The Rocks Off 200: Donnie Houston, Halftime Entertainment
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Donnie Houston is a producer and DJ who, fittingly, was born and raised in Houston. This Houston Press Music Awards nominee (Best Producer) was first introduced to music by his mother and older sister, who played him all the music from their eras -- Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and other legends of the '60s and '70s from Mama Houston; Donnie's older sister chimed in with '80s hip-hop.
Photos by Marco Torres Donnie Houston during an interview with D-Solo of "Street Flava."
"I actually remember her going to the store with me and buying my first rap cassette," he says of Run-DMC's Tougher Than Leather album. "It's because of those influences that I eventually started DJing in around the year 2000 and later picked up producing in 2006."
Home Base: Houston works in and out of various clubs and studios around the city, producing and collaborating with a number of local hip-hop names including Propain, Doughbeezy, Delo, Killa Kyleon and many others. He has also worked on his own video series entitled "Donnie Houston's Mic Check," which is available on YouTube.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "I contemplated leaving Houston a couple of times, but I have a lot going on here," Donnie says. "I've been able to build some great relationships and I think that Houston is a great place to live. I've been to a lot of other cities and they all have something different to offer, but Houston is home."
At the end of 2012 I found myself questioning my future in music. Things weren't necessarily going bad, but I felt like I may be spinning my wheels with the whole idea of having a real career in music. I was seriously considering moving to New York and starting over. I knew a few people out there and I was going to make that move, not really having a plan other than to start a new life and put music to the side.
January 2013 rolls around and I get a call about an opportunity to work with a new, young artist named Young Marqus. They were proposing that I work with him as his DJ and that we would be doing a lot of traveling. The first gig that they needed me for was BET's 106 & Park. I was kinda surprised but I took it as God telling me not to throw in the towel just yet.
We did 106 and that experience really changed my outlook on things. I'd always wanted to do something like that and I knew that the opportunity wasn't presented to me for no other reason than to prove that I had a calling to really do this. I haven't doubted myself since.
Story continues on the next page.