Inside the Epic Life of a DJ Legend’s 23-Year-Old Daughter
Reya Benitez is the 23-year-old daughter of DJ legend John “Jellybean” Benitez.
Since the 1980s, Jellybean has produced and remixed songs for legendary artists including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Paul McCartney. He produced the late Whitney Houston’s hit “Love Will Save the Day,” from her second album.
He also dated Madonna back in 1983.
Reya Benitez recently hit the spotlight after she was seen hanging out with some of the Rich Kids of Instagram, including Andrew Warren, the grandson of a fashion tycoon, and Gaia Matisse, the great-great-granddaughter of famous french artist Henri Matisse.
Unlike most of her friends, Benitez says she had a regular upbringing and was actually under strict parental control.
She told NextShark: “When high school and college started coming around, my parents were pretty strict with me. They didn’t really want me to be in the scene or anything like that.”
Although the offspring of successful parents, Benitez is no stranger to hard work. At 13, she started working at her mom’s coffee shop in Union Square until she was 18.
“My parents have never been the type of people that are going to give me money that I can spend crazily. I always had to work. They gave me a little bit of an allowance every month, but in order to survive in NYC I had to work as well. So I always had that work mentality bestowed upon me.”
While her parents shielded her from the scene, Benitez admits she’s wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I have known how to DJ for sometime. I couldn’t stay away from my father’s record room, which we had in our house. When I was little, I loved to sort his records for him and put them in alphabetical order. I would go with him to the Virgin megastore in Union Square to listen to music and CD’s and all that stuff. I’ve been in music for my whole life; it’s in my blood.”
Benitez made her DJ debut back in April at Gaia Matisse’s birthday party.
Some of the big names in attendance were Just Drew Clothing founder Andrew Warren, Donald Trump’s daughter Tiffany Trump and Robert Kennedy Jr.’s daughter Kyra Kennedy.
When asked what attributes make for a great DJ, she said: “It’s definitely mixing and being able to transition from one song to another. You have to have an ear for it and it’s something that I’m trying to master right now.”
“I love going on Soundcloud trying to find new music that people might not have heard or remixes to songs that people might not have heard. My dad is the one that taught me how to do everything; he put a booth in my room so I just practice and listen to music all day and just create lists of songs that I love and that I want to play.”
Although her father’s prime was before her era, Benitez says she’s still a fan of his music: “He’s just such an inspiration. He’s always so happy. The music you can just tell is flowing through him. He’s this musical genius that I try to tap into but there’s always so much going on in his head that it’s so hard because it’s so magical. I don’t even how to explain it. He has so much wisdom and so much experience. He has worked with so many legends, and he is one too. Everything that he puts his hands on literally makes it into gold.”
Aside from DJing, Benitez says she’d also like to pursue a career in modeling as well. Her mother is an accomplished catalog model.
Benitez currently juggles trying to get both her music and modeling career off the ground, while managing a full-time job in the hospitality industry.
“It’s really hard with having a full-time job and handling everything. I have a lot of my plate. I have to do these side things in my free time, which is usually pretty rare. I have work events after work, I have dinners, client meetings (it usually varies every night). I have to obviously make time for my friends and family, so it’s kind of being put on the back-burner right now, but hopefully it’ll get done soon.”