As well as spinning the decks at some of Manchester’s glitziest nightclubs, Callan Kinsella is also an entrepreneur determined to nurture the next generation of creative talent.
The teenage stabbing victim has opened up about the extraordinary turnaround in his life that saw him become an in-demand DJ playing for Premier League footballers at Manchester’s top nightclubs.
Callan Kinsella was stabbed in a parking lot in Wilmslow in 2017 in a case that was eventually dropped but left him struggling with his mental health and unable to continue his education. However, in his darkest moments he turned to music and after realizing he had a knack for it he was able to turn the tide and experience a dramatic rise to success. He started DJing at local venues in the Alderley Edge area and now, at 23, he’s already a regular on the decks at some of Manchester’s glitziest nightspots where the clientele includes stars from Manchester United and Manchester City.
He also became an entrepreneur and spoke about how committed he is to creating opportunities for the next generation of creative talent in Greater Manchester and supporting them in their careers.
What happened to Callan Kinsella when he was a teenager and how did he start DJing?
Callan was studying for his A-levels at Wilmslow when his life changed in 2017. He was stabbed in a car park and immediately pulled out and locked himself in, scared and struggling with his sanity. He missed an entire year of school and attempted to go to college to return home after being unable to feel safe in crowds.
It was when he locked himself in his bedroom, however, that he immersed himself in music, and that turned out to be the key to changing everything for him. He soon realized he had a knack for music and started spinning the decks.
He said: “Initially it came from my father. He was in the music business, so I got into it to get closer to him. I have two brothers and we all used to have fun and DJ. I was probably the worst of the bunch, to be honest, but it pushed me to improve. It was the beginning of how I ended up where I am today.
Callan began spinning the decks as DJCK and soon performed at venues in and around Alderley Edge and Wilmslow. This meant that early in his career he performed in front of a big name while playing Wilmslow Symposium, which is owned by Hollyoaks star Ashley Taylor Dawson and Parea, the Alderley Edge venue owned by the England and Liverpool football star. striker Emile Heskey’s wife, Chantelle.
In addition to performing, Callan founded YNOT Events, a company that combined his headlining shows with opportunities for more young DJs to show off their skills to the crowds. It wasn’t long before revelers flocked to Callan’s sold-out weekly and monthly shows, with people from Manchester and further afield in glamorous Cheshire venues and experience nights that combined music with live entertainment. extravagant performances featuring dancers, fire-eaters and life-size teddy bears.
Guest spots were offered and soon Callan was heading to London to DJ for Polo G, one of America’s biggest stars, and perform with Rozalla and Urban Cookie Collective.
How did Callan come to Manchester?
The Covid-19 pandemic brought the hospitality and live events industry to a screeching halt, but Callan used the time to plan his next move and decided what he wanted to do was come to the Manchester city centre.
He formed Truth and Shameless at BLVD MCR, part of Tokyo Industries, one of the country’s largest hotel chains. Truth is a full night of American music while Shameless is brunch with food, DJs, dancers and drummers playing house music and Ibizan classics.
Callan also created La Freak which takes place every Friday at The Circus in the heart of Manchester city centre. There is also the resident DJ every Saturday night. He is now one of the most sought after open-format DJs with his mix of American hip-hop, R&B, afrobeats and old-school music.
And like his stint in venues at Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, the rich and famous, including Manchester sports stars, continue to flock to the nights when Callan is on the decks.
He said, “You never know who you might be DJing with. It could be the United guys, it could be the City guys, it’s just constantly celebrities and footballers. It’s a very different way of life.
“The main objective has always been to come in and take over Manchester and be the best club in Manchester. “
What does Callan say about his rise to success?
Callan’s lifestyle today on the decks of some of Manchester’s most exclusive venues with A-list stars on the dance floor is a far cry from his leafy small-town upbringing and certainly a far cry from the depths of shock, of the anxiety and fear he felt in the aftermath of his stabbing. He explained how he was able to use music to change his life.
He said: “When certain things happen in life, it can open up new angles and opportunities to access different things. It’s one of those things; you take a situation and make the best of it.
“It wasn’t easy at first, but I can only take positives from it. There is no point in sitting down and looking at a situation negatively. There is no advantage to being negative about things.
“You can lock yourself up and hide or rise from the ashes like a phoenix and build a career for yourself and prove the doubters wrong.”
Helping others in the creative industries
For Callan, building a career has also involved creating more opportunities for Greater Manchester youngsters to follow in his footsteps. His concern YNOT Events has given the chance to other upcoming DJs to spin the decks and he provides decks to venues, pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels.
His latest venture is InSync Creatives, an agency-like business that sources and supplies the industry with DJs, musicians, dancers, photographers and videographers for any event.
Callan said: “It’s almost impossible for young talent. I remember when I started, there were no opportunities. I had to fight for the job and I was lucky. There are only a few other DJs in Manchester the same age as me, the others are over 30. I try to give as many opportunities as possible, until I get places in these high-end places.
“I’ve had a few people who have now taken over smaller venues in Manchester and are making a few thousand pounds a week. My passion is to help them go where they can.
. How teenager victim blows knife became entrepreneur star