Detroit electronic music legend Delano Smith talks cancer diagnosis and support from the community

An “All Hands on Decks!” benefit concert will be held at the Magic Stick to help fund his chemotherapy.

Electronic musician Delano Smith works a turntable onstage at Movement 2022.

Delano Smith at Movement Electronic Music Festival 2022.

Delano Smith is a musical legend in the city of Detroit. The Chicago-born, Detroit-raised producer has had a career spanning over three decades, creating sounds that are heard around the world.

Beginning in basements throughout the city, Smith was performing residencies at clubs and blending techniques to create House and Techno music before it had a name. During the post disco-era, Smith says the genre has roots in the LGBTQ+ community and that that connection began in Detroit.

Smith is one of the original crop of Detroit DJs, and has remained committed to the craft and spreading that knowledge to younger generations.

Smith was diagnosed with cancer in 2022 and is currently battling Thymic Carcinoma, a rare and unpredictable bone cancer that is difficult to treat and contain. The Detroit dance music community is throwing a benefit concert called “All Hands on Decks!” to help fund his chemotherapy treatment. The concert will take place on Wednesday, April 19 at the Magic Stick on Woodward. Doors open at 7 p.m. for sets from Wajeed, Kevin Saunderson, John Collins and more. Tickets are available for guests 18+, and donations can be made directly to Smith’s GoFundMe as well.

He joined CultureShift to talk about health, music and the support he’s felt from the Detroit music community.

Listen: Detroit electronic music legend Delano Smith talks cancer diagnosis and support from the community

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.