The MAKJ Story: How A 23-Year-Old DJ Blew Up From A Virtual Unknown To A Household Name In Months

by Daniel Lampert

Just a few months ago, the name Mackenzie Johnson, or MAKJ as he is more commonly known, meant very little to most people. Simply put, he was the best DJ you had never heard of. At the age of 23, MAKJ is now being hailed as one of the next rising stars in the electronic dance music world.

Even though he is still in the early stages of his career, Mack already has a resume that resembles that of a seasoned veteran. With performances at Ultra Music Festival, TomorrowWorld, and a newfound residency at XS in Las Vegas under his belt, the sky is the limit for Mackenzie Johnson.

Like most DJs, Mackenzie had quite the unusual upbringing. Though he was born in the United States, Johnson was raised throughout the world.

After developing a talent for racing go-karts at the age of 10, Mackenzie began competing in metes all over the world. Spending time in countries including China and Bahrain, Mackenzie had a childhood that most people can only dream of.

Of this time in his life Mackenzie states, “Racing had opened up so many different doors for me. I was living over in China when I was racing and one night I went out to a nightclub and that’s when I really got into DJing.

I was that guy staring up at the DJ. After his set I went over and spoke with him and he told me that, ‘If I was serious, I should go get DJ equipment.’ From that moment on I knew that was going to be my next job after race car driving.”

After his career as a racecar driver came and went, Mackenzie returned to the United States and turned his dream into reality. When Mack first started he was strictly a DJ, but soon realized that in order for him to take the next step to career advancement, he needed to learn the production side of EDM.

After figuring this out, Mack decided to enroll in ICON Collective, a production school in Los Angeles that enlists talents including Mark Knight and Morgan Page to advise students.

Mack claims that his time at ICON taught him important life lessons that he brings to everything he does today. Of ICON, Mack said, “They made me realize finishing a song can be the best thing possible. I had so many different songs that I never finished and I would come back and realize f*ck I never finished this track.

I would try to sit there for 12 hours straight and really accomplish nothing. What they helped me realize was how to produce and how to tweak my work so it was the best stuff possible. They really helped me with my producing and helped how I produce my work.”

Mack was lucky enough to have been mentored by the late DJ AM, who became like a big brother figure to Mack. When Mackenzie was asked about his relationship with DJ AM, he responded, “It was more so like brotherly support, he took me under his wing.

He taught me not to be an asshole, taught me to work hard, to be respectful, and treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated. He also taught me a little bit about DJing, but it definitely was more of a brotherly role more then anything else.”

Mack as has come a long way since his days at ICON Collective, his new hit single, "Countdown" which he co-produced with famed DJ Hardwell hit #1 on Beatport only three days after it was released.

With 2014 right around the corner, MAKJ seems to be headed for a great year. With remixes in the works with Diplo and the Nervo girls, nothing will stop this man from achieving international stardom.

Although this might be the first time you are reading about him, its time to take notice, MAKJ is here to stay!

 Top Photo Courtesy: Facebook