Los Angeles, CA / San Francisco, CA / New York, NY
What do you do?
I'm a full time dj/music journalist/curator. People think 'Oh, a dj. Lots of late nights, bars & nightclubs, yah?'. Barely, but those are fun too. I'd say, more like brand/lifestyle launch parties, museums, Coachella, radio, poolside, silent discos and private/corporate events. I get booked alongside all the KCRW & Soulection peeps. I like to paddling for waves as they are just about to take shape. I'm a creative who plays new things that make people run up an ask about a remix or an artist they may not be familiar with yet. I have an internal compass and point of view on music and what I want to put out there into the world and at events and it has little to do with staying inside genre lines and more about the overall vibe and energy.
What steps did you take to get where you are now?
I started djing as a teenager on my college radio station in the Bay Area [KZSC]. I became a music director, and after graduation worked for indie labels like Stonesthrow. I was invited to write about music for print at URB Magazine and then for Okayfuture. I did not dj out in front of crowds till about 5 years after I had been on the radio. I wanted to make sure I was good enough first. I took the whole endeavor quite serious from the jump.
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 in a setting. It's a whole additional set of skills responding to clients in a clear and prompt manner, collaborating and communicating logistical details for events through the whole planning and production process. It's another thing again to source graphic artists, do branding, social media and web development. Add to all that, being a nice person when you show up for work. I think that a faction of djs drop the ball on either professionalism or attitude coming into an event. I love my job. So that part isn't hard. Although my little sister says I look too serious djing. lol. I tell her, focus, it's called focus!
What are you working on right now?
I finally feel like I've gotten past the hump. I've found it takes 3yrs to get solid footing when you relocate as an artist and freelance. I have done it twice from SF to NYC to LA. Now that I have all the basics covered I have time to design artwork and merch. Plan a radio show, and do some production and remixing work. I would also be totally stoked to broadening my network of neat people and venues here to work with.
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?
Other than the political cycle we are in? Social media can be challenging but genuine connections make up for when it's disheartening. Sometimes I'll stop and remind myself that my bucketlist, goals and style aren't like everyone elses. I have a unique path and have quirky interests. All I have to do is stay true to that and I keep having fun and finding myself in the right situations. It's pretty awesome to really acknowledge that likes and external approval often do not equate to happiness and success.
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?
Wow, I don’t know if I could afford the people I want at that rate. But if I could hire people to help me with things, they’d be hunting down the running list of hundreds of hard-to-find tracks and remixes. I’d have someone update the content and some structural stuff on my websites, do some social media management. I need to start designing visuals for festivals. I was stuck short on that for Coachella this past year! Also designing some artwork and merch. There’s always lots to do and only one of me.
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?
I think my best experiences as a dj and curator always have the same foundation. The client has an idea of my reputation or style and trusts what I want to do with music. They are clear and communicative in negotiating contracts. They treat me well during the event and send payment in a timely manner. It's mostly about understanding, respect and rapport. I love having good relationships with the people I team up with. I decided a long time ago one of the standards that I had was not getting into compromising positions playing music I don't like nor working with people who were not a pleasure to work with. It's worked out completely in my favor.
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 rates are a huge spectrum and depend on location, travel, scope, hours playing, prep involved, equipment required and even things like wardrobe or competitive dates (like the weekends before the holidays). It really depends on a bunch of factors. It's wild. The lowest range is usually $6oo-$1000 and moves all the way up to five digit numbers. Sometimes trade is involved with brands, which is fun. I also make a practice of djing for tiny fees or comp, for philanthropies as part of my worklife. I definitely want my clients feeling comfortable with the number we settle on. I also like to pay my rent :] When I negotiate higher fees, one of the things I look forward to is turning right around and paying creatives around me for their work, which is exactly what I do every time.
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, Updated October 2019.