Pauly Personified

Pauly D takes his fans outside the beaches of Jersey Shore to get a firsthand look into his real Rhode Island roots, and in the process, proves to be a real player in the DJ game.

Interview by Sway Calloway // Photography by Chad Griffith // Styling by Darius Baptist // Grooming by Jessica Smalls using Bobbi Brown for Epiphany Artists Group

At this point, Pauly D is on everyone’s pop culture radar. Best known as one of the leading cast members of MTV’s highest rated show, Jersey Shore, DJ Pauly D has positioned himself to get more than 15 minutes of fame out of an industry that is just as quick to forget you as it mentions you in the same breath. With his own spin-off series, The Pauly D Project, slated to air this spring, the Rhode Island native wants to show his loyal fans and new followers that there really is more to him than GTL. With DJ residencies at Las Vegas’ The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, the 31-year-old is well on his way to creating a place for himself not only in the world of electronic dance music (EDM), but also within the pop music world. From touring with pop princess Britney Spears to signing a record deal with rapper and mogul 50 Cent’s G-Note Records, as well as partnering in the developments of a clothing line, tanning lotions and sunless products, Paul DelVecchio has a business plan in place that would impress top-earning executives.

Here, Pauly is taken back a bit and paired with someone who has seen a lot of artists (especially reality show stars) come and go. MTV’s Sway Calloway continues to be one of the most pivotal players of the music and news channel. Whether he’s covering a red carpet or having a one-on-one sit-down with President Barack Obama, Sway has the keen ability to connect with personalities and show a side of an interviewee that the public may not be familiar with. After hosting his own radio show, “Sway in the Morning” on Sirius/XM Radio, Sway stopped by the New York studio for Pauly’s cover shoot to chat it up.

Sway: What’s up man? Congratulations on everything. You are surely the man right now. Pauly: Thanks so much. As always, I truly appreciate it.

Sway: So let’s talk. The Pauly D Project – what’s that all about? We all had bets on when it would air, but I hear it’s finally making its debut. Pauly: Aww, I’m so excited about this show. It airs March 29, and I can’t wait for people to see it.

Sway: What do you have in store for us? Pauly: I’m just so anxious to show the world me outside of Jersey Shore. With this show you will get to know me. You see where I’m from, you’ll meet some of my boys and get a taste of what my life is like on the road.

Sway: I know you have a lot of friends, so it must have been tough for you to decide which friends would make the cut. How did you go about picking which friends made the show? Pauly: I’m telling you man, it was tough, but in the end I just took my closest friends. You’ll see my boys Big Jerry, Biggie and Ryan. We all used to work together at the club, so I just took them with me on the road.

Sway: So they went with you on the Britney tour as well? Pauly: Yup, everybody. That’s how we do it.

Sway: So does this mean we’ll see Britney on The Pauly D Project? Pauly: Yeah, but I don’t know exactly at what point. I haven’t seen the episodes yet, but she definitely will be on the show.

Sway: Will she actually be speaking on the show, or will it be just a quick feature? Pauly: It’s a combination of both.

Sway: I know you’re producing now, so did you hit her up about possibly doing some music with her? Pauly: Of course I did. She liked the idea of that, and we’re actually in talks about that now, so hopefully it works out.

Sway: When it comes to music, you have a certain style of mixing that you tend to stay close to. Aside from dance and house, is there any other type of music you vibe to? Pauly: I really like hip-hop. I always try to make sure I throw it into my sets when I’m playing. Dance is what’s hot now, but at the end of the day, it really is whatever will get the crowd moving.

Sway: How do you know if your mixing sucks or if you’re doing a great job? Pauly: You can always tell by the reaction of the crowd. Sometimes I drop a song that may be a little risky, but you can never really tell until you feel the energy from the crowd. If the crowd isn’t singing or vibing to it, I switch it up quick.

Sway: So how did the partnership with 50 Cent come about? Did he see you at a club and say, ‘Yo, this kid is dope, I need to sign him.’ I mean, how did this unlikely pairing come about? Pauly: He actually said that he’s seen my YouTube videos a lot, and he’s always felt that I stood out on the show more than everyone else. I’ve played his music for as long as I can remember, and I have always been a fan. I heard that he wanted to meet me, and we clicked instantly. He feels that everyone has to come from somewhere. You look at Destiny’s Child with Beyoncé and [someone like] Mark Wahlberg, and luckily he thinks the same thing for me. I respect his hustle; he has the same business ethic as I do, so we just made it happen.

Sway: That’s funny that you say the two of you share the same business ethic. Does that mean you are worth half a billion dollars as well? Pauly: No, but I’m on my way.

Sway: Your business ethic is big. I see you’re expanding your brand quite a bit. You have Devoted Creation, the sun tanning lotion, and now you have a clothing line, Dirty Couture. I didn’t know you were such a fashionista. What’s up with that? Pauly: Music and fashion go hand in hand, and my clothing line Dirty Couture is a fun, music-inspired clothing line that I have put all of my personality into.

