The Right Beat: A Q&A with Detroit-based DJ Donavan Glover

DJ Donavan Glover delivers smooth sounds and fresh fits.
Photograph by Sal Rodriguez

If you frequent popular Detroit clubs like Deluxx Fluxx, Spot Lite, or Marble Bar, chances are you have danced the night away to one of Donavan Glover’s sets.

The 32-year-old Detroit native has been a consistent presence on the city’s DJing scene since picking up the craft in 2018. Detroit-born singer-songwriter Amp Fiddler and music producer Waajeed, another native Detroiter, were two of Glover’s mentors and among those who inspired him when he first started out. “Every venue is a different type of vibe,” Glover says, but folks can expect sets filled with the sounds of Afrobeat, R&B, dance, hip-hop, rap and Caribbean music.

His skills have taken him far, from playing sets in New York and Toronto to joining Grammy-nominated saxophonist and composer De’Sean Jones for a five-day residency in San Francisco. Locally, you can catch Glover hosting his “Don Lite” events alongside fellow local DJs, at Spot Lite, or performing for House Party, an event series by brothers and DJs J House and Masquenada.

Before Glover was laying tracks at local nightlife hotspots, the self-proclaimed polymath launched his career as a photographer and filmmaker in 2010, undertaking projects with friends and emerging talent. He would later add music production to his creative repertoire and produce videos for legends like Amp Fiddler and Elzhi, a former member of the Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village.

Here, we learn a bit more about the man behind the turntables.

Glover wears a one-of-one “Native Not Local” leather jacket designed by Dams in Distress, a Stüssy tee, Cac- tus Jack X Nike pants from Detroit’s Xhibition, and the Staple X Crocs clog. A chain from local jewelry brand SSR and a trucker hat from Detroit clothing label Chene Parc round out the look. // Photograph by Sal Rodriguez.

My personal style is … Comfortable. I like ath-leisure — whatever feels comfortable, functions well, and is essential. I work closely with a stylist from Michigan; her name is Brittany Roberson. Our vision was to step out of the box—I used to wear a lot of black and neutrals with colors and vintage button-up shirts. Now, as the seasons change, I’m going with a monochromatic [look].

My performance essentials: I gotta have some type of accessory on, whether it’s a necklace or a watch. And I always bring a camera with me; even if I don’t use it, I just gotta have it.

My favorite local shops and brands: I wear Distinct Life, Rick [and Yolanda] Williams’ brand. That’s a dope Detroit brand. I also wear this Detroit-based accessory brand called SSR, by my friend Saybin [Roberson]. I wear a few of her necklaces. Detroit sneaker and clothing boutique Two18. I’m getting into sneakers; I was never a sneakerhead like that. And my boy, Nelson [Sanders Jr., founder of Dandy], he’s known me since I was 6, so I always gotta support him. I always wear his navy [Dandy Worker Jacket].

My most memorable set: One good one was opening for Moodymann at Deluxx [Fluxx] in 2021. That was a cool one.

If I could only listen to one musician for life, it would be … Kid Cudi.

What makes a great DJ: What I’ve learned, and what I’m currently learning, is that organization is key. Learning when to play certain things and how to play them is big — knowing when to introduce people to something new that you know is totally different. You’ve got to come with a strategy, then depending on where the vibe takes you, you’re allowed to bounce around and [improvise].

New year, new … Perspective for living a great life.

Find out where Glover will be performing next on his Instagram, @donavanglover.

This story is from the January 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital editionAnd click here for more MI Style.