Stop The Presses!

NFL’s Justin Durant Talks Music, DJ Dreams, and Dallas Cowboys

Stop The Presses!

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Photo: Brian Bahr

When he's not busy dreaming about a Super Bowl ring to top off his first season with the Dallas Cowboys, NFL linebacker Justin Durant keeps himself occupied with ambitions of a totally different sort -- the musical kind, that is. The pro athlete spends his off hours listening to new music and practicing his DJ skills; something he's been into since he was young.

Durant, who previously played for Detroit and signed with the Cowboys in March of this year, admits that his musical aspirations are still on the budding side. He's understandably busy with the start of the 2013 season, but still finds time to keep up with all the latest new sounds, mostly through his Twitter account where he follows taste-makers and trades suggestions on what's buzzing. (Need some new tunes for your iPod? Tweet him for some ideas!)

We at Yahoo Music had the opportunity to chat with him about what it's like to straddle two such different worlds as music and sports, as well as ask a few burning questions about what's brewing this season at AT&T Stadium.

Yahoo Music: I understand you're into the EDM scene, and you're interested in DJing. How's that been working out for you?

Justin Durant: I haven't really found the time to really try to master it. I got some tables, but I don't really know what I'm doing. I just play around with it a little bit. But I've been interested in music for as long as I can remember. Probably since I was 6 or 7 years old -- I started buying stuff and getting into it. Right now I'm just taking advantage , just trying to get the most knowledge that I can, in case I get into it in the future.

So, you think music is a future career possibility for you?

I think so. I think I have a good ear for music, and kind of know what people want to hear. I've been asked to iPod-DJ parties, and stuff like that.

What artists were you into when you were growing up?

When I was younger, I always listened to R&B and hip hop mainly. Aside from that, my mother played a lot of old music. [I liked] Nas, Outkast, Notorious B.I.G. Busta Rhymes was my favorite rapper. The first cassette tape I bought was Busta Rhymes' first album The Coming, which was in like '96 or something.

And what's got you excited musically these days?

Just different stuff--people on Twitter, I take a look at what they're into. I'll give basically anything a listen! The main way I keep up with stuff is I follow a lot of people who have good taste and good suggestions. I try to get on the Internet and surf a little bit, see what new songs are out. When I have time at the stadium or I'm eating lunch or something like that, I always have my iPhone with me, listening to music and trying to keep up to date.

Having such a busy schedule with the Cowboys, I imagine music must be a great escape for you when you need a break.

No doubt about it. It helps me through a lot of stuff. It's healing sometimes, coming from a long hard day and putting on some Sade or something to mellow out!

There are very few pro football players who've tried to branch out into music. Why do you think that's so?

I think probably that people just look at them as football players and don't look at them as artists. It's hard to take it seriously that it's something that they really want to do, and really love.

Do you have any colleagues in the NFL whom you know are pursuing music?

There's a couple guys that I know that can actually rap. [San Francisco 49'ers cornerback] Eric Wright, I played with him in Detroit for a couple years. He's one of the guys who can rap that I'll actually sit and listen to. He's really talented.

So, when you officially launch your DJ career, would you like to tour with Eric?

I would! Is my girl allowed to come? (Laughs)

It must be really difficult to find time to pursue music, what with your current schedule.

That's what I was saying: I haven't gone as into it as I'd like to, because I always put football first. My job in professional football is always going to be the most important thing to me. Trying to get into something else is where I'd take my focus off of it.

Let's switch over to a few football questions. Dallas hasn't done so well the past few seasons, but there's lots of talk about how your team is a big contender this year. What do you think is different this season?

I'm not sure, this is my first season here. I just know what we have now. We have a great pool of talent, and the guys are really, really working hard and everybody has the same goal. Everybody's on the same page and knows it's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to get to where we want to go. You can see it every day, the guys are really putting it all out there to be sure we can make that goal a reality.

You're feeling pretty optimistic then? You are in a tough division.

It's the NFL. Every week is going to be a challenge. We're ready to go.

How's Tony Romo looking this year?

No doubt: he's looking real good. We all have our faith in him, and you've always got a chance when you've got a good quarterback.

He just signed a massive contract. There's been a history of some players not delivering after inking such big dollars...is there any concern about that?

Nah, not at all. I don't think he's thinking about the money or stuff like that. He had money before this.

One last question: Your boss Jerry Jones is quite a character. Was wondering if you had any funny stories about him?

He's been great from what I've seen -- I haven't really had a chance to sit in with him, I've only seen him a couple times. So no, no personal stories!

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