Steve Aoki Biography

Inside the Empire of a World-Famous DJ?

By this point, is anyone who doesn’t know about Steve Aoki? Although he isn’t the most famous DJ we can point out, he’s definitely someone who has made a name for himself and is known to millions around the world. 

As a DJ, you can guess he makes most of his earnings thanks to his profession and how he is part of the music industry, which makes other artists want to collaborate with him. 

But just like other famous people, Aoki has a card or two under his sleeves when it comes to money and businesses. 

Before we get there, you need to learn a thing or two about the musician and record producer and how he built his multimillionaire career thanks to his talent and hard work. 

Also, we cannot accept you don’t know a song or two. Have you at least listened to one of his collaborations? If not, it’s time to get culturized at least a bit!

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When It All Started: Steve Aoki Early Years

Although we all know him as Steve Aoki, this is pretty much his artistic name. 

His real name is Steven Hiroyuki Aoki, and he’s the son of Hiroaki ‘Rocky’ Aoki and Chizuru Kokobayashi. Although he is of Japanese origin, he was born in Miami, Florida, on November 30, 1977. 

To this date, there isn’t much information about how her parents met and if they lived for a long time in the USA or moved recently from Japan. 

Most of the information about his family is not a secret but neither shared with others. We know that his family didn’t remain long in Miami. 

They moved to Newport Beach, California, when Aoki was young. His father, a former Japanese wrestler, founded the Benihana restaurant chain and built it to make it the main income for the family.

Regarding other connections, he is the half-brother of Devon Aoki, and he has two older siblings: sister Kana and brother Kevin. 

From here, we have to jump straight to Aoki’s education.

In 1995, Steve Aoki graduated from Newport Harbor High School and decided to attend college at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he ended up receiving two BA degrees. One in Feminist Studies, the other in Sociology. 

During his time, he ran underground concerts from the Santa Barbara Student Housing Cooperative, where he lived at that time, showing his passion for music, which showed in earlier years. 

Aoki gained a large following by performing almost nonstop on college campuses and due to how much people liked his music and remixes. 

This led him to start a professional career where he performed nonstop, just like back in the old days. 

It is said that he performed approximately 250 shows annually, at least for the first decade of his career. 

However, he continued to bring more shows. Proof of this is how he performed in more than 55 cities across 60 dates in the United States and Canada during the Deadmeat Tour, which he did in spring 2012.

Before this tour, Steve had already built followers from his college days and performances and from participation in unique discos and private shows for artists and in the music industry. 

He rose his fame with every performance and was putting himself at the same level as other DJs like David Guetta. 

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Building a Brand & Making Money

Going back to 1996, Steve didn’t stay quiet nor lost time when it came to his music. 

During this year, he founded Dim Mak Records. The label’s name is a nod to Bruce Lee, Aoki’s childhood hero. 

Besides focusing on performing, Aoki is also a DJ, club promoter, and producer. He has remixed many artists, including Kanye West and Drake, Eminem, and The Killers. 

“Moving Units” was Aoki’s first group, which was a Los Angeles-based band with Blake Miller, and what made him start his current career by making remixes from the previous singers and many others as well. 

In October 2008, he released his first mix album, Pillowface, and His Airplane Chronicles. He was also featured in ‘Essential Mix,’ which was broadcast on ‘BBC Radio 1 in August 2008 and October 2012.

He continued making remixes of different artists. These were made well-known through his YouTube channel as well as his Twitter account. 

His remix of the song “Forever,” originally sung in December 2009 by Drake, Lil Wayne, and Eminem, reached the top of the ‘Hype Machine” chart.

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He began touring in 2010 with various artists and held shows throughout the USA and Canada. He also visited Japan and China, where he gained a lot of popularity. 

He was well-known for his acrobatic acts on stage and interaction with the audience.

His song ‘I’m In the House’ was released in collaboration with Zuper Blahq in March 2010. It reached the top five on the UK Singles Chart, the UK Dance Chart’ and the UK Indie Chart.

In January 2012, his first solo album, “Wonderland,” was released. It was nominated at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards for the ‘Best Dance/Electronica Album’ category. His second EP, “It’s the end of the world as we know it,” followed.

He was the sixth-best DJ in the “2013 America’s Best DJ” competition. His number, “A Light That Never Comes,” was promoted by ‘DJ Times’ magazine.

Steve produced many tracks during this time that were used in various commercials, TV programs, and movies. For example, “Get Me Outta Here” was featured in a commercial for “Scion,” while “Back to Earth” was part of the soundtrack to the movie “Step Up: All In.”

His two-part album, “Neon Future” (Parts I & II), was also a success. Parts I and II reached number one on the US Dance/Electronic Albums list in 2014 and 2015. His popularity skyrocketed, and ‘Relativity Productions ‘delivered a documentary about his life entitled ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead. 

It was recorded during the time that the two parts of “Neon Future” were being made.

In July 2017, he released his fourth studio album, “Steve Aoki Presents Kolony,” which was available for purchase in July 2017. Then, he produced singles with artists around the globe, including the Korean group BTS which brought more fame to both sides as their fanbases joined.

