DJ / Music Journalist / Curator
What do you do?
I'm a full time dj/journalist/music curator. People think 'Oh, bars, nightclubs'. Nope, not mostly. Think more along the lines of fashion, museums, Coachella, radio, poolside, brunch, silent discos and private launch/lifestyle events. Think more like KCRW, Soulection and cutting edge. Someone who plays things that make people run up an ask about a new artist or remix. I definitely have a perspective and point of view on music. I do not rest in one genre family. I'm versatile.
What steps did you take to get where you are now?
I began djing on my college radio station in the Bay [UCSC/KZSC], became a music director, graduated and started working for a record label that helped Stonesthrow and a bunch of other indies. Started writing reviews and interviews for URB Magazine and continued on that route for about a decade. I identify people who I want to collaborate with as well as companies. That's how I came by a few of the companies on my client list.
For other people in your field, what do they usually lack?
It's one thing to have a great musical ear and be able to read people and a setting. It's a whole other set of skills to respond to clients in a clear and prompt manner and collaborate on events. Then another thing again to source great graphic artists, collaborate on branding and web development. Add to all that, being a nice person when you show up for work. I love my job. So that part isn't too hard. Although my little sister says I look too serious djing. lol. Focus, it's called focus!
What are you working on right now?
I'm working on planting more roots in Los Angeles, selecting a location for a residency in town and extricating myself from working in New York so much. I'm brainstorming recording Soultronica Vol.7 and a new African/Azonto mix for OkayAfrica. I'm also considering picking up radio again. I just can't leave it alone :] Where would I want to host a show? Not sure yet.
We are all Slashies with multiple skills, which one do you wish you could do more often?
I'm lucky. I love my job djing and programming music. I'm also interested in doing voice-over and looking into that possibility in LA.
What is frustrating you right now?
When I reach out to clients in LA, that I've worked with [and who love me] in NYC and the LA peeps don't respond to my emails, while their sister-location is trying to book me. THAT has been frustrating. Also, I've been wanting to open for live shows (I've done this for people like Aloe Blacc, Beyonce, etc) here in LA and can't get talent booking agents to tell me how to go about it. Laying down pre-performance vibes... it's practically volunteering(!) and ... lol I can't seem to volunteer here in LA yet! Oh well.
What task keeps landing at the bottom of the To Do list?
Giant to-do list. A few things keep landing at the bottom.
- Checking out venues in LA for the gathering I'd like to throw.
- Connecting with radio here and feel out what the best place for me to do the soul x electronic show I have in mind.
- Photo shoots. Absolute bottom of the list.. but very overdue. Orchestrating hair, makeup, a photographer and clothing seem hella overwhelming.
If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?
If I could hire someone I'd have them help me with some digital music librarian things. I'd also have them update content on my website and FB page. Perhaps add one more page for a store to my website.
Let's bring out the time machine. What do you wish you could have told yourself, when, and why?
Age 9: learn the drums
Age 21: kiss more boys
Age 22: start djing in front of people now. don't wait 5 years
Age 26: cash all of your Yahoo! stock, buy a house
2010: move to LA, not NYC (maybe)
What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for?
Djing, laying vibes. I'm happy to help with music curation in other ways, if needed as well. I've been really stoked to play for the LA creative community so far and feel really welcomed and valued. I'd love to go on tour again, do tour support for an artist. I want to do a houseparty for Ellen. lol. LA bucketlist business. I have a lot of to-do's too many to list.
What is your ideal client?
HA! Ace Hotel is one of my clients. I programmed djs for them in NYC and did a night for them rooftop in LA earlier this year. They treated me awesome from the start of the evening. The roof manager told me how everything gels and was a great communicator. She gave me no music direction, which meant she trusted me to do what I do. She also told me Reggie Watts would be showing up with a party of 10 people for his birthday!? [I won't go into huge detail but I am a giant Reggie fan and have been trying to see him for years, unsuccessfully. He's my Unicorn and I was djing his birthday, unexpectedly]. That made my night. I started playing. The venue manager came over and gushed about my music selection, which was awesome. Then Reggie shows up. The night warms up and and he ends up taking his funky sweater off and dancing around with his floaty afro for hours. I even got a ride to my car in his Tesla. Magical music-nerdery night.
Do you allow yourself to say No?
I say no on occasion. When people ask me to dj for free (and it's not a philanthropy event for a good cause, really?). I choose several events a year to donate my services to. Djing for 'exposure' is not really awesome compensation. We all can't pay for health insurance with 'exposure' :D I'm also selective about all-female events based on if it's marginalizing or empowering context. I negotiate on events where people offer a very low rate or expect me to bring in the whole dj equipment+sound set up for free.
What is your rate?
My range is huge and depends on location, travel, hours of time playing, prep involved, equipment required, etc. $2oo-$36oo. I don't know if it's just me, but I think music is one of the most important factors in vibes of an event. Make or break. I definitely like to have my clients feel comfortable with what they budget for music/entertainment. I also like to pay my rent :]
How should someone approach you about working together?
Ah, if a potential client emails me with the following, we are golden!
Type of event
Length of event/time I'd be playing
Equipment provided or required
This member profile was originally published in October 2015.