Teenage DJ drops dope beats

Raquel Thompson, 13, says she always has had a passion for music.

For a little more than two years, she has been relying on this passion to start a career as a disc jockey.

"I want to be the person who makes people have fun," she said.

Raquel made her debut at the Bryant Parks Department’s booth at the Salt Bowl. Using only her phone, she said she played music loudly and had everyone dancing.

Eventually she provided music for about 1,000 people at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Little Rock. Since then, she hasn’t stopped.

She has even passed up attending dances at her school in order to play music for a paying gig, she said.
Using the money she earned, she has purchased around $3,000 for her own equipment and traveled to Paris and London with a school group from Maumelle Middle School.

Raquel said she was amazed by the architecture and art of the cities she visited as part of that trip.

This taught her that people can do extraordinary things if they put their mind to it, she said.

The music business is not new for Raquel and her family. Before settling down, her father, Greg Thompson of the Bryant Park Department, worked as a professional drummer, even touring with Usher and TLC.

But Thompson said he is not using his connections to help his daughter.

He said he is teaching her how the music business works and is letting her work her way up the ladder.
“It would be different if she couldn’t do it,” Thompson said.

She said he has taught her that “if you’re going to do something, do it at your best."

Thompson says his daughter "really has something special as a DJ and as a person."

Raquel and her father have developed a financial plan for her to begin saving money now in order to have money for college and beyond.

Eventually she would like to make her own music and produce up-and-coming artists, she said. She also would like to perform in dance clubs so she can do more with music than just play hits, Raquel said.

Raquel has not been involved in many performing events during the summer in order to "enjoy being a kid," Thompson said, but he noted that they are starting to receive calls from people wanting Raquel to perform during school events.

Raquel expressed appreciation to the people who have helped her in her efforts to become a performer. Among those she named were her godfather, Al Bell, DJ Doug Kramer, and her mom, Tiffany.