Artwork by Tori Leche
We sat down with Miette Hope to talk about her creative process, rejection and her biggest goals.
Our Society and Miette’s Tips for Young Female Musicians
Miette believes the most impressive thing about a woman is when she is comfortable in her own skin. Having plenty of experience working with male producers in the studio, she says her biggest tip is knowing,
“You don’t have anything to prove.”
When asked what aspect of our society she would change through her work, Miette shared some of her two most crucial values as a person and an artist: honesty and transparency. She hopes that if her followers can see how truly vulnerable she is in both her songwriting and live performance, they will feel more inclined to open up too.
Photo By: Robyn Walsh
“I think we can all get along better if we recognize that everyone is suffering.”
With this, her mission is to eliminate the idea that we are all separate from one another,
“Yes we may all have different paths but if we’re not connecting with each other, I don’t think we’re going to be able to accomplish our goals”.
When One Door Closes…
Rejection is part of the process of becoming a successful artist. Miette’s thoughts on rejection are that they shouldn’t slow you down, but propel you forward. “Art is completely subjective… it’s about the perspective you can see rejection from and to try to recognize the purpose in it” She described her experience with rejection as stifling, but that it has allowed her to create some of her best work.
Photo to the left by: Steven Gindler
The Impact of Social Media
Miette believes the impact social media has had on her work is both positive and a way to make sure she keeps her most authentic self in check. With over 21k followers on Instagram, she regularly livestreams rehearsals and gigs and shares song ideas on her Instagram story. Her willingness to share her craft gives her the opportunity to get instant feedback from her followers. It’s also her way of figuring out what people are responding to, before she even starts recording.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m creating just for the purpose of sharing it, instead of just creating for myself… I want to be able to create organically without the idea that I’m going to share it with people”.
The way she does this is by turning off her phone and spending some quality time with her guitar and loop pedal. For Miette, social media allows her to not only share her music, but connect with her fans and share what she represents as an artist.
Miette’s End Goal
Since change is inevitable, Miette has taught us to set active goals rather than long term goals. Miette will set short-term goals (i.e. opening up for her favorite artist coming to Boston) and manifest that by telling everyone. Even if it isn’t locked in, she brings it to fruition just by talking about it. “My biggest goal is to be an independent artist” with this intention in mind, she plans to do everything she can to see how far she can take it without a label.
Photo to the right by: Matt Chmielarczyk
All About That Bass
All About That Bass
Miette attributes her songwriting to the bass lines that run through her head from day to night. If it’s not a bass line, it’s a lyric line, or sometimes, an entire section of a song. She will pull out the Notes app in her iPhone, her loop pedal, or any instrument she is closest to. Whatever inspiration comes to her in that moment, she doesn’t give herself a filter and let’s the inspiration make its way into a song, “...as soon as I have a groove locked in, I know what the song should be about.”
Collaborations & Trevin Kraus
Miette’s most recent collaboration is with electronic producer Trevin Kraus on their hit single, “Can’t Hold It Against You”. Miette says this partnership is refreshing because they are able to learn from each other.
She expressed that their work flow is the key component of their collaboration, Miette will add a synth line while Trevin will suggest the perfect lyric. Her advice to someone who might be afraid to co-write is to break the ice. “What you’re getting out of a collaboration is something you’d never be able to get by yourself”.
You can find their most recent collaboration, “Can’t Hold It Against You” here.
Photo to the right by: Spencer Reintges
By: Grace G.W
For this holiday season we put together a collection of songs that will keep you warm and cozy through the harsh weather. We've had such a great year filled with the most incredible music, here are some our favorites to wrap up the year. From Rap to RnB to Singer-Songwriter, there is something for everyone here!
If you plan on staying indoors then all you need is H.E.R to keep you warm. Focus is H.E.R at her best! Her smooth and sultry vocals perfectly complements the thick and modern production. Check out the rest of the songs off her self-titled 2017 release.
Check out the rest of the album here.
