Michael Papazian is not so much defying the odds but changing the narrative about those born with Down syndrome.
“Music is my passion. I like to make people dance,” said Papazian.
His professional name is DJ MPower. He’s a man of few words but relishes in allowing his music and abilities to speak for him.
“I played at clubs in Tempe and Old Town,” said Papazian.
Bill Papazian, Michael’s father and biggest fan, says the 22-year-old is a lifelong music lover.
He made the decision in just the 7th grade to chase his dream of becoming a DJ and attended his first DJ class at Scottsdale Community College when he was 13 years old.
His professors noticed his natural talent immediately.
“DJ Tranzit, who was teaching that class, said, 'you know, Michael seems to have an aptitude,'” said Bill Papazian.
Private lessons soon followed. Now his talents are on full display at clubs and competitions around the Valley. A recent original track suddenly climbed the Mix Cloud Global House Music Charts, peaking at 37.
Michael says it doesn’t come without hard work, so he practices for two to three hours every day.
His inspiring achievements have brought heartfelt messages from across the world.
“They say things like, 'thank you so much for showing me what life for my child could look like one day,'” said Bill.
For DJ MPower, he hopes his passion continues to live up to his name, changing minds and expectations for those like him. He's no longer reaching for the stars but creating his own universe.
“I think he is part of a whole new generation of people with Down syndrome that have gotten some spotlight for themselves and are productively using that time to show people that, as Michael's motto is, there are no limits, and there are no ceilings,” said Bill.