Straight Out of The LES: Dren Starr

Dren Starr, beyond accomplished music mogul with experience as a self-made DJ, producer, recording engineer, and tour manager, started from the bottom and earned his way to the top. His success story can inspire others from some of the toughest neighborhoods throughout New York City and the United States to keep working hard for what they believe in because determination and talent can get you further in life.

An Early Start in the Industry

When most people his age were more interested in hanging out, Dren Starr found excitement in deejaying, getting a start at just 14 years old. Once he turned 18, he started his own hip-hop radio station in New York City called, WBAD Radio 91.9 FM, while competing against Hot97.

Driven by his passion for music, Dren Starr was hustling his way to the top during a time when social media didn’t exist. “When I was getting started, there were no podcasts or internet radio shows. YouTube didn’t even exist at that point. And, while my radio station got shut down by the Federal Government (FCC), I didn’t let that stop me,” he shared the music mogul. While it was a setback, he continued to pursue music, opening Pirate Recording Studio, the first official studio on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The studio’s success led to him opening several other recording studios throughout the Manhattan providing production and engineering services.

Accomplishing Big Things Despite the Setbacks

Dren Starr has been in the music industry so long that he’s had the pleasure of working with the late and great Big Punisher, also known as Big Pun. He also managed several hip-hop artists, including Cuban Link from Terror Squad and Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang. Despite the success, his career came to a halt for a short period due to his incarceration for gun possession. After spending nearly six years behind bars, he came home to a world that had changed, He now had to learn to maneuver a music industry driven by the social media era.

Although social media was new to him, he quickly realized the importance of adapting to this new trend to get back on track with his music career. “One of the biggest challenges in my career was converting to the new digital era of the music industry. When I first got started, you had to know people in real life and make those connections, but now you can send a message to someone and go from nobody to an overnight sensation that quickly,” shared Dren Starr.

Today and Beyond

When asked what advice he’d give to younger generations interested in a music career, he had this to say, “Keep it real and keep your circle small. Remain consistent and do good business without burning bridges along the way. If you’re true to yourself and remain humble despite the success, you can achieve big things, make a name for yourself in the industry, and potentially build a legacy that lives on for years to come. While I was gone for a bit, I came back in like I never left, and it was easier for me to do that because I didn’t burn bridges. I made sure to leave a good lasting impression wherever I went.”

Today, Dren Starr continues to travel the world and tour with some of the biggest names in the industry. He works to put together hip-hop tours and music festivals and collaborates with well-known brands such as Roc Nation and Rolling Loud. Starr’s main goal is to build an empire that puts the Lower East Side on the map that he can leave to his sons one day.

For even more information or to collaborate with Dren Starr, visit his Instagram, or his official website

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