Here we have classic Lalah Hathaway. As usual its easy to forget that this is actually a live performance since her vocal execution is spot one and ridiculously accurate. If this is your first time hearing her then you are in for a real treat! Check out her latest release that came out earlier this year, "Honestly".
Bruno Major is one of our favorite upcoming singer-songwriters. The simplicity in his songwriting takes us back to a time when all song needed was a tight back-beat and sincere lyrics. This is Major's most honest-self being laid out on this track. Truly phenomenal! Check out his touring schedule for 2018 here.
Check out the rest of the album here.
Anyone who keeps up with RnB has heard of this woman right here! While only active for a few years she has established her self as a heavyweight among the genre with her slick melodies, sensual lyrics and polished production. Check out her psychedelic inspired record "Trip", that came out earlier this year to critical acclaim.
Find the rest of the work here.
No one can make us laugh, groove and cry all at the same time like Tyler, The Creator. Check out this sincere track off his latest album, "Flower Boy". This track gives us a wholesome taste of what to expect from the rest of the record. Fat beats, artistic/avant-garde sections and Tyler's well-known flow.
Listen to the entire release here.
This LA-based singer-songwriter and producer has been dropping killer tracks from day one. The San Pedro native came out with his fourth studio album, "War & Leisure" earlier this year. Here is our favorite track of the record, Pineapple Skies.
Check out his discography and tour dates here.
We have been in love with N.E.R.D since "In Search Of..." and when we heard that they came out with a new record we didn't take an extra second to give it a listen. Check out the single off the album featuring the always on point, Kendrick Lamar.
Listen to the rest of the album here.
Check out the single off of Gambino's EP Kauai. This track is a great representation of the Gambino sound. The playful and driving back beat is well complemented by his detailed top line and melodic approach, something weve come to expect form the Redbone singer.
Listen to the full EP here.
It's Giving Tuesday, our favorite time of the year! Here are some of the charities that we love supporting in Boston and Cambridge. If any of these charities stand out to you, press "share the love" found at the bottom of each feature. Happy giving to all <3
Each year, JSJ Events hosts a clothing and item goods drive for FamilyaAid Boston. This is by far the best organization to donate clothing to if you're in the BOS/CAM area, as it gives the clothes directly to the hands of those most in need. Here's a break down of some of the work they do for underserved families in our neighborhood.
- "Prevention services to help families who are at risk of becoming homeless stay in their homes.
- Shelter for families in crisis and without a place to live. In partnership with the City of Boston, we are the only agency in Massachusetts providing 24/7 emergency shelter to families with no other shelter options. In collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we provide apartment-based shelter and support services for homeless families who are working to obtain permanent housing.
- Housing programs, including 6 units owned and managed by FamilyAid Boston, which provide formerly homeless families with permanent affordable housing and support services.
- Stabilization services for formerly homeless families who have entered permanent housing, designed to help them remain housed.
- Employment Services to assist families enrolled in our programs with finding jobs, advancing their careers, and furthering their education."
We had the pleasure of fundraising for Rosie's Place during Pink Noise 007 & 008.
"Rosie's Place was founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States. Our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives.
Today, Rosie’s Place not only provides meals and shelter but also creates answers for 12,000 women a year through wide-ranging support, housing and education services.
Check out this video to learn more about Rosie's Place!
3) Beats by Girlz
We had the pleasure of fundraising for Beats By Girlz in Spring 2017 to help them fund classes for teenage girls to learn electronic music production from local BOS/CAM schools. This is an incredible organization that Boston has the privilege to host.
"Beats by Girlz is a non-traditional, creative and educational music technology curriculum, collective, and community templated designed to empower females to engage with music technology. We provide young women with the guidance, access, tools and role-support to develop their interest (and ultimately their ability to pursue career opportunities) in music production, composition and engineering. We are working towards gender equity in a field where women are highly underrepresented and strive to help other groups mobilize and create similar change in their own communities."
