At 10 p.m., a line formed outside of Ybor’s EDM nightclub, Amphitheatre. The line was jam-packed with people accessorized in light-up rave gear, cat ears and furry boots.
By 10:30 p.m., the venue began to fill up with those eagerly waiting for the first DJ. As the night went on, more lit-up, dancing people filled the venue. The atmosphere had evolved from a show to a rave.
By 1 a.m., the crowd had intensified and at 1:15 a.m., Christian Alexander took the stage. Confetti fell from the ceiling, and his set began.
Alexander is a junior majoring in biomedical sciences at USF and also happens to be a DJ. During Memorial Day weekend, he shared a stage at the Sunset Music Festival with EDM’s biggest names.
Alexander was first introduced to the world of music mixing when his mother bought him a mixing controller for Christmas one year. He started off producing and then became an open format DJ. He said his father was also a DJ “back in the day,” so it’s possible the talented music-making gene was inherited.
He began playing at birthday parties during high school. Eventually, he landed more recognizable gigs at bars and clubs that would later become his gateway to making a name. Most important, he said, he was a staple at CDB’s, just walking distance from USF on Fowler Avenue.
Now on his rise to fame and his CDB’s days over, the 21-year-old started promoting for Legacy, a Tampa promotion group, and was able to get his foot in the door by landing performances at nightclubs like The Drynk, AJA, and the Amphitheatre. Alexander said Amp offered him a more permanent spot, closing every Friday night.
While his love for mixing music runs deep, but as a student, Alexander said the two careers can conflict.
“I can’t imagine leaving USF without a degree,” he said.
Alexander wants to become an oncologist, but with the way his music career is moving, he might have to push that idea to the side after graduation.
“All I know right now is that music is my passion,” he said. “If it becomes a viable shot as a good career, then so be it.”
Alexander said the journey wasn’t easy and it was mostly time consuming. He claims that most of the support he receives comes from his fraternity.
Thomas Tarantola, one of Alexander’s brothers from Sigma Phi Epsilon, is glad the fraternity played a large role in Alexander’s support team.
“We’ve always been there for him,” Tarantola said. “We go to all his events and even help him promote his work.”
He said without Sigma Phi Epsilon, he wouldn’t be where he is today. His parents are also supportive, but like most parents they are worried about his future and constantly advise him to be cautious and not to make school a lesser priority.
Johnny Ovalles, Alexander’s father, isn’t too worried about his son’s music conflicting with his school.
“I was worried about him not doing well in school, but he’s been doing great,” Ovalles said. “He likes both of his passions and he seems to be up to the challenge.”
Alexander understands that he’s going to need an alternate plan if the music fails him. He hopes that in the future he will be able to go back to medicine. But for right now, he’s just going with the flow with what makes him happy.
“EDM doesn’t necessarily make me happy,” he says. “It’s doing what I love that makes me happy.”