With thirty-five years in the music industry, Hector Romero reflects on his amazing career as a DJ, music executive, and A&R director. His contribution to Latin Electronic Dance and electronic music lives on as he continues helping artists make music while traveling as an international DJ.
Born in 1970, Hector Romero grew up during the era of hip-hop music in the Bronx, where hip-hop first originated. From a young age, music was a huge part of Hector’s life, influencing him to begin his journey as a DJ when he was thirteen in 1983, gaining his original stage name, Hector “Baby Hec” Romero. He began his career by being well-versed in the music of his day, playing hip-hop originally before shifting to his true passion of dance electric music.
In our interview, Hector Romero recalled still having his vinyl hip-hop tracks from the beginning of his career, describing them as the “soundtrack of his youth.”
As a young DJ, there were many local DJs Hector looked up to like Afrika Bambaataa and Afrika Islam who were both influential in pioneering and developing this new genre of hip-hop in the Bronx where Hector grew up. Hector explained that because he was young, the only time he got to see them play was when they played at street jams and neighborhood parties, where DJs showcased their music and talent in the Bronx.
When Hector Romero got older, his love for music shifted. While he was breaking into his career, he was influenced by DJs like Louie Vega and John “Gungie” Rivera who also came from the Bronx.
In our interview, Romero recalled how he first got into DJing. He was explaining that in the Bronx, kids either get involved in dancing, music, or sports; and for Romero, baseball was one of his favorite pastimes. He played from the time he was in grade school until he was a teenager.
After going to house parties with his parents and seeing the way DJs played and interacted with their audience, Hector fell in love with the idea of DJing. But this idea didn’t turn into a passion until Hector tried out for his high school baseball team at Cardinal Hayes High School. After not making the cut, he decided to go full force into DJing, and he hasn’t stopped since.
“My parents were very social,” Hector explained. “They went out to events and parties. My uncles as well, so I was always surrounded by events and house parties. I saw a DJ at a house party when I was young, and I was like ‘wow, I really like what he’s doing,’ and that’s how I got into it. I like it, and it grabbed my attention. In 1984, I tried out for the baseball team, and unfortunately, I didn’t make it. Because I didn’t make it, I got full force into DJing. I already had my equipment in 1983 when I started, and then I got really serious. Since 1983, I still haven’t stopped DJing.”
Even though he stopped playing baseball in high school, Hector Romero is still an avid baseball fan and loves his favorite team, the New York Yankees! He loves baseball, but his true passion is music.
Hector Romero started in the music industry by working at a renowned music shop in the Bronx called DJ Specialty Shop (Castle Hill). This is where he was able to meet and talk to different DJs, label executives, and producers. He worked there for five years, and through his job at DJ Specialty Shop, he was able to meet and interact with DJ David Morales, part-owner of Def Mix Productions alongside Judy Weinstein. During this time, he had the opportunity to play shows with Morales.
After working at the DJ Specialty Shop, Hector Romero became a salesperson at an amazing independent house label called Emotive Records where he was able to get closer to Morales and further grow his connections.
In 1994 when Romero left Emotive Records, David Morales offered him an opportunity to help run the new label he was starting, Definity Records with Def Mix Productions. This is where Romero really started his career as a music executive working there with David Morales and Judy Weinstein for 25 years.
Through this experience, he was also able to work with other legends like Frankie Knuckles and Japanese DJ Satoshi Tomiie. He was also able to help produce and do A&R for Frankie and David’s original music, work with an amazing entertainment lawyer, Steve Kapitkowho taught him so much about licensing and entertainment law, contribute to the advancement of dance electronic music, and gain experience that would set him up for the future.
“It was a great experience working alongside legends like Judy Weinstein, David Morales, and Frankie,” Romero said in our interview. “They were very accepting of my knowledge of what I knew and what I was bringing to the table. Even though I was young, they respected me as someone there that cared about my craft as DJ and my craft as an A&R person. We worked very closely for almost 25 years, and I’m indebted to them because a lot of doors opened when I joined Def Mix since they were known as the premier, number one remix production house in the world. That was a great period in my career.”
In 2000, he was also able to start a music label under Def Mix called Saw Recordings with Satoshi Tomiie. They were popular for about ten years producing progressive house music before the era of vinyl became outdated.