4) Science Club for Girls
"Since its founding in 1994, Science Club for Girls (SCFG) has provided the very best in girls-specific programming by connecting girls in K-12 grades, especially those from underrepresented groups, with female mentor-scientists through free science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in a fun, nurturing, interactive environment. Our club-based model fosters both scientific thinking and sisterhood for our youngest participants. Our teen leadership programs give girls the opportunity to be role models, teach young children science, learn life skills, conduct science research in applied settings, and explore careers in science and technology."
5) The Fresh Truck
This is an incredibly needed organization that gives fresh foods directly to the hands of those who have the least access. With just $10 you can give an entire bag of fresh veggies, fruits, and other goods to a family in most need.
"We love Boston and we’ve been committed to making it a healthier city since 2O13. It all started while Josh was working as a health educator at the MGH Charlestown Healthcare Center. He kept hearing from his families that it was difficult to shop for healthy food — at that time, the only grocery store in the neighborhood was set to be shut down for a year-long renovation. It was this experience and some in-depth research that inspired Fresh truck to rethink the traditional grocery store model, make it mobile and bring it to the people that need it the most. Since our launch in 2O13, we have sold more than $15O,OOO of fresh food, cultivated a citywide network of community health partners, and our neighborhoods have embraced us warmly. We’re hearing the stories of kids trying their first sweet potato and families preparing meals together. We have a big vision for the future of food and healthcare, and we are only just getting started."
If you think Boston is boring, you're doing it all wrong. Want to change that? Feel like dancing all the time? Look no further. Here's where you can go out and dance in Boston over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more :)
The Fall edition of Pink Noise was filled with wonderful moments and great shows from talented artists for charitable causes. As this chapter of JSJ Events comes to a close, we want to reminisce on some of our favorite moments from the most recent Pink Noise events!
Pink Noise 012 was a soul-filled event that was oozing with deep RnB and and hip House music.
Kates opened up the night with her groove-based pop catalogue and had the crowd deep in the pocket from start to finish. Dissoule headlined the night with her eclectic set that highlighted a fresh twist on Electronic/House music.
Pink Noise 013 was one for the books! This diverse event had something for every music fan from Folk and Jazz to House and Disco.
MARO, singer/songwriter from Lisbon, Portugal warmed up the crowd with her intimate and inviting set. She is a truly amazing upcoming talent that effortlessly fuses elements of folk and jazz into a sound that you need to hear to believe. Keep an ear out for her upcoming EP! Fun Q closed the night with a head-bobbing collection of soul and disco inspired beats.
No one could stand still during Pink Noise 014! From the first downbeat, these amazing artists had the crowd moving all night long!
Miette Hope and her band were first on The Cellar stage. With a modern sound, Miette Hope's songwriting compliments any indie fan's playlists and will definitely be on mine!
Pink Noise 015 was our last fall event and definitely the perfect way to end our Pink Noise series!
Filled to the brim with talent and soul, Pink Noise 015 showcased an eclectic list of artists. Alanna opened up the night with her RnB-inspired voice that kept the audience hooked. Eliot Baker closed the night with soulful songs off his upcoming release. Check out his latest single here.
We want to thank everyone who came out to a Pink Noise event this fall and helped us raise money for disaster relief in Puerto Rico. While we are sad to see Pink Noise come to an end, we are very excited for the future and all of the new events we have planned for you. To keep up with JSJ Events, like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!
By Amin. M
Brian St. John is an industry veteran whose humility and talent have helped him develop some of the top artists in the game. St. John has been with Atlantic records for over thirteen years. Tank, A boogie, and Cardi B are some of the many incredible talents he overseas on the label. In this interview, Senior Director of Artist Development at Atlantic Records sheds the light on what has sustained his career, what can make yours, and the challenges that present themselves in one of the most fast paced industries
How did you get your start in this industry?
