DJ KnockOut Talks Bouncing Back from 2020 and Relaunching Grind2Shine Radio
Keenan Steele also known as DJ KnockOut is an American DJ, born and raised in Lexington, Ky. DJ KnockOut got his start in music at an early age taking piano lessons and playing trumpet in middle school band. As time went on DJ KnockOut really made a splash in the mixtape scene hosting mixtapes for artists and making compilation mixtapes burning and selling them to peers while in school. In 2014 DJ KnockOut launched his online radio station Grind2Shine Radio.
We were recently able to sit down and talk with DJ KnockOut about how he’s been able to balance being a DJ, Producer, and Radio Station Owner.
How long have you been DJing and what inspired you to start your career?
I started learning how to DJ when I was 14. By the age of 16 I was booked and doing gigs and hosting teen parties in Lexington. I’m 27 now, so about 12/13 years. I guess what really inspired me to DJ was growing up watching one of my older brothers DJ. I was able to tag along to a few of his gigs and saw how he was able to control the energy in the room by simply mixing music and working a microphone.
Did you always know that you wanted to get broadcasting and owning a radio station?
To be honest, no. It wasn’t until I was about 18 years old and I realized that the Hip Hop and R&B radio scene in my city was missing something and needed change. So after many failed attempts at reaching out to the local Hip Hop station and trying to work with them or intern until a position opened, I finally told myself, if they won’t give me the opportunity I’ll create my own opportunity.
What would you say is the mission you’re looking to accomplish with your radio station?
When I first launched Grind2Shine Radio back in 2014 I really just wanted to be heard as a DJ and have a platform where I could share my mixes and interact live with my audience. Over time I realized what I had was much more powerful and could be used to really shift the culture. In Hip Hop and R&B the DJ is the backbone of the industry without DJs whether that be in clubs, concerts, on air, or at small private events we’re the ones that control what the consumers and the audience hears, we really can make or break an artists whole career. After coming to that realization I wanted my platform to be used to really bring back quality to the culture and be a tool that upcoming artists and mainstream artists can take advantage of while also providing great energy and a service to our audience. Throughout the year Grind2Shine Radio hosts several events and in 2019 we kicked off Grind2Shine Weekend a 2-Day music festival held annually on Labor Day Weekend. This gives us a chance to really connect with the community and hopefully inspire creatives to come together and network.
What would you say is the most challenging thing about your career?
Balance. As a father, DJ, Producer, and Radio Station owner I’ve had to try my best at balancing time with loved ones, responsibilities, my health, my career as DJ KnockOut, and everything else that’s in my personal life. It’s extremely hard because at times I often have to be
in multiple places at once physically and mentally. Even though it’s challenging I’m a firm believer in the saying “What makes you who you are, is what you go and grow through”.
How did COVID and 2020 as a whole affect you?
2020 for me and many others was a very challenging year. I feel like when COVID really hit the US strong in March of 2020 nobody was expecting that it would literally change life as we once knew it and even more so for people in the music industry. As DJs we earn a great deal of income from live gigs and performances so not being able to do so really made the whole industry take a step back and revamp their grind. One of the
What’s next for DJ KnockOut and Grind2Shine Radio in 2021?
As life slowly returns to what we call the new normal I have plans to really hit the ground running. I’ve had time to reflect on previous mistakes and turn them into learning experiences and now I want to take the chance to apply all that I’ve learned and continue to learn to put myself in the most successful winning position that I can. As for DJ KnockOut I’m still DJing concerts and events, but I’m also taking the time to get back into producing and creating music of my own. With Grind2Shine I’ve been doing a lot of research and networking and building business relationships with other music companies to provide our listeners and clients with the best experience possible from events, promotions, breaking new music and artist development.
Where can new listeners find Grind2Shine Radio?
I really want listeners to take full advantage of us on the TuneIn platform. In 2015 we were able to get picked up by TuneIn which is available in the App Store on Apple and Android devices as well as smart tvs, XBox, and more. On TuneIn as we grow you’ll be able to listen live or have the option of streaming previous shows and podcasts from Grind2Shine Radio. You can also visit our website that is getting a complete overhaul this year at Grind2ShineRadio.com
Where can we find you on social media?
You can find me on Instagram @iamdjknockout and Twitter @IamDJKnockOut and you can find Grind2Shine Radio on Instagram @wegrind2shine and Twitter @WeGrind2Shine. We’re always posting new content and looking for new artists to reach out to so please follow us and tag us in your music.