What's Up South Texas!: Young DJ inspires others his age to pursue their individual passions

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter, Jennifer Galvan - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Music has always been a part of one San Antonio kid's life, which is why he is using his passion to DJ for the sake of inspiring other kids to do anything they put their minds to.

Abram Estrada, 11, started with this passion when he was much younger than what he is now.

"It started when I was 3 or 4 and my dad was making music," Estrada said. "He went on break or something and I saw his piano and started playing."

"I left the computer recording and then I heard this playing on the piano," said Eric Estrada, Abram Estrada's dad. "It wasn’t a banging or anything, so I thought it was my wife and I called out and it was just me and Abram.

“When I turned around he looked at me and walked out as if he didn’t do anything. I stopped the recording and listened and thought it was pretty progressive," Eric Estrada said. "I was writing a bunch of music around his piano line and a lot of people liked it and they would be like 'That is him?' (Abram) would be like 'That’s me!'"

At first, Abram Estrada's parents started realizing this newfound love through his body movements.

"He was just very active but always tapping, humming and moving around to the beat," said Cynthia Delapena, Abram Estrada's mother. "At first, I thought maybe we should look into this but then Eric was like, 'No, I think he is counting beats.'"

"That was like his thing," Eric Estrada said. "While listening to music in the car or somewhere, he'd wait and be like, 'No not yet!' Then he would '1 2 3 and boom.' So that was his thing. To be able to feel the beat when it was just going to naturally come in."

From watching documentaries to closely learning from his dad, who was also seasoned in the music industry, Abram Estrada started searching for ways to not only practice on all the DJ equipment they have at their home but also looking for places to serve his community.

"In elementary school for fourth grade, I did the dance and talent show there," Abram Estrada said. "This year, I was also the DJ for the eighth-graders' formal dance. The biggest event I did was at Morgan's Wonderland (and) it was filled with people. I did my sister’s birthday parties, my birthday parties, and 'Chalk It Up.'"

Abram said being able to serve his community through music is a blessing for him.

"I have a bunch of songs. More than 1,000. So, I would be like, 'What is my first song? What am I going to play after that? What key is it in?' So, it makes me rant but then I figure out what the kind of crowd kind of wants. It feels amazing to know a lot of people like what you are doing," Abram Estrada said. "So, like once you get an entire crowd pumped up, then you think, 'Hey! What I did worked!'"

"You know, you are always proud of your babies, right," said Delapena. "But, when you see other people take notice of them, you're like, 'We really got something here. He's dancing. He's pumped up. His arms are in the air. I'm like sometimes it is a workout just watching him!'"

While focusing on music as a DJ, Abram also plays piano and the violin and he builds rockets while maintaining an AB honor roll. He also decided to come up with a clever name as a DJ.

"I wanted it to be 'DJ Axis' but someone already has that name so I decided to go with 'DJ AXE6,'" said Abram Estrada. "It is my initials: Abram Xzavier Estrada with the number 6."

Abram Estrada also has a two-hour radio show he does for a local radio station to show off his skills.

Abram said his main purpose for doing what he does is to inspire other children, especially in the Latino community, to follow their own individual passions.

"You don’t have to do sports,” Abram Estrada said. "You don’t have to do the spelling bee or talent shows. You don’t have to do that. You do what you want to do. It makes me feel good that I am being pushed to do my dreams when some people’s parents don’t even care what their dreams are and want them to do a certain thing their parents want them to do."

His parents are beyond proud of their son.

"He wants to inspire those children to do anything they want," said Delapena. "He wants to encourage all to know they don’t have to be mainstream. You can be a local Latino and say, 'Look what I can do!' And do much more."

They said the sacrifices they have made so Abram Estrada can one day be the biggest DJ is worth it.

"Though it is a sacrifice, we look at it as a blessing to be able to harvest his dreams and aspirations," Delapena said. "We don’t have a formal dining room. Our house is not traditional. There is equipment all over the place and often times we are tripping over it."

"He likes to tell everyone, 'My dad is my roadie!' He said we have switched places now," Eric Estrada said. "When I used to DJ, it would be my family helping me with the cables and stuff and Abram would just want to hang out afterwards and watch. Now we are the ones helping him set up everything."

The family said the goal is also to get the younger community out and passionate about doing something kids wouldn’t normally see themselves doing.

"We are trying to get over that stigma that children cannot do this," Eric Estrada said. "They can do this and learn and make it better. We also want other parents to know that you can nurture those passions of your children. That is what we are called to do."

Abram Estrada has several different gigs coming up including Fiesta. He said serving his community through his skills makes him a better professional in the long run.

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