Through Interning, I started interning at LIB for Gary Bird’s show in the morning, I worked the boards and I also worked in the promotion department of WBLS as well, so I did dual internships. I was also going to school at the same time and somebody I knew happened to introduce me to Rosini Williams, who was Chrissy Murray’s (VP of Publicity) assistant at Atlantic and I came to Atlantic and interned there. One thing Rosini told me was that when you’re interning, act like you’re trying to take my job. So, I stood behind her and learned what she wanted me to. And the good thing about her was that she had a lot of responsibilities to take care of, so once she knew I could handle the work that she had given me, I got to be a lot more hands on. From there, Richard Nash who was also working here in Atlantic was getting ready to move to Elektra Records because Sylvia Rhone was getting ready to run Elektra Records. Richard needed an assistant right away and that’s how I got started in the business.
Do you expect or have a goal for your current position?
Because times have changed we did a lot more promotion with the urban artists back in the day because that’s usually how we used to promote the artists. We would package them together do radio, meet and greets, etc. to push the artists, but now with touring being so big, we started to educate and switch up a lot of artists to be driven into the touring market. So, that’s really what the change of this department is now, we push more the touring aspect of it more so than the promo tours so that the artists can go out there and become even bigger artists.
What is the most challenging task you have to deal with being an artist developer?
I would say keeping everybody happy, because there’s so many departments who always want to get things done. So, scheduling wise you just have to super serve everyone to prioritize the requests that come our way, you want to keep everyone happy as well as educate new artists and managers on touring as well. Because they’re so used to getting money from clubs that a lot of them don’t understand or are educated on the longevity of the larger picture of getting smaller money and doing smaller tours in the beginning, which will then lead to more consistent and bigger tour opportunities in the future. They can make more money than just getting 50 or 60 thousand from a club gig in the long run.
The music industry has a lot of people with egos, what is your theory on dealing with artists/other executives in this business?
Never take it personal. There’s a lot of people with a lot of egos and attitudes, but there are a lot of people that are good as well. A lot of my friends haven’t succumbed to the industry standard of being an industry type person, it’s a job. You can’t let the industry swallow you up and you can’t let it define who you are, you have to define yourself individually.
How have labels changed since streaming has become a viable entity?
We deal with Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music because they equate with the bottom line of our sales figures. A lot more people stream than physically buy music. So, a lot of conversations we have in our meetings, the streaming companies are always apart of those conversations. We make the artists go to those streaming companies and play their music ahead of time so the companies can understand it, because this generation streams. And now it’s rare that people will buy albums, there’s only a few people that can sell such as the Adele’s, the Bruno’s, the Ed Sheeran’s, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, are a few artists who can still sell big with physical albums. But for a lot of the new and upcoming artists streaming is a very important. The labels make money through streaming as well because the deals that have been cut throughout the years benefit the labels and artists as well.
Describe how you think you work differently from others who do what you do?
I’ve been doing it a long time and having experience in promo/publicity have helped me understand how to prioritize, because they are two very intricate parts of promoting an artist. So, because I came from both worlds, I have an understanding of the importance of what those departments bring to an artist’s career.
Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
That’s a tricky one, people ask me that all the time. I’m an R&B person, I grew up with singers, but I like Ro James, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kendrick, it’s kind of trick question. I feel like a lot of today’s music is watered down, I may like a single here and there, but it’s hard for me to say that I have a love for one particular artist over the other, with the exception of the people I just named.
What advice would you give to people on trying to get their big break in this business ?
Be humble, be patient, never take anything personal because it’s not easy. I think it was a lot easier when I was coming up. There were mentors, there were more labels, there were more avenues to get in and I think there are less now. You have to always find the right person and there are people who aren’t willing to open the doors and help people, but you just have to be patient. Something will always come; you just have to stay networking and maintain relationships. If you’re good at what you do and you keep putting yourself in the right position, there’s always going to be someone that takes notice and gives you that opportunity and takes a chance.
What would you say are some of your weaknesses and strengths?
