No child’s play
How many kids dress up like Slick Rick for Halloween?
Eight-year-old Michael Savoie II of Oak Cliff made “Rick the Ruler” his costume, complete with Kangol hat and eye patch, last October.
The Alcuin School student plays chess and competes in swimming, but deejaying is his life.
As DJ Flying Ace, Savoie has played birthday parties, the Dallas Festival of Ideas, Josey Records, a school dance and a fashion show.
He learned the art of the turntables at the Keep Spinning DJ Academy, founded by Dallas-based DJ Jay Clipp, where he began studying in 2015.
“The sky is the limit for him,” Clipp says of Michael. “I’m amazed at the things he’s picked up in such a short period of time. This guy is just special.”
The boy’s dad, visual artist Michael Savoie, says that he and his wife, Dawn, noticed their son’s aptitude for music when he was 2 or 3 years old. They raised him listening to R&B and soul classics — Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the like — and any time he received a new CD, he always wanted to be alone to listen intensely.
Michael and Dawn Savoie, who live in Beckley Club Estates, met in art school in San Francisco. He’s a fulltime artist and she’s a chef. They encourage their kids, Michael and 6-year-old Lola, to pursue their artistic interests with gusto.
“We appreciate the value of creativity, even as far as making it a career,” says the elder Savoie.
Where some kids dream of playing Major League Baseball or becoming a doctor, young Michael wants to have his own studio, to be a music producer and score movies. He told his mom that he wants to win a Grammy.
His parents invested in equipment — a sound system, a laptop with Serato DJ software and an MPC Studio Black drum machine so that he can make his own beats.
DJ Flying Ace loves it. He can spend a full Saturday in his room, mixing records and experimenting with rhythms, his dad says.
“We have to stop him to eat,” he says.
Even though he’s only 8, with a DJ name inspired by Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts,” the kid is no gimmick, says his teacher Clipp.
He knows music from current pop to ’60s R&B to ’80s hip-hop. And he’s soon to become the first kid DJ to make a mix for the online music database Discogs. Michael knows so much music that Clipp says his student keeps him on his toes.
“He’s not just a cute kid DJ. He’s a kid who knows how to mix and cut and scratch and rock a crowd,” Clipp says. “He takes it very seriously.”
DJ Flying Ace is ready to play out more, his dad says. His parents know he’ll be deejaying in kid-friendly and not-so-kid-friendly environments, but it doesn’t worry them. Michael isn’t interested in anything but the music.
“There’s tons of kids out there whose parents don’t allow them to explore their creativity,” his dad says. “I just want them to find what they want to do early on and then give them all the tools to pursue it.”
Now they’re figuring out the marketing side — a website, an Instagram page, getting the word out that DJ Flying Ace is available to rock your party.
The real Slick Rick, by the way, reposted the Instagram pic of DJ Flying Ace’s Halloween costume. So that’s a start.