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Conversations with Marcus Gutierrez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcus Gutierrez.

Hi Marcus, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
During my senior year in high school, I started taking an interest in music. My friends would have parties all the time, and I would be the one to DJ them. I didn’t have much of a setup, so I made do anyway I could. My setup would consist of home stereo speakers, an iDJ mixer, and two iPods. Then, I decided to further my education in the audio industry by getting my bachelor’s degree in audio production. During my education, I had quite a few jobs. Not all of them pertained to music; in fact, most of them were jobs that had nothing to do with audio. It was tough for me to get into the industry. I’ve done early shifts for retail, restocking products, janitorial, and event-based jobs. After graduating from college, I had a tough time continuing my journey in audio. My dream was to DJ/produce music for a living. Unfortunately, as any other college graduate knows, I had to start paying my student loans off. So, I ended up working three to four jobs to do so. It was overwhelming at times, and I was constantly exhausted and stressed. It got to the point where it started taking a toll on my health. I started having issues with my stomach, chest pains, and anxiety/panic attacks. It was then that I decided to quit those jobs and start my own business as a DJ. I created my own LLCs and started networking and talking to people who own or owned their businesses.

Like any other up-and-coming DJ, I started DJing private events, weddings, etc. It was hard to adjust financially, and it was scary at times not knowing when the next paycheck would come in. But, it was also the excitement of achieving ends meet every month and doing what I love to do. I didn’t want to settle for DJing those events, so I quickly learned how to DJ the clubs, corporate events, and even sporting events! Some gigs were more challenging to get into than others, and some took time to be looked at seriously. I’ve been told I wasn’t good enough, got turned down plenty of times, and still do. But, each time that happened, it pushed me to better myself and my craft to get to where I am today. I’m very fortunate to be where I am today and love the experience of meeting new people as I get to DJ for a couple of professional sporting teams here in Denver, some of the best bars/clubs in town, and travel and perform as well.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been plenty of road bumps on my journey. When I was getting started, I didn’t really have the equipment to practice on. So I was very limited on how I could practice. I remember meeting someone with five to six DJ setups that included mixers and turntables in downtown Denver. I was only 17 at the time and had to get permission from my parents to come down to his studio that he openly let us kids go down and practice on them. As I mentioned before, I also had some health issues after college. I was so stressed out from the amount of money I had to pay in school bills and also felt that I was failing to pursue my dream because every dream job I applied to either never responded or decided to go with another candidate. The stress put me in a very low place at the time, and I was on medication to help with my anxiety. I dealt with panic attacks and high anxiety on a daily bases. Fortunately, I had a support system that helped me cope with the daily anxiety and could return to somewhat of a normal feeling. There are times still to this day that I have to deal with my anxiety; it’s still an ongoing battle. I feel that my anxiety has also made me a shy person, which can also get in the way in the industry. Aside from my health, I have had plenty of other bumps in the road. Trying to make a name for yourself is a tough challenge. There are so many talented people worldwide that it is hard to get looked at for what you do when you first start. I’ve been told I’m not good enough and felt that I was a “last resort” at times. But, dealing with these things has only given me more drive to pursue what I love to do and use those situations as a way for me to get better.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I DJ for The Colorado Rockies and The Colorado Rapids. Not only am I a sports DJ, but I also DJ at local bars/clubs and do many corporate events. Being versatile in the events I do allows me to learn different music and learn how and when to use that music for specific crowds that I perform for. This has also translated into how my DJ career started. A lot of it was self-taught. No one sat with me and taught me how to mix, no one taught me how to market myself, and no one taught me how to DJ for sporting events/games. I have a couple of people I reach out to and get help from in my career, but most of what I have done has been from my drive to want to be the best at what I do. What I think sets me apart from others is that I also produce music. Not that others don’t, but I feel I have a particular style of music that resembles who I am as a DJ.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
To be honest, I am not sure what the next 5-10 years will look like in the industry. Ever since the pandemic, the industry has been all over the place. I’ve had instances where I was hired by restaurants to DJ, I’ve also been booked for virtual events via zoom, and I also DJed on Twitch for a while as well. That being said, I do believe there will be more hybrid events. Now that we are moving in the direction of virtual events, we can reach more audiences from anywhere.

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Image Credits
Tyler Vos & Danielle Bode

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