Some weaknesses are that I can become complacent; I’ve been here for 22 years and if I’m not around people that are challenging me than I can get settled in what I do and not push myself to learn new things. And my strengths would be communication, I’m detailed oriented, and I’m a person of structure. I like to make sure things are done a certain way, and I like to take control of things myself, I know that if I do that I’m going to do it in the way that I want. That could be considered a weakness as well, because sometimes you have to learn how to relinquish control to other people, but it’s all a balancing act.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Hm that’s a good question, but I hope that I can continue to grow here and get to the next level of where I want to be here at the company and expand my department into a stronger touring department to build more opportunity for our artists and for the company. I also want to help the company advance and grow in other ways. I eventually may want to try to do something else in entertainment, maybe film, television, or fashion because those are also my passions. I think the hard part would be starting over, I think that’s the challenging and scary part because I’ve been at Atlantic for so long, but for right now I want to contribute as much as I can here.
By: Jourdan W.
Here at JSJ Events, we love shining a light on powerful women so we sat down with Sarah Hoffman, former managing director of MMMMaven and yoga teacher, to find out more about her story!
For the past five years you were the Managing Director at MMMMaven, a new-era music education project and event producer. Can you explain a little bit about your role and why you took that position?
I took the position because I knew I wanted to do something business related but creative and I was passionate about music, particularly electronic music at the time. I started as an intern, working 3 days a week, selling the DJ/Producer classes. As the school grew, I ended up working more and it became a full time job. I was very interested in community work so in addition to the sales stuff, I went out in the community and brought music technology to kids. That was something I became really passionate about over the years. After a colleague left in 2015, I took on her admin responsibilities and managed the day to day operations of the school. I did that until I left in summer 2017.
Recently you parted ways with MMMMaven to pursue your love for yoga full time. When did you develop your passion for yoga?
I started practicing yoga about 5 years ago right after I graduated from college. I was dealing with a lot of “life stuff" and needed to learn healthy coping mechanisms. The yoga studio became a safe space where I could move and breath and learn to be OK where I was in that moment. Soon after I started practicing, I felt the benefits of the practice and wanted to share it with others.
How important do you think it is to follow your instincts when it comes to pursuing your passion as a career?
Why the hell not, it makes life exciting. And following your passion is usually challenging so there is a lot of growth involved. Although I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone has the time or resources to follow their passion, maybe they have crippling student debt or a family to support or maybe they are dealing with mental health issues and are just trying to get by. I think it’s important to be aware of these things. Also, I think it’s important to make sure you are making a positive impact in someway.
Want to take classes with Sarah?
Check out her schedule below!
Here are some of our favorite songs to listen to on the scariest night of year. We've curated everything from Tipper to Thundercat in the most perfect playlist. Whether your in the mood for something Tennyson low-key or Detroit Swindle upbeat, this is the playlist for you!
A Canadian brother-sister duo that have been pushing the boundaries of electronic music for years. They have been on the forefront of the jazz influenced electronic music for 5-6 years. If you haven't heard of them yet, nows the time! This is one of our favorite tunes, but we highly recommend to check out this album; and every other album they've produced.
This British electronic artist specializes in music that ranges from Ambient, through Trip Hop, to uptempo Drum n’ Bass.
One of the most unique producers on this list. Photay places an emphasis on acoustic sounds and instruments and incorporates them into his music. This song is from his debut self titled album, Photay created in 2014. Since, he's recently released his new album Onism, on 8.11.17'.
Max Ox is a Jazz/Fusion keyboard player from LA. Ox is known for making music that is playful yet technical, instrumental music. With modern vibes, this tune is best described as upbeat synth jazz. This is the perfect song to greet your guests at on Oct 31st! The best way to find out is to give it a listen...
Break out track from accomplished bass player, Thundercat. Some artists he's recorded with include Kendrick Lamar, Kamasi Washington and Erykah Badu. Thundercat is loved for his effortless of creativity technicality, and musical eptitude.
