DJ Melvin Celebrates 50th Birthday And 30 Years As Open Format DJ
By James Coulter
He’s a little bit country. And he’s a little bit rock ‘n roll. He’s a little bit R&B, with a little bit of Latin in his soul.
From pop and hip-hop to country and electronica, DJ Melvin Rios plays a little bit of everything and anything through his venue Next Level Entertainment.
Whether you’re hosting a wedding, birthday party, or quinceanera, if you have a particular musical taste, DJ Melvin can play it for you.
His diverse music selection allows him to “accommodate your music preferences with relative ease”, as his website claims. And with his ability as an “open format DJ” to change songs on a fly, you’ll never know what you might hear next.
“I play every single [kind of] music,” he explained. “To do that, you have to have a lot of knowledge about music to jump from this world to that world…but you have to be able to mix it so it doesn’t feel like a disaster in between, so I take a lot of pride doing that together, to take people on a music journey.”
One Facebook reviewer hired DJ Melvin to play music at their wedding reception at a garden ballroom. The result was one of their best days ever.
“Melvin is really awesome,” the reviewer wrote. “He made sure everything went well during the wedding. He knows how to make the party lively and fun. Thanks to him we had a great time that night. I’ll definitely recommend you guys to people I know looking for a superb professional service.”
DJ Melvin owes the secret to his success to treating every performance as though he were performing at his own event. In fact, he even hosted his own event recently at Balmoral Resort Florida in Haines City to celebrate his 50th birthday. He entertained a small group of friends for his special day, as well as played some wicked tunes for them.
“I take pride of my work and treat the event as if it were my own,” he said. “Every job that I do, I pretend it is for me. And I take pride of it and make it as successful as I can, or to surpass my customers’ expectations.”
Born in Puerto Rico, DJ Melvin has been living in Winter Haven since 1989. He loved music ever since he was a little boy. His brother in the Air Force would often send him vinyl records, and when he moved away to California, his brother gave him all of his records.
At home, DJ Melvin started playing a single turn table, mixing the music with 8-track tapes. One of his first vinyl records was a single of Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration.”
His enthusiasm for music inevitably became a career. He started working as a DJ at age 17 at a roller skating rink. His more than 30 year career would have him tour events and night clubs not only in Florida, by throughout the United States.
“Now I am turning 50 years old, and I have been through every type of technology from vinyl to CDs to laptops with an external hard drive,” he said.
He eventually decided to settle down in Panama City and work at Club La Vela, the largest night clubs in the United States.
When his father figure passed away, he returned to Polk County to move in with his mother, as he was the only person in his family not married, and thus available to assist her.
Other people would ask him to host their weddings and parties. This led him to creating his own venue, Next Level Entertainment, in 2014. He is now a preferred vendor at more than 10 venues throughout Polk County.
Sergio Aponte, a close friend of his, considers DJ Melvin to be a very loyal friend whose loyalty extends toward his clients. In an industry like his with a lot of competition, that Next Level Entertainment can stand out so well is a testament to his level of quality service.
“He always brings a variety in music, always make sure everyone is having a good time,” Aponte said. “He is always high-spirited, never negative, always trying to give everybody a good time, share the moment with him, and give variety for everyone at every one of the events.”
Since starting his business five years ago, DJ Melvin has received rave reviews on social media, especially five star reviews. He even won the title of Best DJ in Central Florida in the 2020 Awards on WeddingWire.
Perhaps his best reward is being able to help others. At least four times a year, he performs pro-bono for a charity of his choice. One venue he frequents every year is the Bartender Bash for Citrus Boys and Girls Club, which he has been attending for the past three years.
While many events have been canceled due to COVID-19, he expects to return to dropping his beats once events start up again.
“It is the passion and love for music,” he said. “I love to entertain people, in every age or category you can think of. And I see people having a good time and smile. Music can be a getaway for people that either brings them happiness or even if you are shy, it breaks them out of their shell sometime.”