Young DJ Sophia takes music for a spin

Sophia Clayton, 11, of Dover, aka DJ Sophia, starting performing at age 6 and now has performed for scores of prestigious events across the country.

DOVER — DJ Sophia is the “Youngest In Charge.”

That’s the first sound clip listeners hear when the 11-year-old prepares to play her DJ set. The slogan not only serves as the 11-year-old’s DJ tag, but a mind-frame she carries as she continues to turn heads with her turntable wizardry.

“When people first see me, they usually think I’m a cute little kid that’s just going to play some music,” Sophia said. “But things change when they see my skill set and my abilities. I do all types of music and tricks and when I’m finished, people are usually shocked.”

Sophia Clayton fell in love with the art of Djing after being around her father, David, who is a 20-year DJ veteran.

“When I was little, he used to practice a lot and I used to be around him during that time,” Sophia said. “Then some days he would let me play around and scratch. It grew on me and when I got older and I was more responsible handling the equipment, I started getting into it myself and thought it was really fun.”

She did her first performance when she was 6 and remained active by DJing at local events and showcasing her skills on her Facebook Live page at DJSophiaRocks.

“My parents and I just started promoting through my Instagram and website,” Sophia said. “Then we started doing little activities in Dover. People started hearing about me and I started getting booked for events.”

Over time, DJ Sophia eventually had the opportunity to open for the Lost Boyz at Stone Soul Music Festival in Richmond, Va., performed at the Queens Youth Music Festival and became the youngest DJ to perform a full set on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” show.

Sophia, who is a straight-A student at Postlethwait Middle School, said a lot of hard work and sacrifice goes into DJing and balancing school, but says she’s up to the challenge.

“That was so much fun,” Sophia said. “I was surprised. I got to do a 30- to 40-minute set. I was proud of myself to know that I was one of the youngest DJs to perform. It was a great time.”

One of her most memorable moments was performing at Philadelphia rap legend and Roots member Black Thought daughter’s birthday party in 2019.

“That was my biggest opening event when I first started,” Sophia said. “Black Thought must have been strolling through and seen me on Instagram. I was shocked.”

Sophia, who is a straight-A student at Postlethwait Middle School, said a lot of hard work and sacrifice goes into DJing and balancing school, but she says she’s up to the challenge.

“I wake up at 5:30 in the morning every day and practice on my set and then get ready for school,” Sophia said. “Then I come home, do my homework, play outside with my friends and then come back and practice some more.”

She said one of her toughest days was practicing on Christmas.

“That was hard,” Sophia said. I had a lot of new toys that I wanted to play with, but I had to prepare for an event the next day with a lot of legendary DJs and I wanted to be at my best.”

That drive and determination has been instilled since birth, as she almost lost her life at 3 months old from a heart defect.

Sophia successfully had surgery at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington and when she was asked to DJ for Family Cardiac Day, she didn’t even hesitate about doing it.

Sophia almost lost her life at 3 months old from a heart defect. She successfully had surgery at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington and was recently asked to DJ for the hospital’s Family Cardiac Day,

“Giving back to the doctors that helped me become the person I am today — I couldn’t turn that opportunity down,” Sophia said. “That’s just a huge way of saying thank you to them for my life. That event made me feel good and I was really happy to do that for them. I had a really good time there.”

She said making people smile gives her satisfaction as a DJ.

“I love making people happy,” Sophia said. “I love brightening up people days.

Sophia is appreciative of everyone who supports her.

“I have little supporters from different states and I want to continue to have that support in my hometown,” Sophia said. “Small state, big name — that’s what I’m pushing for. I just want everyone’s support in the community.”

Sophia plans to follow the footsteps of the female DJs who inspired her to create her path and empower other women.

Sophia was a headliner for DJ Con in New York City last year. She has opened for the Lost Boyz at Stone Soul Music Festival in Richmond, Va., performed at the Queens Youth Music Festival and became the youngest DJ to perform a full set on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning” show.

“I look up to DJ Spinderella from hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa and DJ Cocoa Chanelle,” Sophia said.

“They inspire me because they’re female DJs and they’re way into the industry and I’m like they started just like me. I look at them and ask why can’t I do the same thing? I’m just trying to be the next generation’s Spinderella or Cocoa Chanelle to motivate and inspire someone else like they did for me.”

Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover.