Steve LeVine: CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment

Steve Levine, CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment, photographed at his office in Scottsdale by Nicki Escudero

Steve Levine, CEO of Steve LeVine Entertainment, photographed at his office in Scottsdale by Nicki Escudero

Steve LeVine

If you’ve been to a Valley nightclub in the past six years, you’ve probably seen some of Steve LeVine’s work. The 39-year-old Scottsdale resident and Los Angeles native is the self-titled “Chief Entertainment Officer” of Steve LeVine Entertainment, which organizes some of the Valley’s biggest nightlife shindigs, as well as concerts and sports-related events. He’s been working in the entertainment industry since he was only 14 years old, when he started as a DJ for his friends’ parties before moving into Greek life parties and starting his own DJ company. Now, Steve LeVine Entertainment, launched in 2007, employees 35 full-time staff members and more than 70 independent contractors, organizing parties around the Southwest.

LeVine is also an investor in Maya Day & NightClub, which hosts Audien for tomorrow, December 31’s New Year’s Eve party. He’s also an investor in restaurant Majerle’s. Keep reading for how he started his business, which also signed singers Kelley James and Scott Keo and does public relations for clients such as fitness studio Amenzone. Plus, scroll down to hear five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I liked baseball and used to come to Arizona with my family all the time for spring training. I came to visit Arizona State (University) and fell in love with the place. I originally wanted to go to school to be an architect, and ASU’s school of architecture was top-rated and pretty amazing.

I ended up choosing a whole different path. I got into mass communications quickly and was in the very first class to get a Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

What’s your first memory of being passionate about music?

It was probably when I was 10, playing drums. I wanted to be a drummer and took lessons and played in bands.

What got you interested in DJing?

It almost became like DJing was playing a bunch of instruments. I was using the tape deck and the tuner. I had a belt-driven turntable and was mixing all three, making my own music with different instruments.

I always had one rule as a DJ, which was to get all the girls to the dance floor. At the time, I was DJing for kids my own age and younger, then I started DJing for fraternities and sororities at Cal State Northern while I was in high school. It was always about getting the ladies to dance – if they were dancing, there was nothing to lose.

There were five of us who had started a DJ company. I started doing fraternity and sorority parties at ASU, then I started doing every bar on Mill Avenue and in Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix. I remember sitting in class at ASU thinking, “I don’t even need this. I know exactly what I’m going to be doing.” I had nine DJs working for me – it was pretty awesome.

What is it about the nightlife industry that makes you want to be a part of it?

I love when people tell me they’ve had a great time, or something was entertaining. You see the instant satisfaction and gratification people get at your event. They walk in, and there’s a wow factor.

How would you characterize the nightlife scene in Arizona?

I think we get a lot of entertainment, but not all, like L.A., New York, Chicago, or even Miami. We don’t get the entertainment a top city should get – we should get more. Some of it has to do with politics, some of it is the heat during the summer. I’m here to take care of what I need to take care of and bring my type of entertainment to Arizona.

What do you attribute to the growth of electronic dance music?

Dance music is great music that has roots in all the other music I grew up listening to.

I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop. My best friend’s brother was in Guns N’ Roses. I was always around music, and Beastie Boys were my ultimate favorite.

Who is your current favorite artist?

I don’t have one. I love different artists. I love the performance factor of a Steve Aoki. There’s no better dude than Kaskade. He’s an unbelievable talent and musician and just about the coolest guy you’ve ever met. He’s bigger, in my eyes, than most rock stars out there, but he doesn’t act too cool for school.

Calvin (Harris) is a great guy. Calvin’s music is fantastic. I always love ATB and his attitude and the music he plays.

A favorite is a tough one, though. I would say Beastie Boys are my favorite.

What makes a good entrepreneur, and what makes you a good entrepreneur?

I’m in a group called Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and it’s one of my most favorite things I do. I get to be in a group with nine other entrepreneurs in our sector, and our chapter in Arizona has 155 members and is the fifth-largest in the world and third-largest in the U.S.

I love being an entrepreneur. I want to have a great business. Never would I have thought I’d be able to build an entertainment business in Scottsdale, Arizona from scratch. There’s a passion that runs through this office. I try to make everyone here have that same entrepreneurial feeling, that this is their company. If everyone has that same ownership mentality, this business is going to live forever.

What are your goals?

My goals are to have a well-run, profitable business; to put on memorable and successful events and shows we can look back and be proud of; to be in more cities and grow organically; and to have the artists signed to this agency be the best they can be and have unbelievable careers. I’d also like to become an excellent delegator.

What advice would you have for someone who aspires to own their own entertainment company?

Just do it. You have to be willing to work around the clock. I don’t sleep, but I get to follow my dream. Do the same if you want to do it. If you want to be the leader of a team, go out and do it — just make sure you’re ready to work your butt off.

What three things make a great party?

The music or entertainment, food and drinks, and the people.

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