Besides music, the DJ created the YouTube series “The Neon Future Dinner Series” in 2020. On May 28, 2020, Aoki hosted guests Ross Butler, Henry Golding, and Lisa Ling to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. 

Tony Hawk, Shaun White, and T-Pain were previous guests.

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Aoki created the show in response to the social distancing that he experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. He felt the need to make connections with his peers and fans because of how the world had changed. 

To this date, in 2022, the American musician is considered the #4 Best DJ Worldwide, and his fame just continues growing with how the Asian culture and artists are getting more attention and his contributions to it. 

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Inside His Net Worth: Steve Aoki’s Fortune

Let’s talk about money because we know this is one of the main reasons you are here. 

It isn’t hard to guess that most of Aoki’s income comes from his career. Considering his album sales are great, and he performs on tours and in private shows, you bet he makes his good money. 

However, we also have to consider his part in the Benihana restaurant company, one of the most famous American restaurants based on Japanese cuisine. 

In case it wasn’t clear, his father founded it, and to this date, it is quite a millionaire restaurant many people love. 

After Hiroaki Aoki’s death, Steven is considered the heir to his father’s fortune, but there has been a long family feud related to his stepmom. 

During the inheritance, it is said that all children receive part of the money. However, Devon Aoki and Steve Aoki got most of the fortune from the restaurant, and they are both very close.

We want to skip legal issues related to the restaurant. Thus, you need to know that Steve has worked on it as a child by helping as an assistant in the kitchen and his older siblings and half-sister. 

They have inherited a great deal of the fortune, and Steve’s side is set at about $20 million alone. This isn’t entirely confirmed, but we will take it as the average or estimate for this part of his fortune. 

As for the rest, how much he has made with copies sold and performances isn’t clear. 

Unlike other artists, Aoki doesn’t disclose much information about his earnings, at least in detail. 

However, his fortune was estimated at $190 million by the end of 2021, and this just keeps growing. 

This money comes from his label and the collection launched under the same name + tours and shows—as mentioned before. 

Part of it is also invested in real estate. Steve and his wife live in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nevada, where they own a 16,000 square foot home that was built in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis and during the real estate market meltdown. 

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At the time, the property was valued at $12 million, but it fell due to the economy, and he was able to get it for $3 million in cash. 

Today, Steve has invested millions in making it a brand-new property that is known for being technologically savvy and stunning, which Steve considers a dream house. 

Besides this property, there isn’t much information about other acquisitions, but he does own an art collection valued at over $2 million.

What is important to notice as well is how Steve has invested in different companies. Those include SpaceX and Uber. 

However, we want to point out his investment in the e-sports team Rogue as Aoki is a game and loves taking part in different tournaments and contributing to the industry. 

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Philanthropy: Steve Aoki’s Contribution to the World

Besides giving us heavenly remixes and music, he is also someone who cares about others. 

Continuing the fact that he is a gamer, he takes part in all of those tournaments for charity purposes. 

One of the most recent was his participation in the Warzone Royal Ruckus charity tournament of the top gamers who played Call of Duty to support the Equal Justice Initiative. 

Other athletes and famous people took part, but many gamers looked forward to seeing the DJ participate as a fellow gamer. 

Most of the tournaments and charities he participates in are in order to fight injustice and racial discrimination around the world to protect basic human rights. 

The organizations are usually directed to American society, but he also helps others from other nationalities or nature. 

In fact, he has his own organization.

The Aoki Foundation funds research on the brain, focusing on regenerative medicine and brain preservation. 

Aoki’s foundation supports disaster relief, animal rights, and people with developmental disabilities. Most of the money comes from his own revenues and donations from other individuals. 

He has also set contributions based on his shows and tours. 

In his 2013 North American tour, he donated $1 for each ticket sold, and the money was destined for four charities: Infusio, the Brain Preservation Foundation, the University of Rochester Medical Memory Care Program, and the American Brain Foundation. 

And we can keep going about Steve Aoki’s charitable fund and all his contributions thanks to his fortune and status as one of the highest-grossing dance artists of all times, music education support, and more.

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What You Should Learn from Him

Besides being a great DJ, he is someone who cares for others, has more than one investment, and makes sure his money and family are well-taken care of. So, the question is, what shouldn’t you learn from him? 

Although DJs aren’t exactly role models for most people, you can definitely take Aoki as one. He has, of course, his flaws, but he’s a great inspiration for building your music career and doing what you love while helping others.

It is also a great way to look at his career. This young boy worked hard and was gifted with the ability to sing and dance, but it’s all about hard work and pursuing your dreams.

If we compare him to several musicians out there or DJs in specific, you can tell he comes from the bottom. 

Everything may have started with his dad and a successful restaurant, but he got himself a great career from scratch. 

Moving on with his millions, he makes great money from music, but if we consider his investment in companies like SpaceX, that’s a great deal to focus on. 

Where do we want to go with all this? That copying his investment or more like aptitude about life and how to make money are great choices.

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Written by Dame Cash

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