Mar 10, 2022
8 min read
There’s an old saying that goes, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Carlos Cid—aka CID— will be the first to tell you about the lucky breaks throughout his career.
But is it luck when a kid who decided to be a DJ at 12 goes on to be one of the most in-demand dance music artists in the world? Or did the countless hours spent tirelessly mixing records and CDs as a teenager create a technical mastery shared by few artists of the same generation? On the other hand, maybe a college course in production and a music studio internship imparted a working knowledge of software and hardware that even the most seasoned veterans would applaud.
Regardless of how you view it, the journey that has led CID to critical acclaim as an artist and label-head has been paved by indomitable work-ethic and letting his passion for music speak for itself. A passion that has long been a cornerstone of Carlos Cid’s life is as much a part of him as his flesh and blood. In fact, if it weren’t for his family and their collective love of music, the path from Carlos to CID might never have existed.
“No one in my family pursued music,” Carlos admits. “But my grandfather was very musical, my mom was very musical and she played piano. So from an early age just sitting down at the piano with her and learning how to play whatever. It was just messing around, never lessons,” he continues.
“But it sparked that like, ‘Wow I understand notes and stuff.’ And from there my grandparents had a piano in their house, so every time I’d go over to their house for the weekend I would just sit at the piano and try to figure out a song by ear just fiddling around. And my oldest brother is very musical. So he always had keyboards in the house and drums. He’s 10 years older than me so when he was 16 we had a drum kit in the house. When he wasn’t home I’d be down there teaching myself how to play the drums banging away. It was always out of curiosity I guess that I picked up music.”
The seeds of musical curiosity planted by piano play and private percussion practice found plenty of nourishment throughout Cid’s adolescence. His two brothers, eight and ten years older, surrounded Carlos with the sounds of their classic rock, hip hop, and R&B discovery. Family parties rang out with the lively themes of salsa, merengue, bachata, and more in celebration of the family’s Spanish heritage while also sporting the occasional injection of Euro-dance. There were even weekend trips to one of New York’s many record stores.
Of all the sounds that fed the fire of Cid’s musical curiosity, one spark burned brighter than the rest—Euro-dance.
“I was very young, but there was this era of Euro-dance hits in the US Whenever we had family parties those are the songs I would start dancing to… After that, Daft Punk, when “One More Time” just exploded, I was like ‘What is this? This is awesome.”
Despite limited exposure as a pre-teen in New York, the surge of late 90’s and early 2000s dance music in the US found a home in Cid’s heart. The seeds of curiosity planted years earlier began laying the roots of a dream.
“There was a point in like seventh grade where I was like, ‘I want to be a DJ.’ And New York was not very dance music-driven. Everyone was listening to hip hop, but for some reason, that’s just how I was,” he laughs.
“I gravitated towards anything electronic. At first, it was trance and at the time in New York, it was this hard house sound. And that was the beginning for me. I didn’t have a taste; I didn’t know what was out there. I was just being fed what was popular. From there I developed my taste.”
It didn’t take long for his DJ ambitions to spawn action. Later that year, Carlos bought a used Vestax mixer from a record shop, acquired an old Denon CD player, headed to his parent’s basement, and got to mixing. He upgraded to Numark belt drive turntables that Christmas, the record collection started growing, and the hours, days, months, and years flew by.
“From the beginning, I was hooked. There was never a time where I was like, ‘Eh, I don’t wanna do this,’” he shares.
As time passed, Carlos’ father took notice of his son’s growing ability behind the decks. The owner of a restaurant and catering business, he began offering customers “a good DJ for cheap” for their small parties.
As Carlos prepared for college, the hobby began to bear financial fruit. But Cid envisioned more than weddings and local parties for his DJ career, so he began to study the best.
“I was like wait, the ones that are coming to the US—because a lot of them are European—they’re great DJs, but they’re known because of their music. So that’s what sparked the transition to producing. It’s like hmm, that makes sense, how do you stand out as a DJ? So again, curiosity led me to producing at the end of high school.”
In college, Carlos’ passion continued to lead him to complementary opportunities. His budding interest in production led the accounting major to take a course in Apple’s music software, Garage Band. While many DAW aficionados may snicker at the name, the knowledge learned would prove invaluable, soon leading Cid to finish making his first completed track.
He emailed the completed track to Markus Schulz’s Global DJ Broadcast. Four weeks later, he was on the phone with Schulz signing the single. One year later, the track was released, and when he heard it for the first time at one of Markus’ New York shows, he was transformed.
“That was the moment I was like, ‘THIS is what I want to do.’ I already knew what I wanted to do, but it was like, ‘THIS is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ And it just grew from there. I was still in college. I finished accounting, but that combination of events kind of led me to be like, ‘OK, after I graduate, I’m not going to work in accounting or try to get a job. I’m going to focus on music.”
After college, Carlos reconnected with a high school friend, Eren Cannata, while DJing in a New York lounge. Carlos voiced his career ambitions, Eren believed he could help, and invited Carlos to his father’s music studio. Richie Cannata, the original saxophone player in Billie Joel’s band and owner of Cove City Sound Studios, recognized Cid’s passion and offered him an internship.
This day-to-day experience with seasoned sound engineers would prove to be a launching point and crucial home base for Carlos and his budding career. He gathered critical studio knowledge, supportive guidance, and connections, including veteran dance music presence Greg Bahary. Years later, Carlos’ relationship with Greg would lead to work with a member of the Miami music scene. Word of “this kid Carlos” spread to Cedric Gervais in Miami, who for then recruited Cid for their GRAMMY award-winning remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness.”
“Winning that for me was very affirming for my abilities as a producer,” Cid shares about his GRAMMY experience.
“I was still living at home, my family was so proud. For me, it was more like, ‘I can do this for myself.’ That was the moment where I was like I just want to focus on my own career. And that really gave me the confidence to do it. I got here. And I want to come back here and I want it to be my name up there. And from that point on it was all about putting myself first as far as a producer and an artist. And going back for remixing LSD’s “Audio” record was such an incredible experience to go back and be like, ‘I made it back.’ Not many people can get one nomination and that for me was such a special moment to be there again.”
Today Carlos has worked alongside some of the most legendary figures in dance music, including Diplo, Steve Angelo, Kaskade, Don Diablo, and many others. One could safely say Cid is well on his way to becoming one of dance music’s new legendary figures.
He has covered official remix duties for pop’s biggest stars, including Ellie Goulding, Lizzo, and Halsey. He’s proven himself to be a master producer and performer across a broad spectrum of dance music themes while honing a sound that is distinctly his own. His label, Night Service Only, allows him to mentor up-and-coming artists like Greg Bahary, Steve Angelo, and many others did for him.
So let’s revisit our first question. Did Carlos Cid get lucky? Or did his passion, preparation, and unquenchable desire to learn set him down a path and forge relationships that would give him potential opportunities—opportunities he has undoubtedly made the most of? It just might be the latter.