After reading the below article on ‘Jersey Shore’s’ Pauly D I have a new found respect for him. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of the ‘Jersey Shore’, but when I worked at MTV Networks, Inc. apart of my job was to review tape of the show before it aired. This kid Pauly D has continued to build off the Brand that he already had before the show and the results have been amazing! Check out the below article & be inspired! xo @RozOonThego
Paul DelVecchio’s résumé doesn’t scream “Master of the Universe,” at least not at first glance. The Rhode Island native never attended college, instead taking a job at a car dealership after high school. For much of the last decade, he spent the bulk of his nights and weekends DJing small clubs in Providence for a few hundred dollars a pop.
But something changed in 2009, when he was selected to be a part of MTV’s Jersey Shore.Three years later he’s got a slew of eponymous products, his own television show and a DJ career that earns him an average of $40,000 per show from club gigs, private parties and a stint opening for Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale tour. Over the past year, Pauly D pulled in $11 million, enough to earn him the No. 7 spot on FORBES’ first-ever top-earning DJs list.
“Everybody was skeptical at first, because how everybody heard about me is probably from Jersey Shore,” he says. “But now I’m six seasons deep in the show and I’ve been touring all over the country, touring with major pop acts and stuff like that. That legitimizes everything, and they’re starting to say, ‘This kid isn’t just a reality star, he’s an actual DJ.’”
In addition to being an actual DJ–one who’s played 132 gigs over the past year–Pauly D has figured out how to extend his brand better than any of his fellow Electronic Cash Kings, and perhaps better than many Hip-Hop Cash Kings. After Jersey Shore’s first season, he and a friend launched a clothing line called Dirty Couture, followed by Pauly D Bronze Beats tanning lotion. Next came his spinoff series, The Pauly D Project.
In May, he announced that he’d be launching a beverage called REMIX Pre-Game Cocktails in partnership with Grey Goose cofounder Tom Bruno and Skinnygirl cofounder David Kanbar. Earlier in the year, Pauly D also unveiled plans for an SMS Audio headphone line with 50 Cent, signing to the rapper’s G-Note record label to produce three solo albums. 50 Cent had some words of wisdom for his newest recruit.
“Business-wise, he told me the same thing I kind of already knew: don’t put your name on something you don’t love,” says Pauly D. “We were basically on the same page in that regard.”
Pauly D certainly loves DJing. And like his peers, he generally has very low production costs, needing little more than a laptop to play a show. That means he can take home the bulk of his hefty performance fees, unlike rockers and pop stars who generally take home about a third of gross ticket sales.
But a high profile and high earnings come with high levels of scrutiny, particularly from other DJs. Earlier this year, Pauly D’s “Night Of My Life” soared to the No. 3 spot on the iTunes dance charts, passing a tune by Deadmau5. After a few days watching his song languish below the Jersey Shore star’s, Deadmau5 made a snide remark about Pauly D’s work, saying “There’s nothing creative about it.” Pauly D, an admitted fan of his rival, replied with a tweet: “T-shirt $40. Jeans $100. Hair gel $12. Getting hated on by deadmau5: priceless.”
The dustup connects Pauly D to another controversy that Deadmau5 had been involved in, an issue with far-reaching financial implications for his fellow Electronic Cash Kings: if DJs are only playing pre-recorded music, can an EDM show truly be “live”? And how much skill is involved, anyway? Deadmau5 touched off the debate with comments in a July Rolling Stone cover story.
“If I wanted, I could play a f—ing .wav file and just stand there and fist-bump all night, and no one would give a shit,” he told the magazine, also disparaging “button-pushers” while admitting to being one himself. The comments drew the ire of top DJs including members of Scandinavian trio Swedish House Mafia, who reiterated the latter point about Deadmau5. In the face of this firestorm, Pauly D remains adamant about his credentials.
“I’m definitely not a button pusher,” he says. “I use turntables. Yes, I use [DJ software] Serato on my computer that only holds the music, but I’m still controlled by vinyl, and I’ll never lose that art form. Because that’s what I love the most.”
Like Deadmau5, Pauly D believes that anyone can be taught to DJ fairly quickly; becoming an expert is another story. “Anybody can change their name to DJ whatever, but they won’t be able to blend two songs together and make it sound right,” he says. “You have to have that talent in you to be a good DJ.”
Though perception of talent changes depending on the eye of the beholder, there’s no doubt that a major component of skill is practice–and Pauly D has had plenty of that. He’s been honing his craft since age 14, when he received his first set of turntables. Two years later, he DJed a sweet sixteen party and was hooked. “When I felt the energy from the crowd, I didn’t want to stop,” he says. “I wanted it to be the rest of my life.” Earning $200 for a few hours’ work was a nice bonus.
He quickly landed a regular gig at Providence club called Renaissance, pulling in as much as $500 per night. After high school, he got a job at Metro Honda, starting out washing cars. He moved up the ladder, eventually becoming a used car buyer, then a used car manager. Some nights, he’d DJ into the wee hours and get up at 7:30am to run sales meetings at the dealership.
Pauly D probably still would have been working there by day if it hadn’t been for Sally Ann Salsano, the creator of Jersey Shore (and now executive producer of Pauly D’s spinoff). She came across his MySpace profile while casting the show in 2009 and sent a crew to Providence to follow him around. Pauly D took them through his typical day: trips to the gym and the tanning salon, followed by a DJ gig at night.
“That blowout, that tan, that Cadillac tattoo, all of those are the reasons I was attracted to him,” says Salsano, who remembers that there were turntables—and no dining room table—in Pauly D’s apartment at the time. “He was making his living as a DJ. This show shot him to superstardom and now he’s a quintessential celebrity DJ.”
Even when Pauly D found out he’d landed the part, he worried about leaving his regular DJ gigs to film the show. It would only be a 40-day absence, but someone might move in on his turf. So he carefully selected fill-ins who’d happily step aside when he returned.
But when Jersey Shore went live after he came back, demand for his DJ services exploded. His Rhode Island gigs were more packed than ever, and by the end of the show’s second season, he’d landed a residency at the Palms in Las Vegas. He also performed on Good Morning America, Live! With Kelly and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and appeared in a commercial for Miracle Whip (like his boss at Metro Honda, he still signs all his checks himself).
The show goes on. In February, Pauly D announced new residencies at The Hard Rock in Vegas and at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. Though he generally considers himself an open-format DJ, spending at least half his show playing other artists’ work across all genres, he’s working on his debut album, which he describes as “David Guetta meets DJ Khaled.”
In the meantime, he still pulls in upwards of $100,000 per episode of Jersey Shore, and he’s the first character with his own spinoff—a fact he attributes to his musical abilities.
“[The other characters] didn’t have anything to base anything off of, I think,” he says. “That’s the difference. I went in there with an actual talent.” Adds Salsano: “The one common thing that they all had is that they were very tan.”
As of now, Pauly D and Snooki are paid more than any of the other characters on Jersey Shore. Should we expect to see the diminutive mother-to-be joining her blown-out counterpart behind a pair of turntables anytime soon?
“No,” says Pauly D, laughing. “She’s better off dancing.”