Idris Elba has many talents. Not only can he act, taking on an array of different characters seamlessly, but he has also been DJing since 1986 under the names DJ Driis and Big Driis the Londoner. When he was 16 he had a spot with the National Youth Music Theatre. Can Idris Elba sing?
As far as Elba’s musical career goes, he’s predominately a DJ, rapper, and producer, however, he can sing as well. He owns his own record label, 7Wallace, named as an ode to the late Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G.
DJing was Elba’s first foray into the music industry and he’s been doing it since he was a teen. He continued with it while he was a struggling actor, and even though he’s become successful in Hollywood, he still loves music and continues with all aspects of it.
History of DJing
DJ is short for Disc Jockey, and is also sometimes spelled DeeJay. The term Disc Jockey was coined in 1935 to mean the operator of the machine that played disc-shaped phonograph records.
Jimmy Savile popularized DJing as we know it now. In 1943 he held the world’s first dance party, in 1947 he used twin turntables continuously for the first time. By 1958 he had received a job as a Disc Jockey for Radio Luxemburg. He would go on to become famous as a host of many shows before his death in 2011.
The music may have changed over the years, and perhaps the popularity of DJs, but the fundamentals remain the same. However, there are different types of DJs nowadays, or at least they’ve been broken into groups.
- Disc Jockey – while they now use digital music files instead of records, radios still use them
- Rap DJ – generally accompanies the main rappers while providing the beats
- Wedding DJ – in charge of music at weddings, as well as some other events
- Club DJ – in charge of music at a club, either regularly or for a night, and generally plays club and techno music
- Other – I’m sure there are others that I’m missing on this list
Idris Elba falls into the category of Club DJ, though has been a Rap DJ as well, but he also produces music and creates his own as well. His music is usually centered around rap and techno styles.
Idris Elba shortened his name when he was in school from Idrissa, then when he was 14 he started DJing with his uncle and he chose his DJ name as DJ Driis. He’s used variations of it over the years, including Driis, Big Driis the Londoner, which he used mostly in the United States.
When most people think of the name Idris Elba they automatically think of him as a successful actor. His musical career has been just as successful. Some of his accomplishments include:
- Opening for Madonna
- Rocking Glastonbury
- Creating music with some of the biggest talents including Taylor Swift, Macklemore, and Calvin Harris
- He DJ’d at Prince Harry’s wedding to Meagan Markle
- Has featured in many music videos
He used to DJ for the money, but that obviously isn’t an issue now as his net worth is approximately $20 million. He continues his music career as it’s a true passion for him and he’s really good at it.
He may be able to sing, but that doesn’t mean he’s comfortable with being put on the spot. He does, however, love musicals and has been in a traveling version of Guys and Dolls, with hopes of being able to be in a movie production of it. He also auditioned for the role of Gaston in the movie remake of Beauty and the Beast, which he lost out on to Luke Evans.
If he keeps up his successes at the rate he’s going, we’re bound to see him in a musical sooner or later. Get your popcorn ready!