Blanton Youell, a 39-year-old stay-at-home dad, has found a way to integrate himself in the community in a unique way, as a disc jockey (DJ).
Youell is the owner of B-Dazzle productions, a local mobile DJ and light service. He is the husband to Dr. Lauren Youell, a pediatrician with Northern Hospital. They have two daughters, Maddie who is 5 and Claire who is 1.
During the week, Blanton Youell stays at home with his two daughters while his wife works. On the weekends Youell stays busy with his business, B-Dazzle.
Youell grew up in Chester, Virginia, and attended Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation studies.
While many attending college find their lifelong calling in the classroom, Youell found himself working for Pure Love Production, where he managed a store that sold vinyl records and clothing.
As a young college student with a love for music, Youell would throw significant size dance parties, where he was the DJ.
It was during his time running the store that Youell came to the realization he was better as a DJ than running a store.
As Youell ventured out into his party life as a promoter, for Pure Love productions and throwing these dance parties, Youell said “I would see a lot of my peers, whom I thought to be good people doing the wrong thing.”
It was then he realized he needed a change in his lifestyle, as he was leading down the wrong road.
A friend invited him to visit at a summer camp in Goochland, Virginia, called Westview on the James. The camp is a United Methodist camp and retreat center. Immediately, Youell knew that was were he was supposed to be, so he became a camp counselor.
Youell worked at the camp for around 15 years. It was in his time at the camp Youell learned a lot about service and being a part of a community.
With being a seasonal camp counselor, Youell naturally had to find other ways to support himself during the off-season. Working at a local Applebee’s, as a waiter, it was there he met his wife Lauren in 2003. Although the two attended the same college, they didn’t see each other on campus much, being on two different degree tracks.
Quickly the two became a couple and dated for nearly a year before becoming engaged. After a year-long engagement the couple married in 2005.
Youell continued to work at Westview on James, being promoted to operations director, until his wife finished her chief residency year at University of Virginia in 2011.
After Youell’s wife graduated from med school — the couple began searching for a place to settle down in and raise a family. They visited several cities and towns, but none stuck out quite like Mount Airy. After a short weekend visit, meeting the local residents and touring downtown and walking the greenways, the couple decided to move.
After moving to Mount Airy in 2011 Youell began working for Reeves Community Center as a nautilus attendant. During his time at Reeves, Youell became integrated with the community. Although fun, his job at Reeves didn’t seem to have quite the fulfilling aspect he needed.
He left Reeves, in the summer of 2012 and became a stay-at-home dad. Not long after, Youell began researching how to make his love for music a reality and still be integrated into the community. Starting at the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce that same summer, Youell sought guidance to start his business as a DJ.
His first order of business was an official name. B-Dazzle, being a nickname during his college years while playing on a intramural softball team, seemed to stick out the most to him.
“Was the team making fun of me with that name? Possibly, but I liked it,”. said Youell
So, with an official name B-Dazzle, he began by simply Facebook advertising, meeting people, word of mouth and recommendations from the chamber.
“The struggles of finding time to spend with my family and having that balance in my work life, can be tough,” said Youell. He explained he has to work at least five hours every gig, doing two to three gigs per month.
Youell expressed it has taken some time to figure out just how many shows he can do and still be able to spend time with his family on the weekends.
“Being a DJ is a good outlet for me though,” said Youell. “Weddings are usually my favorite gigs,” he said, because everyone is always so happy and ready to get up, dance and just have fun. Gigs where I get people moving, tend to be my favorite, because that’s my goal.”
Lights are also a huge part of his shows. “Visual is almost as important as the sound,” said Youell.
Never considering himself as the DJ prototype, Youell seems to have done well with learning what the community wants and needs when it comes to putting on a show.
“I get a lot of variety, as far as shows,” stating he could go from a wedding to a 5-year-old’s birthday party, to a beach-themed event in one afternoon.
“I feel like my wealth of knowledge and experience really give me an advantage in this community, and contributes to the success I have had.”
Overall, Youell expressed the welcoming of the community and the help of the chamber has been the underlying reasons he has been able to come this far with his business.
The only thing Youell wished to change was The Mountie Awards adding a ‘Best DJ’ category.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or firstname.lastname@example.org