It's been a good long while since DJing was solely a boy's sport and helping to make sure it stays that way is Jessica Who? From LIV and Louis, to Purdy and The Mondrian, Who? not only cuts it with the biggest boys in town, she often out-cuts 'em. And in the end proves once and for all, dizzy is in the hands of the DJ that keeps the floor packed -- everything else is just claptrap.
First off, why the name? The name kind of wrote itself when I was just starting out and working a lot with another local DJ. He would say, 'You know that girl Jessica? She's a DJ.' And of course people would respond with, 'Jessica Who?'. ... I like a little humor in everything I do, so of course I couldn't have a super serious name.
When folks ask what kinda music you play, what do you tell them? I always hated that question because with the way things have progressed in the past few years almost everyone plays 'everything'. I usually say, 'Come find out for yourself,' but the truth is I play hip hop, house, disco, funk, soul, electro, indie, rock, old and new. I grew up with so many different styles of music that it's definitely reflected in how I play. As long as it's fun and high energy, I'll play it.
Word is you stepped in and started spinning unannounced somewhere and the promoter dug what you did so much he asked you back. Can you briefly tell us the story? I was always bugging a DJ friend of mine with what to play that week, so he said 'You're going to DJ tonight,' and I blew it off as a joke. That night, I showed up, he gave me a 10-minute run through and took off to the bar. I can't say it was any good, but apparently I played good music and didn't make anyone's ears bleed. I'm sure the promoter thought it would be cute to have a girl DJing, so he asked me to come back. I immediately submersed myself in it and started learning as much as I could, and I haven't stopped. You never stop learning as a DJ.
You do the dizzy in some of the hippest clubs on both sides of the causeways. Do you have to alter what you play for the two different crowds? All in all, it doesn't really matter where a club is located, the only thing that usually changes is how much more you can get away with, and that goes especially for other states and countries. Between the Beach and Downtown, it really just depends on the type of party. So yes, my music will be a little different at Poplife then it will be at LIV but still a fun vibe. I always try to do things that are really unexpected, aside from what people expect to hear, on either side of the bridge.
What about when you make the trek up to Pangea? Broward is a little weird. You definitely have to go more radio for them. That doesn't make it any less fun for me. It's a challenge to see how much more I can get away with while still playing the Black Eyed Peas' entire catalogue.
Speaking of dizzy: Can you please name three of the hottest spins right now? Jay-Z's "On to the Next One" is one of the hottest tracks out right now. It has a great beat, and everyone loves Jay-Z even if they don't know it. A local producer, Sonic C, has a track called "Stickin'" that is just insane. It's definitely what most DJs call "car alarm" music, but it just gets people crazy even if they have no idea what it is. And another one like that is A-trak's remix of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Heads Will Roll." It has a great big room vibe and gets a great reaction even from people who have never heard it.
What other DJs -- local or otherwise -- you find inspiring ? There are so many DJs now that it's really hard to narrow it down. Obviously, I give respect to the big ones -- Craze, A-trak, Jazzy Jeff and of course my big brother Irie. Locally, my friends, Contra, Mike Deuce, Ross One, Konflikt. ... But I love hearing random DJs at random places that are doing their thing. Anytime I hear a DJ that's clean, creative and keeps a room moving I'm happy. I definitely find inspiration in people that work hard and love what they do and didn't become a DJ because it was cool or Serato was on sale that day.
In a phrase, what do you think makes for a perfect night out? Less bulls---, more good music and good friends.
Right now you're at LIV, Louis, Pangea, Purdy and The Mondrian. Where do you hang out when you're not spinning? The rare nights I am off, I like to check out other DJs. Usually, that means I'm somewhere like Mansion or LIV. But my favorite places to hang are the Florida Room, Bardot, The Room ... and Tootsie's!
What's next for Jessica Who? I can't wait to find out! This year is looking great so far. I'm definitely buckling down and working way harder. I'm getting to work with a lot of great, positive people, so we'll see what happens.
Hear DJ Jessica Who? Wednesdays at LIV, Fridays at Louis (or Pangea), Sundays at Purdy Lounge and Mondays at The Mondrian