The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Meet Spencer Davis, the DJ at this year’s NCAA Wrestling Championships

Growing up in Kansas City, Davis has DJ’ed at several marquee events like the Super Bowl and World Series.
Cody Blissett
DJ Spencer Davis or “DJ Spencer D” practices before the final session of the NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday, March 23, 2024.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Spencer Davis was 13 years old, he just wanted to be “the cool kid at the party.”

He didn’t know how to dance, so he started teaching himself how to mix music. He burned CDs and started working the DJ booth at his high school dances, eventually adopting the stage name “DJ Spencer D.”

Davis has been the DJ at marquee events like the World Series, Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and has emceed over 200 weddings.

Something he had never experienced until this weekend, however, was DJ’ing the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Davis, who played safety for Kansas football from 2004-06 and then Avila University from 2006-08, has been into sports his whole life but never watched wrestling growing up.

“The hard part about wrestling is that at other games, I know what I’m supposed to play. I know this timeout is coming, or in basketball, you know that there’s under-16 and under-12 timeout, so you know to be ready,” Davis said. “For this, I have no idea what’s going on. It’s like alright, let’s go type of thing, which is fun.”

When Davis played football for Kansas he wasn’t allowed to have an outside job. So he and a few teammates “snuck around to go make money” and were hired as “door guys” in Westport, a neighborhood in Kansas City “renowned for its vibrant nightlife, featuring a diverse array of bars, live music venues, and clubs.”

One night, Davis was working the door at a bar and took advantage of an opportunity that would soon change the course of his life.

The DJ who was supposed to play at the bar forgot his CDs. Davis had his stack of burned CDs with him and offered to play music.

“They’re like ‘We have nobody else, so good luck, it is what it is,'” Davis said. “Every bar in America has a song list where it’s like, do not play any of these songs — I played every one.”

Davis said the staff told him he did great, but if he agreed to never play songs from that “do not play” list again, he could be hired as a resident DJ. This means he would become part of the staff at the bar, unlike a guest artist, who works as a freelancer and can play music at several different clubs.

While being a resident DJ, staff from the Power and Light District, a neighborhood home to the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City,  found Davis and told him they wanted him to open up all the bars in the district.

“So I would go to each party, DJ, open it, train a DJ, and then go to the next bar and open up that one,” Davis said.

Unlike when Davis was 13, there is now computer software that makes DJ’ing a lot easier. With this software that helps track the beats per minute and bass lines in songs, along with other features, Davis said he could teach someone how to DJ in two weeks if the person is dedicated.

Davis’ next big step in his career came when he got a call from Kansas University asking him to DJ at Late Night in the Phog, an annual “midnight madness” event where more than 16,000 fans pack into Allen Fieldhouse to watch the Jayhawk men and women’s basketball teams hold scrimmages to kick off the season.

“I did it, and they were like ‘This is great. We want to have more of this environment,’” Davis said. “So I stayed there and did basketball, and then they were like ‘We want to do in-game football, basketball, baseball,’ so I did all that.”

When Kansas played an NCAA Tournament game “five or six years ago” at the T-Mobile Center, formerly known as the Sprint Center, Davis was DJ’ing. The arena staff liked the energy Davis brought to the building, and ever since then, have asked him to be the DJ anytime there’s an event.

Eventually, the Chiefs called Davis.

Yes, that’s the two-time reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs we’re talking about.

Growing up in Kansas City, Davis has always been a huge Chiefs fan and didn’t hesitate to say yes to being their in-game DJ.

Davis said there’s a notable difference between playing music at a bar versus an event like the Super Bowl or NCAA Wrestling Tournament.

“At [sporting events], not only do you have to hear the song play and cue the next song up, but then you got someone screaming at you saying, ‘Alright, five seconds we’re doing this. Seven seconds we’re doing this. Are you ready?’”

Outside of mixing tunes himself, Davis is the owner of Vinyl and Vino Entertainment, “the Midwest’s leading wedding and event DJ and photo booth service,” according to the website.

“Spencer is so personable and made planning so much fun!” Taylor Latham wrote under Vinyl and Vino Entertainment’s Google reviews a year ago. “Spencer really brought the evening to the next level, and we continuously get comments from people about how awesome the DJ was!”

Latham’s review is one of many raving about Davis’ skills and personality. He has also won many awards for his party-throwing abilities, including “Best DJ in Kansas City” by the Pitch and the No. 46 best party-throwing DJ across the United States by DJ MAG and The Marquee.

Davis said a lot of DJs in Kansas City can be “assholes” and “think they’re cooler than they are,” so he prides himself in being an easy person to work with.

“There are DJs out there that are technically better than I ever will be. But, they don’t know how to talk to somebody, and they don’t know how to have the business acumen to be able to bring it back and be able to talk to the producers and understand what’s going on,” Davis said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about who you know.”

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About the Contributors
Kenna Roering
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.