MAKJ: The Man, The DJ, The Artist

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From his early beginnings as a local bar mitzvah and wedding DJ, Mackenzie Johnson, also known as MAKJ, has quickly become one of the most desired talents in the EDM world.

Though his rise to the known seemed to be over night, I personally have followed MAKJ since his late 2012 remixes of Trinidad James’s “All Gold Everything” and Drop the Lime’s “No Sleep for the Weekend.” His style of popular vocal edits, big room energy, and club-bumping drops caught my attention upon first listen.

To put his journey to stardom into perspective, he was slotted to close a stage typically designated for lesser-known artists and local acts at Ultra Music Festival Miami, in 2012. Yet upon my visit to the first Tomorrowworld in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia this past September, he opened the main stage on the final day of the festival.

For those that do not know, Tomorrowworld is held “on eight stages staggered around 500 acres of scenic land at Bouckaert Farm along the Chattahoochee River in south Fulton County.”

Unfortunately for him, the sun was excruciatingly hot during his 12:30 p.m. set time. This left those of us who trekked from Dreamville’s Tent City after only a few hours of “sleep” searching for shade for a good portion of his hour DJ mix.

We were prepared with our handheld, misting fan, which kept us cool for five minutes of dancing directly in front of the colossal stage measuring roughly 133 yards long, 90 feet tall, and resembling a bookshelf. Around us, roughly 30 people were also sizzling like bacon (I mean dancing) and deserved much recognition since none seemed to be holding misting fans.


Later in the night, we scurried to catch Hardwell on the same main stage. During his set, MAKJ appeared beside him and the two previewed their brand-new track “Countdown.” “Countdown” would end up at the top of the Beatport charts for quite a few weeks and, in a way, would catapult him into the limelight as not only a traveled DJ, but also an established Artist.

Looking past MAKJ the artist, Mackenzie Johnson has definitely followed the road less traveled. During his younger years, he was a professional race-car driver overseas.

“I started out racing go-karts when I was ten. As I got better and older, I started entering more regional competitions and won some races. By the time I was around 14 or 15; I got a chance to race professional for BMW junior-level formula racecars and won the championship here in the States. This led to some really great opportunities to race overseas in Bahrain and China with a lot of international kids. So I ended up moving to Asia to pursue this career path, won some cool races and ended up racing for GP2, which is a two-steps below Formula One racing. But then, I had to quit because… it’s a little embarrassing to say…but I just got too tall,” MAKJ told Vibe in an October 2013 interview.

Now only 23 years young and having already accomplished so much within the EDM industry, I am sure the future will be filled with lots of humongous, MAKJ tunes.

Photo Cred: @Kengoallnight