Rony Seikaly is a former NBA star for the Miami Heat from the mid 90s but since his retirement, he has DJ’d around the world at iconic venues like Space Miami, SXM Festival, Pacha Ibiza, and many many more, as well as establishing his deep house label STRIDE as one of the top deep house labels over the last 3 years, featuring the likes of Matthias Tanzmann, Bedouin, Manu Gonzalez, Audiofly, Sabb, Harry Romero and more.

We sat down with him recently to discuss the switch from sports star to dj, his M.O for his label STRIDE, and how the last year has been for him on a personal level…

Hey, Rony, how has this year been for you personally?

We are just waiting for things to open, spending a lot of time in the studio. Thank God that Miami has been open to test out some of the tracks and and so far so good.

Does it feel like things are close to back to normal in Miami?

Yeah, pretty much Miami’s been open for a few months already now and things are back to normal here. Clubs are open and life is back to what it used to be. A lot of people have come to Miami to have fun at the party and stuff like that, so Miami’s definitely been on the forefront of opening and getting our lives back together.

Have you made different music because of the lockdown and the lack of gigs?

I don’t know if I made different music, I just made a lot of music and I’ve been really productive with this time we’ve been given, and looking forward to sharing it with everyone hopefully soon 🙂

What did you learn about yourself during the last year?

That I enjoy being with myself and my company and doing the things that I love and the things that I want to give time to, without the pressures of having to be on a plane or flying or being other places. And without that time to reflect, I would have never known that I could actually have a lot of fun being with myself.

Your label STRIDE has been flying for the last couple of years, what’s the outlook for the label? What music are you curating?

The outlook is to keep going, to keep putting out good music and to grow the label as much as we can. We curate good music, when I started making music and giving it to different labels, it never kind of was accepted by different labels because it doesn’t conform to their specific style, what they’re looking for. So I just wanted to have a label that actually just puts out good music, regardless of the genre. And good music is good music always.

Did you watch the last dance? How do you feel about it as a former NBA player?

I absolutely watched the last dance, actually I made a track about it that’s coming out soon. It’s called The Last Dance. I was in a few of those Michael Jordan highlights in the background. So you know, these were my years, and I know those years very well and I knew Michael very well and how he plays, so everything that I saw is exactly what I thought.

Do you miss anything, particularly from those old days as far as your new musical career?

No, I don’t miss anything about it. I did that since I was a very young kid and I had my time. You know, it was a great time but I don’t live in the past. You just have to kind of move on and see what’s next for you, because athletes retire at 35, 36, 37 years old, and then they have a whole life in front of them. So if you don’t plan on your second gig and what you’re going to do, you’re going to have a lot of empty time on your hand.

Were you partying back then going out to clubs during your playing days?

I’ve always had a club in my house and always loved music and always DJ’d. You know, music was a big part of my life before I started basketball, during basketball and after basketball, so nothing has changed for me. I obviously wouldn’t stay out late nights and stuff but music was always a big part of it.

Do you now get the same adrenaline rush from DJing?

It’s two completely different things. I mean sports you need a lot of talent and you need a lot of patience, you’ve got a row of reporters, you’re on television, everybody’s criticising the pressure is 6000 times more than DJing. DJing is whether you’ve got a good ear or not, and whether people like your music and what you’re playing or not. So music is very subjective. Some people love the music and some people may not but as an athlete, people want consistency and wanting the best out of you every single night, and that’s not subjective. They want to see hard work and they want you to succeed.

Tell us about your video posting with Shaq talking and beats underneath?

Shaq has been just a great guy all around, he mentions my name all the time about a few things. We’ve had a great rivalry going back to our playing days and he’s also a DJ who loves music. And you know, he mentioned me in that video, and I’ve made a track, whether I release it or not, I’m not sure yet but it’s definitely a track that I’ll be playing.

What are you working on now?

I consistently keep working. I mean, I just find different inspirations to do things so whatever that inspiration is that day I’ll work on it and see if I can come up with something.

What have you missed most during the last this last year?

Just being with with my family and friends I haven’t seen in so long. Especially the ones living in Europe and stuff like that. It will be a good time to see everybody again. It’s been a long break for sure.

What will the first track you will play when you play to a proper crowd again?

I mean, it’s so sad and I have no idea really, it depends on the timing of the day, depends on the crowd. It depends on so many different factors. But I’m one of those guys that predominantly plays my own tracks. So everything I play is often something I’ve made. So depending on the vibe and and who plays before me and stuff like that will be the track that I’ll be playing.

Thanks for having me guys and wish all the readers well for the rest of this year and beyond 🙂

Rony’s “Mila” is out now on his STRIDE Records
Grab it here