It’s hard to put a handle on exactly what Dee Jay Silver does for a living. A popular club DJ-remixer-producer for more than a decade, he now spends much of his life on tour, where he’s worked as a support act for Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts and, this year, Brad Paisley, among others. He’s also signed to RCA Nashville as a recording artist, and last weekend launched a five-hour syndicated radio show, "The Country Club With Dee Jay Silver," where he provides his own mixes and mash-ups of uptempo country hits.
That Saturday night show, which debuted with more than 20 affiliates, was an outgrowth of the 30-minute remix show he has been hosting on WSIX Nashville for about 10 months. Even before syndicator Compass Media Networks came onboard for the Saturday show, the Friday version had spread organically to a handful of other markets, including Phoenix; Minneapolis; Hartford, Conn.; and Sacramento, Calif.
“Nobody really believed in a country remix radio show until they heard it,” he says.
Silver, who jokingly gives his age as “Hollywood 27,” is part of what he calls the “G Thang” generation, which grew up listening to Dr. Dre and Lil Wayne alongside Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Motley Crue, Krewella and others in a non-genre-specific way. In his live show, his mix of Run-.DM.C.’s ‘Walk This Way” and Alabama’s “If You're Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band)” “brings the house down,” he says. And while his radio show sticks more strictly to country hits, Silver says it maintains the same energy.
The show’s operations manager, former WSIX PD Keith Kaufman, jokingly tells him, “The only problem is turning you down a little bit,” according to Silver, who says of his energy level, “I have it at 10 at all times.”
Whether recording his show in a studio at WSIX or performing live in front of 35,000 people, Silver says that energy always comes from the music, which he is passionate about. “When I hear a good song, I still get goose bumps,” he says. “When I hear a new artist like Chase Rice or Leah Turner come up, I still get fired up. We spent 12 hours over the last three days in the studio, and it seemed like 10 minutes. That’s home for me. I might DJ all night, but then I’ll go home and lock myself in the studio because I thought of something I could have done better.”
That energy carries the Austin native through a busy work schedule. During last weekend’s Academy of Country Music Awards festivities in Las Vegas, he performed five times in that city, including at Fan Jam; left Vegas briefly to fly to Dallas for a show; then returned in time to walk the ACM red carpet. On the Paisley tour, which he’ll rejoin when it resumes this summer, he’s not just doing a set before Paisley comes on -- he also returns to do four songs with Paisley.
With the experience of his Friday radio show under his belt, Silver already knows fans are responding to what he’s doing on the air. He says his Twitter account has been exploding with feedback each week. “What a great feeling when something you put your heart and soul into gets such a good response,” he says.
His primary goal with the show is to spread his love for country to people who may not have grown up as fans of the genre. “I’m not trying to change country music,” he says. “I’m trying to let people hear country music and give it a chance that wouldn’t normally give it a chance. Here’s a way they might relate to, and become, country music fans.”
Last summer, RCA released his "Country Club" EP, featuring Silver’s remixes of four songs. For his next project, he has something even more ambitious in mind that will incorporate his newfound love of songwriting. “We are actually going to do a whole original album,” he says.
He plans to start writing the project this month, alongside some A-list Nashville songwriters including Danny Myrick, Dallas Davidson and Justin Weaver. In addition, the band Blackjack Billy has one of Silver’s earlier compositions, “Country Clubbin,’” on hold to record.
Meanwhile, he’s focused on growing his new syndicated show. “It’s nothing like anything on the radio,” he says. “I’m really proud of it.”