We had the good fortune of connecting with Dreana Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dreana, what role has risk played in your life or career?
We’re taught that life is supposed to be lived a certain way. Go to school. Get good grades. Graduate with a high GPA and go to college. Intern then graduate with a corporate job lined up. All of this without question or deviation. But once we reach adulthood, life is really all about taking risks. Calculated risks – but risks nonetheless. You never know what’s on the other side of a risk when you’re betting on yourself and following your dreams. When you think about the greats in the world and what they accomplished – think about the risks they must have taken. I wouldn’t know who I am, if not for taking personal and professional risks and pushing my own limits. When I went full force with DJing, it was something I enjoyed and it came natural to me as a music lover. But investing time, money and energy into perfecting my skill was a risk. I started off in a “hole in the wall” lounge on the south side of Chicago. Now, when I reflect on how far I’ve come, I think about how critical of a first step in my journey that “hole in the wall” was.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I believe that life is written and everything happens for a reason. I’ve learned that having faith, believing in yourself and trusting in God gets you 75% of the way there. Then, work. Work your butt off despite the challenges that will inevitably occur. When I was met with challenges, I always worked for my dream. And I continue to work and build my dream. Because as I like to say it, life is going to life. Challenges are going to come. And everything we go through is meant to make us better. So, here’s my advice to others chasing their dreams like me: when things happen, it’s all about your attitude. React like you’re going places, because you are!
In the end, I strive to make people smile. To make people dance. I inspire positivity, and I influence culture in ways that I hope make my community and the world better.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
“To relax my mind so I can be free… To keep me flowing and keep me going… Taking away your worries and cares, Any problems music will be right there, Together match yo, we a perfect pair… Music is my heart and soul, More precious than gold, Happiness today is just a song away.” These are a few lyrics from “Music,” by Erick Sermon, sampling Marvin Gaye. Like Erick, I shout out music itself. It’s a central and driving force in my life and a shared experience that connects me to everyone and everything else. Because of music, I’m able to DJ – and that’s powerful for me because I use my brand platform to inspire. Music is one of the best ways to inspire.
- Aside from music, there are a few others I must recognize in my journey and success. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Choprah has had a tremendous impact on my life and career. After I read it, things progressed exponentially. I began to see more opportunities to DJ that have only continued to level up. I’ve worked with the mayor of Chicago and have traveled internationally to do what I love. I also recognize my experience at the University of Missouri where I found my voice & purpose. That journey was the beginning of my platform that I’ve built around inspiration and connecting people. Importantly, shout out to Chicago! Forever my home, Chicago has influenced my perspective, process and progress. It’ll always be a part of my brand and my story because it’s such a huge part of me. And of course, I must acknowledge my support system. The ones I have always been able to call when I am not at my best. They listen to me, understand me, and accept me for me. I couldn’t ask for better people in my life.
Tara Gray Antoinette Ballard