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By: Gino R. Campodónico

If you’ve ever danced all night in Greater Miami & Miami Beach, there’s a good chance DJ Hottpants was behind the decks. Born and raised in South Miami, Daniel Blair – better known as DJ Hottpants – is an icon in the local LGBTQ+ music scene. He regularly spins at marquee events around the destination, including Miami Beach Pride, Wigwood Miami and Wynwood Pride, and is featured in regular weekly residences at hotspots such as Coyo Taco in Coral Gables, Dogfish Head Brewery and Gramps in Wynwood, and Hôtel Gaythering in Miami Beach. Mixing guilty pop pleasures with genres as diverse as freestyle, R&B, dance and electronic music, DJ Hottpants knows how to get a party started. Among other accolades he’s received, in 2019 he was named “Best DJ in Miami” in South Florida Gay News.

We sat down with DJ Hottpants for a deep dive into his artistic approach and his love for Miami. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Musical Inspiration and Getting “Seen on the Scene”

Miami’s diversity and cultural melting pot has had a profound impact on Blair’s life and his approach to music. “I was very lucky to be raised in the magnet programs of Miami-Dade County Public Schools,” he says. “It did more than let me try my hand at different artistic pursuits – it allowed me to meet talented students from across the county. When I left Miami for college, I missed the diversity of the city and the amazing people who informed the person I’d become. I really looked forward to moving back after graduation.”

Growing up, DJ Hottpants was surrounded by the vibrant music of the city. “The first cassettes I remember owning were The Beach Boys, The Bangles, Cyndi Lauper and Phil Collins. When I first started DJ-ing, I wanted to play all of the music I heard on the school bus growing up.” says Blair. “I made a deep dive researching the freestyle, booty and pop music genres starting in the 1980s. Since then, I’ve continued to research music history and expand my knowledge of other styles.”

After a year of being a local Miami club and party promoter, Blair got his first big DJ break at a local venue. “My friends at Poplife were about to open I/O Lounge and asked me to promote a night there in 2003,” he says. “To keep costs down, I hired myself as a DJ. After several months of DJ-ing, I got asked by other promoters to DJ (and get paid). That was when I figured I could actually give it a shot. I would watch other local DJs like Deejay Smeejay, Induce, and DJ LeSpam spin with vinyl, and I copied their techniques as much as I could.”

The Story Behind Those Hot Pants

DJ Hottpants knows how to get your attention. His famous go-to attire for any DJ performance or appearance is a pair of bright hot pants, a vintage concert or pop diva tee, legwarmers and a headband. “I started wearing them as a costume that harkened back to my childhood, and was an homage to Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John and Richard Simmons,” says Blair. “It was all an elaborate ruse to get into clubs wearing shorts and VERY functional headbands.”

Miami’s Thriving Music Culture

Music is a universal language that brings people together, and Miami is known for its thriving music scene and spirited nightlife. Miami’s LGBTQ+ music scene specifically continues to evolve. “In the 1990s, I associated it with South Beach club culture,” he says. “Now, I am so thankful that the Miami LGBTQ+ music scene includes almost every genre, including the talents of Jay Thomas, The State Of, DROZE and Robbie Elias just to name a few. I enjoy seeing the many facets of our culture come together, and really enjoy representing my little spot in the community. I’m here to be the local ‘redhead bear’ who loves music, short shorts, kitsch and dancing to a wide variety of music.”

“I hope that someone who has heard my sets got an enjoyable sense memory from a song they had not heard in a very long time or experienced the joy of discovering a new song,” says Blair. “I rarely know what I’m going to play during a set, and I never know in what order I’ll play my selections.”

What’s his secret to getting everyone on the dance floor? He recommends Deee-Lite and Lizzo as personal favorites. If he could pick one song that represents Miami to him, it’s “Domino” by Jessie J. “That song always makes me feel sexy and ready to party… so I guess that’s how it’s like in Miami!”

When he’s not spinning on the ones and twos, Blair can be found at Sweat Records in Little Haiti, one of Miami’s premier independent music stores and event spaces. “I am proud to work at Sweat Records,” he says. “I DJ’d the grand opening and have DJ’d there at least once a year ever since. My first job was at a Spec's Music store, so I’ve come full circle. My favorite thing about working there is talking with other music lovers and helping people discover their new favorites.”

DJ Hottpants’ Mini-Guide to Greater Miami & Miami Beach

  • Favorite Place to Dance: Gramps. The covered patio with its multitude of oscillating fans is my favorite place to move my booty.
  • Favorite Place to Listen to Music: My car. If I’m not listening to my latest downloads, I’m tuning in to WVUM 90.5 FM, which I’ve been listening to since high school for new finds in music. For live music, the North Beach Bandshell is a treat on a lovely night.
  • Favorite Restaurant: Blue Collar in the MiMo neighborhood. Consistently fantastic!
  • Favorite LGBTQ+ Place: Hôtel Gaythering. I always have a good time there and they have a great lineup of weekly activities.
  • Favorite Place to Recommend to Visitors: Coral Castle. I am a little obsessed with the mystery of how it was built, but more so about the man who built it. It also has amazing photo ops!

Find out where DJ Hottpants is playing, listen to music mixes or order swag.

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