Miami Beach

How One Woman Changed the DJ Game in South Florida

For decades, DJ Tracy Young has been at the center of South Florida's party scene, playing at the hottest clubs and working with the biggest names in music, including Beyoncé and Madonna. But being a woman in a male-dominated field hasn't been easy for the so-called "Queen of House Music."

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At her Miami home, DJ Tracy Young keeps the memories of a successful career, from thousands of vinyl records to the awards she has received.

"I have so many stories, I don't even know how to begin," she said. 

Tracy says music has been her passion since she was just a girl growing up in Washington D.C.

"From 10 years old, I knew I was going to be in the music industry," she said. "I just love music. That's all I know how to do."

It's easy to see Tracy's passion when she is at the DJ booth.

Courtesy: Tracy Young

"I get so much from the dance floor," she said. "If I'm feeling your energy, then I'm giving it right back. There is no secret to it, I'm just giving you what you are giving me."

It all began in the 90s at the center of Miami's nightlife: South Beach. 

"It was all those 17 blocks, first to 17, on South Beach. That's where all of it happened," she said. "I DJed all the hot clubs, I played in all the celebrity parties." 

But she admits making it in an industry that's constantly changing hasn't been easy.

"I remember when it was more about the dance floor and not about the corporate aspect," Tracy said.

Tracy with Alicia Keys (Courtesy: Tracy Young)

Another challenge: being a woman.

"Back in the day, you would do a demo tape, I would put it in a cassette tape and I would pass it out to nightclubs that I wanted to play out and people would be like, 'Girls don't do this,' you may consider doing something else," she recalled. "That made me angry and it fueled me."

Tracy has since made a name for herself in the music business, with over 60 No.1 Billboard club chart hits, 14 of them with no other than Madonna.

"She (Madonna) would frequent all these places and I kind of think that she single-handedly put Miami on the map," she said.

Tracy with Madonna (Courtesy: Tracy Young)

Her discography includes remixes with other big names in music including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, among others. 

Tracy with Rick Martin (Courtesy: Tracy Young)

She even had a collaboration with former first lady Michelle Obama for the song "This Is for My Girls."

NBC 6 hung out with Tracy Wednesday as the city of Miami Beach was honoring her career and music contribution to South Florida.  

"I didn't know the world could handle a Tracy Young Day," she said when asked about the Miami Beach proclamation. "It feels amazing."

She is also making history, becoming the first female producer and remixer to snag a Grammy nomination in the category of "Best Remixed Recording" for her original remix recording Madonna's single "I Rise."

Tracy with Emilio and Gloria Estefan (Courtesy: Tracy Young)

"I just cried like a baby, like I never in a million years thought that I would be nominated for a Grammy," she said.

For Tracy, it's a full-circle moment.

"It's surreal, I mean, I'm gonna cry right now actually," she said while fighting back tears. "It's just amazing to be recognized."

Tracy says she hopes to win that Grammy for her grandmother, who lost her battle to cancer when she was younger. 

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