culture

#TheUnknownHustle: Idris Elba

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Idris Elba will star as a "struggling DJ" in Netflix's "Turn Up Charlie." / Nick Wall/Netflix

BAH profile
January 10, 2019

Actor Idris Elba will make his Coachella debut when he performs a DJ set at the massive music festival in April. To some onlookers, seeing his name on the lineup alongside Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino and Tame Impala was a head-scratching surprise, but the 46-year-old has been bumping the beats since his teenage years as DJ Big Driis in nightclubs even before he landed any TV or movie roles.

 

Coincidently, a day after the Coachella reveal, Netflix announced that Elba would star as a "struggling DJ" in a new comedy called Turn Up Charlie (pictured above). The series premieres a few weeks before he turns it up with trance music in the desert.

 

Though Elba is most known for his onscreen roles in Beasts of No Nation, the Thor films, Avengers: Infinity War and Star Trek: Beyond, he has been honing his DJ skills for more than three decades now.

Elba got his start as a 14-year-old helping his DJ uncle lug boxes of records to his gigs at weddings and christenings, he told Mixmag. When his uncle got tired of mixing, he would let Elba take over on the 1s and 2s. He's gone on to play major clubs and huge festivals such as Glastonbury and IMS.

 

Don't be surprised if he, the rumored future James Bond, incorporates the James Bond theme song into his set. It's not like he hasn't been dropping hints. 

Recently crowned People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, the past Golden Globe winner presented Best Original Song at this year's ceremony alongside Taylor Swift. Afterward, backstage with Access Online, he hinted at a potential T. Swift collab: "If you're coming to Coachella, get ready for me. This year has been amazing because I get to play and make music a lot more. I might get Taylor and I to do a song. You heard it here first!"

Elba and Swift, an outspoken cat lover, recently were cast for the Cats movie musical as Macavity and Bombalurina, alongside Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson, James Corden and Jason Derulo. 

 

Elba's 32 years of low-key music-making will be paying off in a high-key way during his big 2019 at Coachella, on Netflix and in Cats.