By Andy Diffenderfer
Greg Mays routinely soared over obstacles as a champion high jumper.
Now his talents as a disc jockey have taken the Gordon Lee High School graduate to the heights of a Riverbend booking.
"I think I'll have an hourlong set," the Chickamauga, Ga., native said. "I have some things in the works, and I'll have something for everyone."
Mr. Mays, 25, who now lives in Athens, Ga., and works as a graphic designer, said he caught the music bug early.
"I would just be riding in a car, and I caught an interest in how the music was blended," he said. "It made me want to create my own stuff and see how people react."
Now he loves creating mixes and blends, and crafting a "new sound on an old song" or artist, he said.
A 2002 Gordon Lee graduate, Mr. Mays won two state high-jump titles and earned a track scholarship to the University of Georgia, where he continued competing.
Athens, Ga., is well-known for producing bands such as R.E.M. and the B-52s, among others, and Mr. Mays' interest in building his own creative sound took flight there. He developed his own style, blending and remixing hip-hop, dance and rock, among other genres.
"It was weird how it worked out," said Mr. Mays. "I was just playing around and going to clubs, and it started progressing from there. I had no intentions coming here for music. It just happened."
In 2006, he began to work with hip-hop artist $hamrock, whose real name is Timothy Rasmussen.
"I still remember how excited Mays was when he bought his first turntables," said Mr. Rasmussen. "It's kind of funny to watch a friend transform a hobby into being the most popular DJ in a music scene like Athens."
IF YOU GO
What: DJ Mays at Riverbend
When: June 13
Where: Tennessee Lottery Stage
In the summer of 2007, Mr. Mays began producing audio projects for the University of Georgia Athletic Association, which led to some opening-act billings. Then he began working with global energy drink Red Bull as an exclusively sponsored DJ.
He also graduated from UGA, earning an education degree with an emphasis in sports studies.
Looking ahead, Mr. Mays sees several possibilities, from continuing his DJ performances to working for a radio station or music production and studio work. He said he is always thinking of new concepts to try in the clubs, and tries to not get caught up all in one style during his sets.
"The only way you know whether something will work is to try it," he said.
Andy Diffenderfer is based in LaFayette, Ga. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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