In 2019, Hector Romero was hired by Dusko Justic, Vice President of Sony Music Marketing, who had been a friend of his for over 15 years, to head A&R for Orianna Music, a division of Sony. Hector Romero was excited to take on the inception of this new label, knowing that this was the next step in his career.
In 2020, Hector’s DJing opportunities fell to a standstill after not being able to tour due to the COVID crisis hitting the world. Hector was so thankful for the timeliness and opportunity found in starting Orianna Music with Dusko. These past two years, he’s helped build Orianna from the ground up and is proud of his work with this Latin dance electric label. Listen to Orianna on
In our interview, Romero talked about one of the projects that he’s been working on with Justic, a meditation album. Out June 24th, Orianna Music will be releasing a new mediation album entitled Unwind. Romero is excited about this three-part meditation series. The next two albums are called Recharge, set to release in July, and Connected, set to release in August.
Since working with Justic, Romero explained that he’s really gotten into meditating and working on breathwork. He said that this is a part of his daily routine and has been beneficial for his focus and mental health. Romero is eager to see people benefit from these albums.
With over thirty-five years in the business, Hector Romero has been able to travel the world. As an international DJ, Hector loves traveling and playing in Europe, specifically Ibiza, Spain. Some other places he’s traveled include Greece and Japan; however, Montreal is one of his absolute favorite places to play. He described a special club there in Montreal called Stereo, where the fans really get into the music he’s playing, and it’s always such a great time. His second favorite place to travel and play is Italy, which he normally tries to visit once a month.
“Traveling makes you a better person. It opens you up to different cultures and food and just life experiences that you get from traveling the world. I always feel bad for people who can’t or are unable to travel. It’s not just about here in America. I love it here, but it’s such a big world out there. It’s incredible. I really love traveling, and as I always say, it’s made me a better person.”
Compared to when he first started playing as a DJ, Hector has adapted to different styles of music but mainly is a house music DJ.
Though Romero is still an international DJ, he still loves performing in New York. Recently, he played at the Sí Sí Mediterranean Restaurant in the Hamptons in New York, playing right after sunset. Another place he has recently been frequenting is a new premiere club that opened in New York City called Musica where he accepted an offer to be a resident DJ there. Hector Romero loves playing once a week, every Saturday, in the Whisper Room at Musica.
Romero’s favorite part about being a DJ is making people happy and watching them dance and enjoy his mixes. The most rewarding part of his career has been being able to contribute to the growth of dance, house, and electronic music, which is his biggest passion.
Here’s some advice from Hector Romero to anyone wanting to go into the music industry: “Be passionate about it. Don’t just do it, especially DJing, just because you think you’re going to make some money and meet girls and guys. Be passionate about it. You know, be true to your craft, and practice. Practice makes perfect.
“My main advice is to just be passionate about it. The craft of DJing, especially, is a true challenge. It’s an art and a craft. If you take it seriously and you develop your skills, you’ll get better at it, and slowly and surely, you’ll be recognized. When you’re passionate about something, you’re never going to feel like you’re working, and it’s basically about just doing what you love to do.”
This passionate and motivated DJ and music executive has many exciting opportunities coming up this year including the Cristian Rivera Foundation’s Sixth Annual Flashback Boat Ride Party on July 16th, where Hector Romero will be able to play with many of his peers including DJs Big Paul, Rob Lo, Steelo, and Michael Narvaez. He is also excited about his summer tour of Europe in August where he will be traveling to Italy, Spain, and Greece to name a few. He will also be focusing more and more on Orianna Music this year as Romero continues to grow and develop Latin Electronic Dance and electronic music.
Follow DJ Hector Romero on his social media accounts:
Def Mix Productions Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/defmixproductions/
Listen to DJ Hector Romero’s live mixes here:
https://soundcloud.com/hectorromero/live-on-the-nervous-house-boat-nyc-8319 https://soundcloud.com/hectorromero/hector-romero-live-at-house-of-yes-ny-7519 https://soundcloud.com/traxsource/live-219-feat-hector-romero https://soundcloud.com/hectorromero/hector-romero-live-at-lebain-for-birdcage-2223