"I try to use as much improvisation as possible in my music" -- Thundercat
A fresh face on the RnB scene. James Tillman incorporates the classic RnB flavor of Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin in the context of modern RnB. Tillman is from Washington D.C. and has tackled the industry with top quality music from the moment he starting making music in 2014
By Amin M.
Professor, Songwriter, Producer, Musician, Music Technology Consultant, and Now Soon-To-Be Mama: Erin Barra-Jean
Erin "Mamma" Barra-Jean is an Associate Professor in the Songwriting Department at Berklee College of Music and one of the leading product specialists for Berlin-based music software company, Ableton. She's developed and taught several music technology curricula for Coursera, Beats By Girlz, and Berklee. A board member of Women in Music, Erin continues to advance the equality, opportunities, and cultural aspects of women in the musical arts. We had the opportunity to chat with the “creative swiss army knife", discussing how she got her start in the industry, the prejudice of being a woman in music, and new projects she’s working on!
Erin's musical projects incorporate her skill sets as a professor, producer, musician, and music technology consultant. The soon-to-be mama stated, “I just don’t waste my time," and rightfully so.
It wasn’t until her mid-twenties that Erin became heavily involved in music technology, recalling the lack of funds required for a professional to make a record. As for mentors, Barra fondly remembers a producer that mixed her first record in New York. While co-producing her next project, he taught her how to use Pro Tools, a Digital Audio Workstation.
While Barra-Jean has made huge strides for women in the music industry, she admits to facing prejudice, even by students.
“It's not just men working in the music industry. I get it from my own students a lot of the time because they're used to patriarchy. Berklee hiring me helps us move towards a situation where women don't feel that way. Women in positions of authority, power, and visibility are a big deal, especially for younger women before they form identities. Involving them in different fields that society largely ostracized from them is important,” Barra confessed.
Involving women in the creation of music is a passion Erin regards highly. She even developed a curriculum specifically designed to empower females to engage with music technology, Beatz By Girlz.
Erin explained, “From a macroscopic point of view, it provides groups of subregional, microscopic women with the tools in order to open regional chapters in our own needs. We’ll connect them with companies like Ableton, Novation, and Akai, and provide them with the technology that they need—infrastructures like afterschool programs or other nonprofits that they can connect with in order to reach the right type of underserved people. It started in 2013 in New York at the lower East Side Girls Club. Now we are all over the United States. This year we have one in Canada. In 2018 we'll be in the Caribbean. We let it grow organically.”
As a professor in the songwriting department at Berklee, Erin is constantly exposed all types of artists - some with no technological skills whatsoever. For those lacking music tech skills, she recommends the website Coursera. Fun fact: she designed the course curriculum for Ableton, so check that out!
She promises, “It’s free and they have everything from guitar basics, to music theory fundamentals, Pro-Tools, and music production. There's a whole swatch of free information for people who can't come but are interested in investigating and learning new skills." https://www.coursera.org/berklee
In addition to teaching at Berklee, Barra-Jean is one of the leading product specialists for the Berlin-based music software company, Ableton. As a musician herself, she understands that the creation of music is non-linear. She gushed that “the product itself, Ableton Live, is non-linear and Ableton is largely the only non-linear DAW on the market. As a musician, very infrequently are we experiencing music from beginning to end. I gravitate towards that tool because it mimics the way that people actually compose for practice or produce. It's a real reflection of the music making process.”
Erin prides herself in working with a company that provides the tools for artists to create, as opposed to telling people how to create. She added that “Ableton does very pivotal work— normalizing disenfranchised peoples like women or minorities in the industry.”
When it comes to teaching younger artists, Erin admitted that “sometimes the hard part is breaking through their preconceived narrative of how life is supposed to unfold. I'll be telling a student valuable information but they might not be prepared to hear it, and so they won't listen. The lack of perspective can be difficult. The easiest thing is that they're young, willing to try different things and be fearless.”
As for projects, you can find videos and stay tuned for what's next on her Facebook page. Erin also just finished three tracks, all for students. She produced Leon Waldo’s track, “The Only One”, and is conducting a remix contest for another artist named Matilda.
