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DJ D-Nice leads virtual dance parties on Instagram Live: "Music has always been a great escape"

DJ D-Nice on his Instagram Live parties
DJ D-Nice hosts Instagram Live dance parties 04:30

Legendary DJ D-Nice is determined to bring a dance party to everybody at home. D-Nice (a.k.a. Derrick Jones) is hosting a daily event that he calls "Homeschool at Club Quarantine."

On Sunday, more than 160,000 people joined him on Instagram Live. Among the bold-faced names who have "dropped in" on the party were former first lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, former Vice President Joe Biden and Jennifer Lopez.

On Monday's "CBS This Morning," D-Nice talked about his inspiration for the virtual dance party: "I was at home, I'm self-isolating, so just sitting here. And I realized, outside of just missing my family, that the other most important thing to me was the crowd, like, DJ-ing for people. I woke up at 4 in the morning and decided, I wanted to throw a party. It was supposed to be just for my friends, just a few friends on Instagram. 

"I was literally just playing music from my laptop, and the next day, I hooked up the turntables. And then I noticed that the crowd started to grow. John Legend's in there, and I called Dave Chappelle up, he jumped in live. And then the next day J. Lo and Drake arrived. And then that Saturday night party was everything. It was like everyone was there!"

"You seem to get very excited when you said Mark Zuckerberg has joined," said "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King.

"I loved that part. When Mark jumped it, it was exciting. The part that touched me the most was, I put in the call to see if I could get the former first lady in there. I wasn't sure. The moment that she popped in, I just froze. It's not like I haven't DJ'd for her before, [but] I froze up. I didn't know what to play! The music faded, I was like, 'Oh, I know what she loves, she loves Beyoncé. Let's play that.' It was awesome."

DJ D-Nice, who attracts tens of thousands to his Instagram dance parties under the title "Home School at Club Quarantine."  CBS News

In terms of playing for a "crowd" of 160,000, D-Nice said, "I'm like, wow, this is pretty much the equivalent of, like, two stadiums of people just listening to music!"

Asked about how he came up with a setlist, he replied, "I don't have a playlist, I literally just play what feels good. You know, I wanted people to feel good. I wanted the experience to be lifted through music, one song at a time."

Co-host Tony Dokoupil asked, "What is it about music that people need right now?"

"Music has always been a great escape," D-Nice said. "Like, you can just feel good. No matter what your problems are, you put on a good tune, and it just takes you away. And I was trying to do that through the music. 

"What was great, it was the other component: People were in a chat room, and the beauty of it is, it initially started with my friends pretending they were inside of a club. Hey, I'll meet you at the bar. Hey, who let this person in? The whole experience was fun. It wasn't just the music, it was just the experience of everyone just kind of escaping what's going on today just for a few hours."

King asked, "You are so used to playing to large crowds. How different was it? You're alone, too, when you're playing the music. Was it a weird feeling for you, too?" 

"I guess the weird part was that my neighbors were complaining that the music was too loud!" he replied. "I understand. I'm like, if they only knew! Gayle King is in here, Michelle Obama's in here. I have to play this music!"

When asked how long he will keep "Homeschool at Club Quarantine" going, D-Nice replied, "I was going to take a break, but since everyone's saying that it's a daily thing, and you kind of influenced me, so I think I'm going just continue doing it as long as people [want]. I read the comments, and people are saying some incredible things, how the music is uplifting their spirits and we all feel so connected through the chat rooms."

The next jam session is scheduled for Monday, March 23 at 6 p.m. ET on Instagram @dnice.

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