His name is Thomas Wesley Pentz, but you might know him a little better as Diplo.
He’s a festival headliner, successful producer for many of music’s biggest names, the owner of a successful record label and a dad to two adorable boys all at the same time.
Born in Tulepo, Mississippi, Pentz grew up in South Florida and spent his days at his dad’s bait shop. He originally wanted to become a palaeontologist, but ended up going to school to study film. He went to a few Florida colleges, and then ended up going to Japan for a bit for a change of scenery. From there, he sent a demo to Will Ashton of Big Dada Records, a UK-based hip hop label. The demo ended up getting him signed to the label, and then he moved back to Philadelphia where he completed his undergraduate degree.
During and after university in Philadelphia, Pentz worked as a social worker, after-school mentor, movie theatre employee, and DJ to support himself. All of this work to support himself wasn’t so good for his musical development, so finally, him and a good friend by the name of DJ Low Budget put their resources together to start their own club nights in Philadelphia. They called it “Hollertronix,” and it ended up being a hit.
Hollertronix started bringing people in from all over the East Coast, and developed into an underground subculture among the fans of the genre-bending music. Diplo and DJ Low Budget released their Never Scared mixtape together under the Hollertronix brand, and it took off, becoming one of the New York Times’ top albums in 2003.
Big Dada then went on to release Diplo’s solo debut album, Florida. However, it was UK artist M.I.A’s Piracy Funds Terrorism mixtape that really made Diplo known to the internet, and the world. It was that mixtape that brought M.I.A. outside of UK borders.
Diplo’s music has never sounded like more popular dance music, and he has always beat to the rhythm of his own drum. He has signed many world artists to his record label Mad Decent, and continues to support a variety of music from areas all over the world. Major Lazer is probably one of his most famous ventures, and is made up of Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire. They continue to push boundaries, bringing the unlikely combination of dancehall and rave culture to people all over the world. They’ve collaborated with artists like Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, and Justin Bieber – just to name a few.
Pentz also has a duo with fellow renown EDM producer, Skrillex. They go by the name of Jack Ü. They too bring a whole new sound to electronic music with the fusion of their genres.
With further production credits for Christina Aguilera, Shakira, Beyonce, and way more, Diplo has taken the world by storm. And he shows no signs of stopping.
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