The moment I sat down with Sanaris Peacock, I was immediately consumed by his happy, go-lucky energy and charismatic personality. Sanaris laughs a lot when he talks. It helped set the easygoing tone. He also likes to dance when he disc jockeys. It helps set the carefree and fun mood of his crowds.
So it comes as no surprise that Sanaris is one of the most sought-after DJs in Key West during the holidays. I recently saw a quote by the celebrity DJ Tiesto: “DJs are the new rock stars.” It could very well be true of Sanaris. He seems to be living in his moment right now, as he becomes better known around the local music circuit. In the past few weeks, Sanaris has played at the Marriott Beachside Christmas party, Star Wars premiere after party, Keys Collection season soiree and at Mary Ellen’s Whoville event, all-the-while keeping a day job.Despite his packed calendar, Sanaris retains a positive energy about him and it shows in his performances. Energy is important when it comes to controlling a room with just one click of the keyboard.
“I like watching people have fun and entertaining them,” Sanaris says. “It’s all about the crowd.
A sign of a good DJ is when people dance; as it happens, Sanaris likes to dance as much as his audience. In fact, Sanaris tells me that dancing is what brought him to DJing in the first place. It was back in “the good old days” of 2003 when he was on vacation in Key West for spring break. Days when the streets were ceremoniously closed down every night and all he did was dance, dance, dance. Eventually those memories propelled him to move to Key West and seek a job at Sloppy Joe’s, the historic American bar on Duval Street. When a DJ position soon opened up and he received an offer, he couldn’t resist letting music be the choice. He hasn’t looked back, building his experience ever since.
Sanaris now keeps a regular schedule of appearances at Dante’s Pool Bar & Restaurant, Mary Ellen’s, the Porch and the Other Side, and he is still performing consistently at Sloppy Joe’s. He also works with SoundWave, a wedding DJ service owned and operated by longtime party planners James and Joanna Cooper. Sanaris said the Coopers heavily influenced his career when he wasn’t quite sure of himself yet. He’s very thankful for their guidance.
His family was also a major influence.
“For me, being a DJ started with dancing. I grew up with a bunch of female cousins and a sister who were always into music videos, but I just wasn’t. I didn’t get into it until I was about 21,” he said. “But my family did love to dance though. There is always a dance off at family reunions.”
Sanaris was born and raised in a little town called Cordele, Ga, where there’s “not that much to do.”. Cordele has a population of about 11,000 residents and is known as the watermelon capital of the country.
“It was a great place to grow up, but I had to get out of there,” Sanaris said of his hometown.
So he enlisted in the Navy, for which he served seven years. Key West was the last location he was stationed; he fell in love with the island for and its unique, undeniable charm.
“I love the people here. Everyone is so friendly and there are so many more things to do than where I grew up. I know I’m from a small place, but we have so much more to do on our twoby four-mile island here.”
What kind of music does a DJ listen to on their own time?
“I like old school, the funk and some of the ’90s girl jams like Britney and Christina,” he said without a glint of hesitation.
And what should people know about DJs that they might otherwise not?
“That we are nice people. Some people think of us as pretentious, but we’re not. And don’t be afraid to talk to us and make requests, because we are here for you. The best way I love to get a request is through technology by showing me a picture of it, and the best thing that I could hear is someone say ‘we had so much fun, we didn’t want to leave!’”
Watch out for the DJs, Key West, cause they are what’s happening. They always have been. ¦