What do a touring DJ and a real estate mogul have in common? Everything, in this case. Marc Rousso’s unusual career arc is one of the more unique progressions, beginning with dominating the college dance music scene, then establishing and successful growth of a real estate company, and finally returning to dance music. Now a major player in the funky and jackin’ house music scenes, Marc is currently ranked within the top 10 DJs on Beatport. Having released his productions on notorious labels, including God Made Me Funky and Rawtone.
“I’m very blessed that I get to build beautiful homes and, by night, I get to have fun again and just have my passion for DJing and producing music,” he tells me with a confident warmth. “It’s what I do to ease my stress, to calm any nerves that I have. I absolutely love it and I’m so glad that I’ve remade it into my story. It has made me a better CEO. It’s about having a vision of where I want to go.”
It seems a surprising combination, but there is perhaps some science to the winning combination. After all, David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, is set to DJ at the coming Lollapalooza festival after pursuing the career alongside his, undoubtedly different, day job. Marc enlightens me that the correlation between artists’ and businessmen’s successes lies perhaps in the sheer drive required.
“As a DJ, you are the CEO of that business. You run every aspect of that business. There’s marketing, there’s finance, there’s a lot of grit. There’s fostering relationships. For me, I’ve used all the keys to success that helped me become who I am today in the CEO role of building houses to succeed in the CEO role of being a DJ. It’s never a straight line toward success, there’s always zigs and zags and self-doubt. There’s doors that are slammed and questioning whether it’s the right thing to do. It can be all within a month or two. It’s no different to being an entrepreneur. The best entrepreneurs are the ones that are able to not let the lows take them out of the game. There’s been times I’ve been pursuing DJing where I was really low and feeling like I was never going to get where I wanted to go. But the other part of me was saying, Marc, you’ve overcome more as the CEO of this housing business during the recession.”
Certainly, the long pause in Marc’s DJing career between his college days and his return about twenty years later affords him a fascinating perspective on the scene. He describes the need for drive as fiercer than ever, perhaps explaining his story to date.
“‘The two most important factors of success - no matter what you decide that you want to do: hussle, willing to outwork the next person, and fostering relationships whilst being authentic in those relationships. Those two factors are the key to whatever you want to end up doing in life.”
As much as Marc is willing to work to succeed, so is he willing to work to help others succeed. His success in both fields has made him anything but self-absorbed, which becomes obvious as he asks me about my own career with genuine enthusiasm for my successes. And, to speak like a businessman myself for a moment, Marc puts his money where his mouth is. His newly launched label, Charité Records, is 100% non-profit and donates all profits to Friends of the Children - Seattle. The organization provides children from under-privileged backgrounds across the US and the UK a consistent mentor throughout the years, with a particular focus on fighting systemic racism.
The label’s music reflects its positive attitude, with Marc telling me, “All three songs have some sentimental and emotional appeal for me.”
Indeed, the label’s first song, “Coffee in the Morning,” is an uplifting, feel-good, easy listener that has already proved popular. The next “Dance,” a celebration of the return to dancefloors following the years of quarantine, remixed by none other than Roger Sanchez.
Behind the unusual facade of a businessman, there is an overarching message of hope throughout Marc’s music and his mission.
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