Story by Jefawn Evans | Photos by Amber Ritschel
When the lights go off, the Cats come out.
The commentator introduces the players, one by one. Then a hype song starts to play, and players and fans dance.
Everyone knows the introduction song played at every game, as Rapper Young Thug’s voice blazes over the loud speaker: “Everything litty, I love when it’s hot,” as smoke and fireworks go off.
Most people’s eyes are on the players, but what about the person behind the players? You know, the one playing the music to get everyone hyped up?
That’s DJ Warren Peace.
Many Lexington residents probably know who DJ Warren Peace is: the guy with the really cool shoes who DJs the basketball games.
But they might not know Warren Edwards— Warren Edwards the son, the brother, the friend. The Warren Edwards who doesn’t go out to bars unless he’s DJing. The Warren Edwards who doesn’t drink, and who would rather listen to something soulful than the hip hop and R&B music he plays all day, every day.
Behind the DJ booth stands a man with a story— of hope and inspiration, of hard work and dedication, of love, good vibes and positive energy.
Warren Edwards moved to Kentucky at the age of five. He was an only child and grew up with just his mother. Even at the tender age of five, Edwards knew he loved music.
“My mother has pictures of me as a child with headphones on,” Edwards said. “I know that if she couldn’t get me to settle down and she put music on, I [calmed down] immediately.”
But it wasn’t until growing up that Edwards knew just how much music would get him through. Edwards’ life wasn’t always easy; his mother left his father when Edwards was a baby. They moved to three different states in just five years. His life was never really stable, and he has even experienced homelessness.
“I’ve never lived in a house for more than a year or two… I’ve been homeless multiple times and never slept in my own bed until I was about 13 years old,” Edwards said. “I lived on a couch just to make it happen… just because of money.”
Although Edwards’ life wasn’t always perfect, he did not let his struggle define him. Instead, his love for music is what got him through those rough nights.
“As a child when you’re 10, 11, 12 and going through things, I mean, music was a way for me to do that, music played a big part in me coping with some of that stuff for sure,” he said.
Edwards’ professional love for music took off when he began DJing in high school while working part-time at a record store. After graduating from high school, he decided to become a Wildcat. He attended the University of Kentucky as an elementary education major; however, he knew that wasn’t where his heart was, and he decided to take another path, one that involved music.
He is now the official University of Kentucky DJ. He DJs at every basketball and football game and for many other sports, too.
“When I was a kid I didn’t go to games… because I was poor, so I didn’t have that opportunity,” Edwards said. “And now it’s like I go to every game and I’m a piece and a part of the puzzle, which is kind of cool you know.”
Not only that, but he also DJs for many events around Lexington, like UK homecoming, frat parties, birthday parties, UK student org events, and so much more. On the weekends, he also DJs at Lexington’s hottest nightclubs and bars. From Sunday to Sunday, sun up to sun down, music is a part of Edwards’ life.
“I just love music. I’m able to express myself creatively, listen to it all the time, and apply it in different ways in my life and for that I’m thankful,” he said.
Edwards isn’t just a lover of music, he’s a lover of many things— including, of course, his mother. He and his mom are really close since he grew up just the two of them.
“I love my mom probably more than anything in the world, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my mother,” Edwards said. “She’s probably the reason why I stayed in Kentucky this long, because my mother is here.”
His mom isn’t the only one he considers close family, though. Edwards has a tightknit group of friends, and a few of those friends he considers his brothers. They support Edwards at every game and every event, and can always be seen close by.
Edwards also loves fashion. He believes if he wasn’t a DJ he would have a career in fashion. Here in Lexington, Edwards is heavily involved with the shoe store Oneness and creates many of his own pieces.
In his free time, however, Edwards is a laid-back dude. He doesn’t drink or smoke, and he doesn’t like to listen to much hip-hop music either. He would rather hear something soulful. Edwards is all about radiating good energy and positive vibes in life, and that’s something he holds dear to him.
“I just try to be a ray of light for people, to be positive and not complain, and try to show as much love as I possibly can,” Edwards said. “I feel like that’s important… just try to radiate what I want back.
“I want to make sure people know that money isn’t everything and that you can do anything that you want to do… don’t listen to people when they say no because literally pretty much everyone around you at some point is going to say you shouldn’t do this or you can’t do that, but like at the end of the day when you lay down and close your eyes, you know what you’re supposed to be doing, you know what you’re capable of doing. And if everyone was in tune with that, we’d be in a whole lot better situation.”
As far as what’s next for Edwards, he said he just wants to better himself each and every day.
“I want to be stronger and do better than yesterday, that’s all I ever do even if it’s just a smidge better, as long as the scale is going up and not down,” Edwards said. “I want to make sure that I’m trying to maintain balance every day with workloads, with family, with love, spirituality, everything. I feel like in terms of my life and my family I give pride to that I did what I said I was going to do, I didn’t get to where I was cheating, blackmailing, stealing, or lying, I was honest and therefore I feel like I’ll get all that good energy back.”