PETALING JAYA: Lawrence Anthony Paramanathan loves music. Although he fancies a range of genres such as disco, hip-hop and techno, he also enjoys the Bee Gees, Tina Turner, Donna Summer, and Michael Jackson – choices that may be surprising for some.
This is because Lawrence is only 12 years old. Yet, he has already been recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) as being the youngest disc jockey in the country.
So, how did this young man, who goes by the stage name DJ Lollipop, get started?
“In October 2020, my father asked me if I wanted to become a DJ as his friend, Dave Ramana, runs the SoundKontrols DJ Academy in Petaling Jaya. I said yes because I wanted to try something new and pick up a skill that isn’t easy,” he told FMT.
Finding himself enjoying the classes, Lawrence decided to continue after the beginner course, progressing to advanced lessons that included remix production and turntablism – the art of manipulating sounds and creating new music, effects, mixes and other creative noises and beats.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, the Year 7 student at STARS International School began doing live shows with Ramana on Facebook at the end of 2020.
“I was very nervous during my first show and thought I would mess up. But I did pretty well and grew more confident in the subsequent shows,” he said with a smile.
It was during one of these shows that he was inspired to use the name “lollipop”.
“When I was younger, I used to ask my godmother for lollipops. During a show, she typed out ‘DJ Lollipop’ in the comment section. I found it catchy and decided to use it!”
His reputation grew through word of mouth and he started receiving requests to perform at birthday parties and weddings, as well as Deepavali and Christmas gatherings.
And on March 12, Lawrence made his mark in the MBR as the country’s youngest DJ.
“During the assessment, I played for 90 minutes, incorporating three different mixing techniques using a mixer as well as digital and analogue vinyl. I took 30 minutes for each mixing technique,” Lawrence explained.
His father, Kenneth Ravi Paramanathan, told FMT he was very proud of his son, especially since Ramana “set a very challenging standard for the MBR assessment criteria, and Lawrence achieved it”.
Apart from deejaying, Lawrence’s other passion is martial arts – namely Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Capoeira.
“I started with Jiu-Jitsu when I was four, and Capoeira two years later. I love it because it makes me feel very energetic,” he said with a smile.
To date, Lawrence has travelled to Sabah and Singapore to participate in Jiu-Jitsu competitions. In fact, it is a family affair as both his parents and brother, 15-year-old Alexander Augustine, practise the martial art.
When he grows up, Lawrence hopes to become a radio announcer while spinning music part-time. Asked if he has a message to inspire other young people, he replied: “Anything is possible. A person’s age and size do not matter.”
Saying he is “happy and satisfied”, Lawrence added he was grateful to his parents and Ramana for introducing him to the world of deejaying.
‘Support your children’s passion’
His mother, Alicia Maria Pereira, shared how she and her husband have seen positive changes in their son since he started down this road.
“Before, when you asked about his ambition, he would say he was too young and didn’t know. Now he is thinking about his future, which is good,” she said.
“He also used to be very restless and could never stay quiet. But since he started deejaying, he has become very focused and more mature.”
Being a DJ has made Lawrence more confident. Performing at functions – especially those with hundreds in attendance – might be daunting for some, but the boy has not had the jitters.
“Instead, he gets excited and can’t wait to start,” Pereria said warmly.
Kenneth, 51, further spends time listening to other DJs and music from all over the world, compiling tracks for his son. “We go through them together, and then he sets up his playlist.”
He and his wife believe it is important to encourage children when it comes to their passions. “Do not force them into doing something that is your dream instead of theirs,” Pereira said.
Added Kenneth: “If they fail, they may become rebellious as it’s not what they wanted in the first place. Instead, support them in what they love to do.”