Discovering the DJ dream

Maize High Student Josh Panlilio discovers his love for being a DJ through support from his family


Illustration by Leah Brown

Maize High sophomore Josh Panlilio has been surrounded with the influence of music since he was a baby. “I just love music, and there are like two other family members who are DJ’s, so I think this picture is so cool, especially for the love of DJ’ing I have as of today,” Panlilio said.

Leah Brown, Reporter

Maize High sophomore Josh Panlilio was only four-years-old when his mom installed an app on her phone.  She noticed Panlilio’s passion for music just as a toddler,  listening to his family often playing music around him.

Ever since then, Panlilio has been DJ’ing for a decade now at weddings, dances and parties.  He typically emcees at big events like weddings or big parties with around 150 party guests, and even for school dances ranging from 400-1000 people.

Panlilio couldn’t be more appreciative of his parents’ support, and most importantly, their help. 

“My parents have helped me tremendously, they got me started out with buying me my equipment, and just their unconditional love and support,” Panlilio said. 

His first official live event was four years ago for a Cancer Awareness party in Philadelphia in August of 2019.  Panlilio felt many different emotions, since it was his first gig. He invites the party guests to suggest different songs, and he usually will play them, but he plays everything from all genres.

His parents were ecstatic when he booked his first event celebrating a Breast Cancer survivor and knew he would continue DJing as much as possible.

“I was very excited because it was my first gig that I got paid for, but it was also stressful because I did not want to mess up such an important event,” Panlilio said. “My favorite genre is EDM which is Electronic dance music, but I like everything, because I play everything.”

Panlilio dj’s the 2023 Maize High Prom on Saturday, April 14 at The Cotillion Ballroom. He’s performed at weddings, birthday parties, family gatherings and this was his first prom gig.

His mom, Sheryll, was ecstatic when he booked his first event celebrating a Breast Cancer survivor and knew he would continue DJing as much as possible.

For Panlilio, being a DJ is more than just a hobby. It’s become a passion that he can entertain not only himself, but others as well. 

“Hobbies are things you do for fun, but the passion I have for what I do is not only just because I like it, but because I want to pursue it further into it,” Panlilio said. “I get paid for what I love, which is amazing,” Panlilio said.

Panlilio researched extensively different types of equipment he wanted to use before purchasing so he could make sure it is reliable enough to use. Ultimately, it helped him predict what steps he needed to take to get his DJing rolling. He knew the investment would be worth it in the long run.

He charges a variety of costs for different events, depending on whether the event is small or large and where it’s at.

“For small events like backyard parties, I charge anywhere from $30-$50 dollars an hour, but for big events like prom and weddings, it is about $100 dollars, and those prices include setting-up and taking-down prices,” Panlilio said. 

Different types of challenges like organizing gigs, making sure equipment works properly, and other communication and people challenges have popped up along Panlilio’s journey, but he has had his proud moments that have pushed him through the struggles.

“When you start something new, you can always expect different challenges, but what I have experienced has been things like gaining gigs in general, transporting equipment with a trailer, and I told a lot of people about how I want to be a DJ,” Panlilio said. “But they thought ‘oh it’s just a kid’s dream’ but they soon realized that I am serious about it.”

Panlilio gained connections all around the U.S., with many who have helped his name and recognition get around on social media. His social media is where he advertises the most, which is where Maize High STUCO discovered him. From all of the events he DJ’s at, it helps him earn more money to help him build his inventory and equipment even more.

After high school, he hopes to pursue a career digging deeper into the DJ field, as well as going to college for a degree in Cybersecurity.

“I hope to go from just regular events to clubs, bars, and stages, but one of my future goals is to go to college and get a Cybersecurity degree,” Panlilio said. 

His parents aren’t just proud of what he has accomplished so far in his young career, but the respectful person he has become as a whole.

“We always motivate him to be better than he was the day before. We remind him to have fun, never give up and try his best.”

The best way to contact Josh Panlilio and the best way to set up an event with him is to reach out through social media.

Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 917-399-0556
TikTok – 917josh_
Instagram – dj_917josh