Your debut performance at Madison Square Garden. It’s the iconic, career-defining moment every musician dreams about. This January, 10-year-old twin sisters and DJs Amira and Kayla Wells were about to live it. They’re getting ready to play for the New York Knicks and more than 25,000 of their screaming fans. Clad in Knicks gear and smiling ear-to-ear, Amira and Kayla’s images are enlarged on the Jumbotron for all the Garden to see. The announcer calls their names as they get set to drop the first song of their set.
But off to the side of the DJ booth, their dad is in a panic.
Doting DJ Dad
“There’s a 10-second delay coming through on the speakers,” recalls Elijah Wells. “DJs need to sync every piece of music together perfectly. That’s their job. I was so worried the girls would get tripped up. But they just kept it going and didn’t let it faze them.”
The twins said that playing for the Knicks was their favorite DJ moment: “We were on the Jumbotron!”
A music industry veteran, Wells managed dance/pop act Nina Skye, and received a Grammy nomination for producing their No. 1 hit “Move Ya Body.” He’s worked with the late Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records; reggae star Sean Paul; and soul legend Betty Wright. It was after an extensive international tour with Nina Skye and coming home to his wife Christine, pregnant with the twins, that he decided to slow down the career tempo and stay local.
“After the girls were born and Christine was back to work at her corporate job, it was my time to play Mr. Mom, taking care of the girls and fitting in music when I could.”
Today Wells is the mastermind behind Little Clubheads, a mobile entertainment company that stages nightclub-style dance parties where kids and their parents can get loose in a family-friendly environment. There are monthly events throughout the tristate area and birthday packages for kids.
Under the stage name Mr. Blue, Wells serves as party host, while Amira and Kayla are the resident DJs. “We’ve got face-painting, live performances, games, balloons, and we’ve been known to have dance-offs, too, generation vs. generation,” Wells says.
Creating a place for families to come together to experience the positive energy of music is Wells’s personal tribute to his late mother, who inspired his career in music. A graduate of the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, Wells lost his mother when he was just 15, entering his sophomore year of high school. “My mother was a party animal who loved New York nightlife and really understood music,” he says. “Growing up, there was music playing in our house nonstop—jazz, house, soul—everything. I’m so grateful for the passion and the education that gave me.” His wife, Christine, herself a former nightclub promoter and entrepreneur, shares the family passion. “I love music, but I am not an artist, so it’s amazing to watch the girls and Elijah work together and how they communicate with each other musically. They definitely inherited his talent, and they’ve got this synergy together that I can’t fully describe or understand, but it’s incredible how they speak this same language musically.”
Jay Z to Just Kids
The twins, who perform at major events in New York City, guest-DJed at Jay Z’s 40/40 Clubs, and at press time were getting ready to perform at New York Fashion Week. When they aren’t on the decks at monthly Little Clubheads parties, the twins are fourth-grade students at the Beloved Charter School in Jersey City, and are busy with homework or practicing music at the family’s home in the Heights. And while they make a great team, they’ve always had their own distinct personalities, as evidenced by their nicknames. “When they were babies, we called Amira ‘Firecracker’ and Kayla ‘The Dalai Lama.’ Those names pretty much still sum them up,” Wells says.
Amira’s favorite artist is Nikki Minaj. “Definitely!” she says. Her career backup plan? “I might want to be a DJ,” she says, “but if not, my backup plan is to be a lawyer.”
Kayla was able to combine her DJ chops with her schoolwork. “For Black History Month at school, I am going to do a report on a famous black woman who is a great DJ,” she says. “Her name is Spinderella [of Salt N Pepa fame].”
Her favorite part of DJing? “I love scratching,” Kayla says. “We play all kinds of music, but my favorite is hop.” [Should that be “hip-hop”?]
The twins love Nickelodeon’s DJ Maxwell. Their dream gig, they say, is “to DJ the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards.”—JCM
More about DJs Amira and Kayla and Little Club Heads