of like get back to youth and make it fun for everybody.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

That’s awesome. And that you started in 2014. And you’re still sort of consoling?

 

DJ Cito 

That started, Yeah, exactly. It’s 2014 the wholesale events. And then with Cito events, what I do is I manage events. So that’s kind of like the whole thing with the DJ Cito provides

 

Pamela Bardhi 

but really replicates yourself. You found pretty soon that you’re like, there’s all these needs and like every business. And every business It’s like everything happens, either it’s dead or it’s all at once. And I feel like it’s probably the same.

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah, it definitely is. Yeah.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

And like you had to learn how to sort of shift from that. You’re like, how can I scale this because I can only be in one, one place at a time.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly, exactly. There was on this other business that I started with a friend of mine, Marvin Peralta. Valentino’s entertainment. Yeah, we did a couple of parties. And we noticed that there was a demand for something called Hora Loca. Hora Loca is something that in most events, you kind of need to kind of like, how do you say, you know, when you’re at a party, right, especially nowadays, that everybody’s using a cell phone, right, everybody’s kind of like, laid back, they just want to want to chill. They don’t want to dance, or they’re too shy to dance. So with the whole Hora Loca thing is kind of like entertainers that come out and bring the best out of everybody.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Ah, so they like dance and then like kind of makes everyone go crazy.

 

DJ Cito 

Exactly like the icebreaker. Exactly. That’s exactly what it is.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

That’s brilliant. Oh, because nobody I mean, it’s either at the club, either everyone’s dancing or nobody’s dancing.

 

DJ Cito 

When everybody goes crazy, wouldn’t help somebody takes out their cell phone and the recording as you know, but…

 

Pamela Bardhi 

That’s so smart.

 

DJ Cito 

Yeah. So we started this whole thing Valentino’s entertainment and it’s kind of like you know, we make parties unforgettable.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

So that’s it for part A of my interview with DJ Cito. We have another Part B coming up. You won’t want to miss it.

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing DJ Cito.