He was born in Los Angeles and spends much of his time on the road these days, but Jake "JayCeeOh" Osher spent his middle and high school years living in Pittsburgh — and the nationally known DJ still thinks of the city as where he got his start.
By the time he was in middle school at Sterrett, Osher was immersed in the local scene — on the radio as early as eighth grade with elder DJ and 720 Music co-owner DJ Selecta.
"I used to sneak down to CMU's radio station and [Selecta] was letting me in the studio to just chill while he did his show on WRCT," he says. "I remember vividly, I was in there ... he was like, ‘I'm gonna let you on the mic, but don't swear.'"
"And he let me on the mic and within the first four words I started swearing," he adds with a laugh.
After graduating in 2000 from Taylor Allderdice High School, Osher moved to Boston to attend Emerson University, where he became the urban-music director at the No. 1 college radio station in the country, WERS. He continued working with his Pittsburgh peers.
"Artie Pitt and Benjy Grinberg from Rostrum [Records], all of us were kind of in the same circle," he explains. "As I went on to college, I was doing radio and mixtapes and stuff. And they launched Rostrum and signed Wiz [Khalifa]. Whenever I had mixtape opportunities or was on the radio in Boston, I was giving Wiz spins and getting exclusives from him before the world really knew who he was."
Earlier this month, JayCeeOh was crowned champion of Smirnoff's Master of the Mix DJ competition, which aired on VH1. He received a $250,000 prize and will be joining Smirnoff as the brand's official DJ. He'll be continuing his Super 7 mixtape series, which highlights mixes from seven of the world's best DJs, with a release later this year.
"I'm trying to make the leap from just being a great party-rocker to more of an artist/producer/DJ," he says. "I want to get to the point where I can eventually make big records with artists and get booked for festival stages."
But he doesn't forget about where he came from, stopping back to DJ here from time to time: "My whole career of being a DJ came about in Pittsburgh."
More on JayCeeOh: www.jayceeoh.com