Erin's parting words: "Support JSJ Events! They do really great stuff and I'm super appreciative of Jami in particular."
By: Allie Barbera
Boston DJ Dee Diggs is a force to be reckoned with. She says she has many personas, but especially loves embodying a young femme who loves to have a good time and lose herself to the music, all while showing people what the human experience has to offer. We caught up with her to hear what inspires her and drives her creative energy.
What inspired you to become a DJ?
Dee: I think it was a movie and a DJ friend of mine. I was studying abroad in France, in this town called Grenoble. It has this really cool underground scene. It’s like its own alternative mountain city, and there’s a lot of different art initiatives there. There’s lots of bars and clubs, and as a nightlife enthusiast, I try to scope out places to see where the locals are, and what the artist scene is like. I met a bunch of DJs and artists there, and started talking to them about what I was interested in. It was great talking to them about house music, because the way it’s been exported to Europe, you would think it was started there. My friend runs a record label in hish basement called Full Fridge Music, and I was talking to him a lot, and he said there aren’t enough women who are expressing their ideas in this way and [not enough of their peers] encouraging them to do so.
Then, I watched this beautiful French film called Eden, which is about the rise and fall of a DJ, and it really interested me as well. It made me feel like I could do the DJ life and not fail at it, and [I] was like yeah, I have my head on right. I can do this and not just spiral all the time.
I came back to Boston, where I was already doing college radio before,but now wanted to mix live on the air. [I] started exploring how to do that, which opened my eyes and sensibilities about music and music technology. Then after the radio station burned down, my friend started booking me to play at different venues around town.”
As a black female DJ, have you faced any stereotypes or hardships?
Dee: Thankfully, there’s a lot of social clout in supporting femme DJs right now. I feel like I came at the right time, because so many women have done all the foundational work before me, so my efforts are taken seriously. As I’ve grown into this art form, other women and other femmes have been stepping stones and guardian angels for me.
And in terms of stereotypes, people assume I’m not going to play the genres I play. They think I’m going to play hip hop, which I have no problem playing, but I can do so much more. Black music is so much more than just hip-hop.
What is your most important tool as an artist? Is there something you can’t live without when you are creating?
Dee: I guess the internet? I feel like when I’m digging for the story behind the music, and when I’m stuck and looking for references, you have to go back to the timeline for help. I love where my natural curiosity leads me. It’s so powerful to me that people in 1985 were jacking to this song I found yesterday, and here I am in what was supposed to be in the future, but is actually the apocalypse, dancing to the same track. I wouldn’t have that depth of understanding if I didn’t have the endless world of [the] internet to help put those clues together.
What do you think is an artist's role in society?
Dee: A DJ’s place is something I take very seriously. I do think you’re choosing to be a leader in the space that you’re inhabiting. You are leading people on to an experience, onto a sonic journey. It’s all about how aware you are of other people, how you treat people, and the example that you set. I’m really serious about the atmosphere and the vibe I bring or influence; I don’t just play songs. I’m standing up, asking everyone to trust me for these few moments: Give me your attention and curiosity. Take this journey with me.
When did you feel most vulnerable as an artist, and how did you maneuver through that difficulty?
Dee: Every time I play somewhere new, to be honest, [I feel vulnerable]. I am so blessed and grateful that I’ve been able to play in so many different spaces in Boston and New York, so far. There’s no better feeling than walking into a space I haven’t inhabited before, and zoning into the music. I have to trust myself and hope that people vibe to it. When I’m putting these ideas of elements and sounds together—that’s when I feel most at home, even in a strange booth experimenting with whatever mixer im playing on. I have so much fun and sometimes I forget about the time and people. When I look out into the crowd, I’m looking to sense how the energy is building.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Dee: It’s really important to me to keep digging for and playing the kinds of music that I love, because I feel like it’s all really connected to the black experience and black diaspora. That’s something that’s not really spoken about outwardly, and people don’t like to talk about it in that context, but that’s what it is; a soundtrack. This music is a story that was written for me to find; this is music made by other black weirdos that was made for me to find and share in the most interesting ways possible.
