DJ RICHIE SKYE
The Sky is the Limit
By Clarence J. Fluker
Photos: Kristian Smith (18MMPhotography.com)
Thousands of people from all over the world gathered in Los Angeles for the annual Pride celebration. In front of him he could see their faces smiling and bodies dancing. Even more he could feel their energy. The positive energy he was sending out from the DJ booth was being sent back to him tenfold. It was electric. It was like a dream come true for Terence Wiles, known to many as DJ Richie Skye.
Terence Wiles was born July 16, 1978 in the small town of Danville, Virginia. Some of his fondest childhood memories are of listening to his father’s record collection. Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Diana Ross, The Pointer Sisters, Curtis Mayfield – the beginnings of rap and soul records. Music transported him to new places, giving him visions of cities and life from a number of vantage points not necessarily found in his small town home. He took great joy in listening to the instrumental sides of albums because they were also clean canvasses for him to paint new pictures of himself and what he imagined his life could be like one day. At age 13, he started to create his own raps to go over the music too. LL Cool J was one of his heroes at the time and he fancied himself as a younger version.
While men have come and gone over the years, Terence’s first love is music and they’ve managed to be inseparable. When he finished school and moved out on his own, his first stop was Richmond, Virginia. He joined the working world and found himself an office job. Around this time he also found himself in a budding relationship with a guy who lived in Washington, DC, just a couple of hours north. Eventually, the relationship got more serious and Terence relocated to Washington.
Bigger than Richmond and certainly much larger than Danville, Washington offered more opportunities for Terence to nurture his creativity and explore music. He went from occasionally writing and producing songs to doing it regularly and inserting himself in to a new network of other artists who supported each other. Singers, musicians, songwriters, dancers, actors, producers and writers. It was an emerging scene of Black straight and gay creatives building a community at just the right time. Almost all of them, like Terence, held down 9 to 5 jobs while wanting to pursue their other passions. They were evolving, their crafts were evolving and the community was evolving.
Terence’s evolution was becoming more certain. He was eyeing a move from writer and producer to the more visible roles of DJ, performer and host. By his own admission, Terence is an introvert, creative, nerd who likes to watch Netflix, be at home at night and do very simple normal things. This description wouldn’t fit your typical on stage, front of camera person. He knew this and reconciled in order to push forward he would need a little help. In 2007 he birthed DJ Richie Skye.
Similar to Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce, Richie Skye would be his alter ego, or outward extension of his most creative self. Richie Skye is a different side of him. His public figure, more social, sometimes a party boy and someone who is a lot more adventurous. Richie allows Terence to exist in his own space and also be something different.
Richie Skye became a well sought after DJ and host for private events in Washington and a resident DJ at one of the hottest gay bars in the city. His popularity and skill led to him getting booked for parties and shows up and down the East Coast, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In addition to this he and a partner, Mister Bouvier, launched a YouTube series – The Morning Wood Show – that gained a lot of positive notoriety for providing online commentary on pop culture and serious issues affecting Black gay youth. The experience from doing a co-hosted show helped him branch out to do his own YouTube show, Richie on the Rocks, which went from being a straight to web production shot in his home to a show produced in studio and airing on the public access channel DCTV. Skye was good on camera and others noticed.
He was cast in a episode of the critically acclaimed and award winning web soap opera series Anacostia. His single appearance was well received and as fate, or perhaps destiny, would have it, that year the series Anacostia was nominated for a Daytime Creative Arts Emmy. Richie was invited to attend the ceremony and says that he found the experience to be surreal. While sitting in the audience he realized that Washington, DC was just another layover on his journey and not his final destination. He was inspired. It was cemented that day that he would move to Los Angeles. Skye’s dreams were calling him and he was going to answer.
In 2015 he moved to Los Angeles. No more would he be working a 9 to 5 and living his day life as Terence Wiles and his nights and weekend life as Richie Skye. His vision for his life had evolved and he was now going to go all in on pursuing his future as a creative entrepreneur. He only introduces himself to people now as Richie Skye, man of many talents and willing to use them all.
“LA has been a big giant rollercoaster,” he says. “My motto is to always keep my feet to the pavement, work, and be a part of projects that I think are for me. Be good to people I meet. Have a great work ethic. Push forward every day.” The last two years have been a constant push for him and yielded some good results.
On the music front, in addition to moving the massive crowd at one of the nation’s largest LGBT Pride events, another highlight since moving to Los Angeles was working the New Year’s Eve party for Tamar Braxton and Vince Herbert. “When Toni Braxton walked over to me to request a song, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.” That gig only seems fitting since Skye is a featured commentator on The Braxton Family Values After Show found on AfterBuzz TV. With over 20 million weekly downloads from over 150 countries, AfterBuzz TV is an online broadcast network created by E! host Maria Menounos and producer Keven Undergaro. Each week Skye and three others breakdown the latest episode of Braxton Family Values in a comical and insightful way.
Sometime this year you can expect to see Skye on a reality show himself. He recently completed taping Bravo’s new series Stripped. On the show participants are stripped of everything they own – clothes included – for 21 days and all of their belongings are placed in a storage container a half-mile away from their home. Each day, participants can retrieve 1 item from their container. Show participants are then forced to figure out how to go about living their lives with next to nothing. Producers are kind enough to provide them with just toilet paper, water and food to start off. Skye says he didn’t do the show just for the sake of being on television, but that like his other projects this show aligns with who he is and what he wants to contribute to the world. “The show is real life television. There is nothing fake about this. I got to be my true authentic self and that has taken me a very long time to get to.”
He contends that Los Angeles is the place where he has felt most at home. “It is a place where people come to fulfill their dreams,” he says. The move opened him up to a world of possibilities and now he wants to share his experiences and knowledge with others. At the end of March 2017, he released Billionaire Branding, a book that serves as a how-to-guide for other artists to monetize their following on social media and more successfully market themselves. He has over 60,000 followers on Instagram alone.
Skye believes that the sky is the limit and is continuing to evolve. His dream now is to run his own business coaching other authors, entertainers and artists to brand themselves and their ideas while still doing more behind the scenes work on music and occasionally hosting a show or two himself.
“Doors open when you have the faith and do the work. I want to be a voice for others, especially Black gay men who see something they want to do and let them know that just because they are who they are – that they can do it and be successful.”
He wants to see other people accomplish their goals and their dreams. He’s passionate about motivating and inspiring anyone who he meets. From Danville, to Richmond, to DC to Los Angeles, he has continued his creative evolution and has no plans on stopping his journey.
You can follow DJ Richie Skye on Instagram and Twitter (@DJRichieSkye) to keep up with his latest happenings.
BONUS: DJ Richie Skye offers these 12 song suggestions to put on your summer 2017 jam playlist.
1) “No Frauds” – Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne
2) “Swalla” – Jason Derulo, Ty Dolla Sign, and Nicki Minaj
3) “Madiba Riddim” – Drake
4) “Mask Off” – Future
5) “Shining” – DJ Khaled featuring Beyonce and JayZ
6) “Sexy Body” – Pitbull and JLO
7) “Fast Wine” – Machel Montano
8) “Yum Yum Sauce” – Khia
9) “Portland” – Drake featuring Quavo
10) “They Don’t Even Know” – Toy Connor
11) “Kidz” – DJ Richie Skye
12) “Still Got Time” – ZAYN featuring Partynextdoor