The DJ industry is huge, but female DJs are rare to come by. St. Louis has just a few of them and each of them bring something different to their mix. DELUX got the opportunity to talk to one of the few female DJs, sheBEATZ, about her love for music, the male dominated industry, and the level of support there is in the DJ industry.
DELUX: How old were you when you first fell in love with music?
DJ sheBEATZ: I was probably like 5. My parents used to throw basement parties and my dad had a set up of two cassette players. So I could load like four songs and fade the volume–he showed me. I did that for years and I began making mix CDs, making sure the songs fit whatever theme I created. I’ve played instruments and I’ve danced all the way through high school. I stopped being so active in the arts in college but I would always jam out to my old CDs I made in high school.
DELUX: What inspired you to do music/become a DJ?
DJ sheBEATZ: Music is what inspired me to DJ. My love for it. Also, while I was in college I was trying to find a medium. I went into journalism because I thought I wanted to write about it, I got into radio because I thought I wanted to talk about it, and then finally after grad school and going out in STL, I realized I NEEDED to play it. STL was missing my vibe, so I decided to fix that.
DELUX: What do you think sets you apart from other DJs?
DJ sheBEATZ: My vibe is what sets me apart from other DJs. I’m still working on my scratches and tricks, however my transitions and music selections are unmatched. I like to tell stories in my mixes, create and stick to themes, and truly vibe off the crowd. For example, every DJ has their own preference of how long to play a song before transitioning, me personally, I like to go off attention span and crowd reaction, because you just gotta let the song play and let folks vibe sometimes….and I don’t go nuts with the drops and sounds.
DELUX: Since the DJ industry is predominantly male, have you experience discrimination?
DJ sheBEATZ: I haven’t experienced any discrimination but I’ve definitely been tested and tried. It can definitely feel like a boy’s club but if you present that you’re serious, solid, bold, genuine, consistent, smart, respectable, street smart and GOOD–basically you have to over prove yourself to be accepted just as African-Americans have to do everyday in America.
DELUX: Oh Wow, from the outside looking in, it seems like the DJ industry is supportive of each other, specifically in St. Louis. Do you agree or have you experienced otherwise?
DJ sheBEATZ: My immediate community of DJs have shown me nothing but love and to be honest, the entire DJ community supports one another. We are all always trying to meet each other and support each other’s events. Also, if any harm is done to a DJ or if there is a gear/technical emergency, I have about 5 people I could call and each of them probably have 5-10 people they could call, so it’s all love at the end of the day.
DELUX: What types of events do you DJ?
DJ sheBEATZ: I DJ all kinds of events. I primarily got my experience from DJ Sir Thurl’s All Star DJ Service, where I started and got my certification. I was able to experience DJ-ing community events such as youth dance competitions, anti-violence rallies, and even Cardinal’s Opening Day. I currently work for Utopia Entertainment where I’ve done bar/bat mitzvahs, homecomings, dinner parties, and even a 80’s themed 60th B-Day party. Independently, I’ve landed weddings, wellness retreats, comedy shows, poetry events, and I was blessed with the opportunity to play at a wedding reception in Las Vegas on the rooftop of the MGM Grand.
DELUX: That’s exciting. Congratulations on that! So switching gears a little bit,How do you feel about artists sampling older music like Kanye West and even Chris Brown?
DJ sheBEATZ: I think sampling music is artistic and nostalgic. I believe it’s a creative way to recycle classics and unknowns. It’s almost like creating an art project with recycled items only. I think it adds a certain sound that we lack today and I think that’s why artists use them.
DELUX: I agree with that, but do you like that they are paying homage, or do you think artists are lacking originality?
DJ sheBEATZ: I don’t feel like sampling takes away originality because if that was the case DJ-ing wouldn’t be an art form. It’s about what you can produce combining old and new and then it becomes an original and fresh perspective that fits today’s wave. You have to be strategically creative and aware of the science it takes to do that and I will forever commend artists who can.
DELUX: That’s a nice way to put it, so besides your normal busy DJ nights, what other events do you have planned for the rest of this year?
DJ sheBEATZ: Right now, I’m currently looking for a residency and I’m also collaborating with a few people to bring some fresh events to the city such as a sip and paint, listening series, and a networking series for artists and educators. I’m looking to travel more this year as a DJ, my goal is to build professionally and grow personally.
Make sure you follow sheBEATZ on Instagram and Facebook @DJsheBEATZ