Sway: Do you just sit and approve or disapprove designs, or are you really in the mix creating pieces? Pauly: It’s a little of both. For the spring line, my design guy came up with most of the designs, and I gave my input as to where certain graphics or type should be placed. But at the same time, if I have an idea, he makes it happen.

Sway: So would you say Dirty Couture is more of a “guido” fashion line, or is it bigger than that? Pauly: It’s much bigger than that. It’s punk music mixed with a touch of rock and roll. Like I said, I call it a fun, music-inspired clothing line.

Sway: Will you be rocking Dirty Couture on the new show? Pauly: Most definitely. I’ll be Dirty Coutured out.

Sway: So with you being the first cast member to have a spin-off, do you feel any pressure to succeed? Pauly: Absolutely. I was nervous because I was the first member to get a spin-off, but when I saw the trailer for the show, it felt like a major weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I think this is going to be a hit.

Sway: Do you feel you are interesting enough that you can handle your own show? Pauly: I know I am. I believe the audience will enjoy seeing my relationships with my friends and the fact that I have never forgotten where I’ve come from. I’m proud to say I come from Rhode Island, the smallest state in the U.S., and viewers will see I love my hometown.

Sway: Will we see your family and perhaps some ex-girlfriends on the show? Pauly: Man, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and yes, even ex-girlfriends will be a part of the project.

Sway: When I last talked to you, you told me you were single, is that still the case? Pauly: Yeah man, I’m still single.

Sway: You also once said that as long as a girl had a metro card, then she’s good for you. Now that you’re famous, has the criteria for what you’re looking for in a partner changed? Pauly: It really is tough to find the right girl now because I always have to question their motives. I tend to be more selective in that way, but I’m basically just looking for someone with old school family values, a girl that goes to the gym and takes care of herself. GTL – that’s the way of life.

Sway: I’d be remised if I didn’t ask you to describe the perfect woman for yourself. What would this vision of beauty be? Pauly: The perfect woman would have dark hair, dark tanned skin, light eyes, and without a doubt, she must have curves.

Sway: Well, someone that will have massive curves in the very near future is your cast member, Snooki. I know you all have this friendship, so are you planning to be Godfather Pauly or Uncle Pauly? Pauly: I’m so happy for her because she’s always talked about having kids. I know it sounds crazy to think of her being a mother, but I think this is really good for her. I believe this will straighten her right out. We’re there for her 100 percent, and I can’t wait to start buying things for the baby. I will be Godfather Pauly.

Sway: So how does Vinny feel about all this? [Laughs] That’s a joke, don’t answer that question. Pauly: He’s counting the months, marking the calendar. He’s like January, February, nope. [Laughs]

Sway: You’ve been on camera for a few years now, and I’ve worked at MTV for 12 years, and when I leave the building cameras aren’t following me. Do you ever want to put down the cameras and just be Pauly? Pauly: I’m addicted to the cameras now. It’s almost as if I expect them to be outside now. There are times you wish you had a certain amount of anonymity, but in the end, the good outweighs the bad. Believe me when I say that.

Sway: I don’t think we’ve ever seen you upset. What gets you angry? Pauly: When I run out of hair gel.

Sway: With you being a DJ, you must have certain “go-to” songs. What songs would you say are yours at the moment? Pauly: Right now anything by LMFAO is a banger. Rihanna is super hot, Pitbull is tearing it up, and without a doubt, Chris Brown is doing the damn thing right now.

Sway: Didn’t you remix one of Chris’ songs? Pauly: I remixed “Turn Up the Music.”

Sway: Do you think people were surprised you had that type of flow when they realized you did that mix? Pauly: Of course they were. I had just signed the record deal, and I needed to show people that I can produce. I took a banging song that I already knew was going to be a hit, and I gave it more kick for in the club. I produced a beat for it to get the fists pumping, and it’s a smash now.

Sway: Do you view yourself more like a David Guetta or DJ Khaled? Pauly: I gotta say I’m a mixture of the two. I love dance music just as much as I’m all about hip-hop. They actually call me “The Bridge” because I bridge the gap between house and hip-hop. I make the house music person, who may not normally vibe to hip-hop, appreciate the music and vice versa.

Sway: Do you think people doubt you because you’re Pauly D? Pauly: Absolutely.

Sway: Do you recall a time you had to turn someone’s perception around based on your deejaying? Pauly: There have been plenty of DJs that didn’t take me serious because of the Jersey Shore show, but once they came out to one of my sets, their opinions changed. I have had some of the haters come up to me after my set and tell me, ‘Dude you are really legit, you killed that set.’ I love when I can change people’s perceptions of me.

Sway: That really is a great feelng. I’m so proud of you man. Pauly: Thanks man, that means a lot.

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