Editor’s note: ‘Tonight’ in this story refers to Friday, Feb. 4, the Blade’s street publication date.
Tracy Young at Cobalt
10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
1639 R St., N.W.
The last time we spoke to DJ Tracy Young, she was sitting in a cafe in Miami. Today, she’s in her apartment in Chelsea, N.Y., with a sore throat, dreading the upcoming storm that’s supposed to drop 20 more inches of snow.
Her dog Rocco fights for her attention during a phone interview.
“I want to go back to Miami,” she says, laughing.
She’s not moving to the Sunshine State just yet. Tonight she’s returning to D.C. and will spin at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.), one of the first places she worked as a DJ.
Young is originally from the D.C. area. She graduated from T.C. Williams High School and then University of Maryland in 1998 with a degree in communications. Her first DJ gig was for a hip-hop radio station in D.C., WPGC.
It’s been at least 15 years since Young last played the club.
“And I cannot wait,” she says, adding that it’s crazy how long it’s been.
“I was visiting Fort Lauderdale along with my boyfriend Stephen and I picked up a gay rag and there was a huge spread on Tracy,” says Mark Rutstein, manager of Cobalt, on how the event came to be. “I somehow forgot about her since she hasn’t performed in D.C. in years.”
The last time Young was in the area was two years ago when she performed at Town, a larger venue than Cobalt. She says you reach a different audience at smaller venues than you do the large ones.
“Young is a legend in the dance community,” Rutstein says. “Cobalt doesn’t get a chance to bring in talent like Tracy very often because of our size restrictions.”
Level One will be open so there will be three floors tonight, all with Young’s music being piped through the speakers. Cobalt will have its usual free vodka drinks from 11 p.m. to midnight and Rutstein suggests people get there before 11 to avoid the line.
It’s been a strange couple of years for Young.
She’s made two cross-country moves.
After living in Miami for a while, she and her then-partner moved to Los Angeles. That relationship ended and Young didn’t want to be there anymore, so she moved to New York. Luckily, Young likes to travel.
“I get tired of it, but I feel like a loser when I don’t,” she says. “It’s nice to go to places I haven’t been before.”
She’s also been the topic of tabloids and celebrity gossip.
“I don’t know why that became such a big deal,” Young says about her relationship with “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kim Zolciak.
The pair was rumored to be having a relationship after Young worked with the Housewife on her song, “Tardy for the Party.” Two years ago, Young did not want to talk about the relationship, but now she’s more than willing to talk about most aspects, except how it ended, only saying it didn’t end on a good note.
Young says Zolciak was the one who leaked their relationship to the papers and called her a liar.
“Being gay is hard enough,” she says, adding that Zolciak had the additional pressures of having children and being in the spotlight because of “Real Housewives.”
Young had just broken up with someone whom she had really cared for and, while she says they had something real at the time, she thinks Zolciak was a distraction.
“For lack of a better term, a rebound,” she says. “I don’t regret it. She did put a smile on my face.”
Young has since moved on, saying her life has calmed down quite a bit and she’s just focusing on music right now.
“I do wish her the best,” she says. “I don’t dislike her … I just want different things out of life.”
Young has several projects in the works, including an original album, which she hopes to have for release in the fall.
“When you have an original production, you can be a little more creative,” Young says, since with remixes — from which she gained fame — a lot of things are already set such as the vocals.
There are a lot of people she wants to work with on her album and they span different genres.
“I kind of go all over the board,” she says, after listing Sarah McLachlan, Macy Gray, Nicki Minaj and Eminem as performers she’d like to work with on this project. “Eminem is a genius.”
Young wants to combine dance and hip-hop. She’s still creating remixes, including one she just completed of Britney Spears’ new song, “Hold It Against Me.” One song Young thinks is great and would love to remix is Pink’s newest single, “Fuckin’ Perfect.”
“I love working with female artists,” she says. She gravitates toward them more because of how the vocals sound and work on the dance floor.
How does Young feel about being able to work with such big names like Spears and Madonna?
“It’s such a crazy honor,” she says. “I think I’m very lucky.”
Young won’t come right out and say it’s her talent that has gotten her as far as she has, but a combination of talent, luck, hard work and being in the right place at the right time. Visitors to her website, tracyyoung.com, can listen to weekly podcasts she puts together, which can also be found on iTunes. Fans can also follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/djtracyyoung.
Young has even started a weekly radio show on Thursday on Sirius’s Electric Area. The show airs from midnight to 3 a.m. But that’s still not it for the DJ. She’s also working on a book and is gathering information for it now.
“I love reading autobiographies,” Young says, listing Ozzy Osbourne and Keith Richards as recent reads.
“One thing I regret is not journaling over my career,” she says. “All these things happened and I just didn’t document it.”
Young does have all the press clippings from throughout her career.
“My life has been crazy,” she says. “Nothing is normal in my life.”
When anything exciting happens now, she journals it. She doesn’t know if she’ll release the book or if it’ll be something she does just for herself, but one thing is certain.
“I’ve grown a lot from gathering this information,” she says. “It’s healing.”