By Nicole Baker

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Rico Silva, an East Baltimore native better known by his stage name DJ QuickSilva, has been perfecting his craft as a DJ for three decades.

In that time, he has become an internationally recognized DJ with a syndicated show, two DJ schools, a reality series and a Netflix documentary in the making.

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But even though Silva has established himself in the music industry, it wasn’t always that way. He lost both of his parents by the time he reached the age of 18.

“I started going down the wrong path,” Silva told WJZ. “And then I started DJing, and I fell in love with music. … Instead of being outside, I would be in my basement every single day DJing because that literally saved my life.”

As Silva tells it, his passion for music always existed. It started with the piano, then the drums and it wasn’t long before he found his way to the turntables.

At the age of 11, he earned his moniker “QuickSilva” after besting another DJ who was seven years his senior.

“I won and the guy was like, ‘This little guy is so quick,'” he recalled. “Quick Silva.”

Losing his parents at a time when a young man needs the warmth of his mother and the lessons of his father, Silva took refuge in his love of music.

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“I am no better than anyone I grew up with,” he said. “The difference is, I never gave up. … I’ve figured out how to be the best version of myself.”

Perhaps the best part of Silva’s success is that he gets to share it with his best friend of 17 years, DJ Eazy, who used to be a school teacher.

Together the pair launched Baltimore’s Quick and Eazy DJ Academy, which gives them the opportunity to share their gifts with future generations of DJs.

“To be honest, I think it could offer a way out for a lot of kids,” Silva said.

He sees his program as a way to empower Baltimore’s youth to reach their fullest potential and seize opportunities they otherwise might not receive.

“A way to be successful without having to be an athlete, without having to turn to the streets,” he said. “Just being able to do something with a craft, make some money off of, give back to your community.”

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