I think that I really want to remind people where it comes from and what it is, and that that’s the reason why so many people in the world resonate with it. I think it is very important to have the people who look like the ancestors and originators in these spaces sharing this music. I’m happy to share it and I want us to all love this music, but don’t deny the origin and don’t treat me like an outsider. I’m supposed to be here.
What creative medium would you like to pursue but haven’t already?
Dee: I definitely want to get my visuals game up, and figure out what I want to put out to share with the world visually. I have weird video ideas that I would love to bring to life. I want to have really pure moments of sonic ecstasy and be able to visually express that. I think that idea also influences how I do decor for events I curate as well.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Dee: Just do it—Nike! Honestly! I’m prone to creative hesitation and saying "I have to think this through and write this down" before I do it, and that’s somewhat of an excuse. What you need to do is figure out where to start, get up and just do it. Don’t be afraid of your own power.
What current projects/shows do you have coming up?
Dee: I have a few sets I’m going to play in New York City and Boston, which I’m really excited about. You can follow me on Instagram to see where.
I get a lot of my energy from live performances, so I can’t wait and always look forward to them. I’m also a bit of a chameleon as well, so sometimes I meet a new side of myself at a gig because the variables are different; my instincts play out in a slightly different way. I become the element of surprise.
By Jourdan W.
We’ve collected some of our favorite tunes, ranging from RnB to house, that get us in a fall mood. Check out these lush grooves from our favorite upcoming artists.
This Canadian singer-songwriter is breaking boundaries in the music industry. His latest album "Freudian" dropped earlier this month and has been on repeat for weeks.
Mac Ayres is a 20-year-old New York native that just dropped his debut, Drive Slow EP last month. We're loving it! Blending elements of hip-hop and jazz, he creates a soulful and inviting atmosphere that we can't get enough of!
This New Zealand native has developed a very impressive catalogue over his short and promising career. With his unique sound and style, he has made huge waves with online communities, and is set for a great career in his genre.
Dan Kye is an upcoming producer based in London who fuses elements of soul and house to create his signature sound.
This London-based producer has been making beats out of his bedroom for years, and has slowly built up a substantial following in the SoundCloud community. Check out one of his breakout tracks!
From their Grammy-nominated album "Ego Death," this track is one of our favorites of their most successful release to date.
This singer-songwriter has been creating soulful hits for years, but has really hit a new standard with the release of latest album "The Switch." This is our favorite track from the album.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano is an up-and-coming experimental RnB artist that takes influences from ethnic world music and uses them in a soulful and modern context.
Let us know what you think about this mix -- and tell us your favorite fall songs too!
By Amin M.
If you think Boston is boring, you're doing it all wrong. Want to change that? Feel like dancing all the time? Look no further. Here's where you can go out and dance in Boston over the next two weeks. Stay tuned for more :)
If you think Boston is boring, you're doing it all wrong. Want to change that? Feel like dancing all the time? Look no further. Here's where you can go out and dance in Boston this summer 17'.
Boston's weekly Wednesday dance party featuring House, Techno, Disco and more from local and International DJs!!!
Make it New
This is not to be missed. Catch the MMMMaven crew at Make it New every Thursday at Middlesex, Cambridge's finest weekly techno-industry night, featuring world famous DJs from all walks of life.
DANCING ON THE CHARLES
Two more Dancing on the Charles left this summer, Boston's funnest outdoor party. Find out more here!
"Cambridge outdoor Party featuring underground dance music from local artists and DJs. DOTC is all about music, love, respect and having fun"
"The awards will be given to a single Black woman student at Berklee College of Music, Parsons School of Design, Howard University and Spelman College. Incoming, current and graduate students studying creative arts, music, literature or African American students are eligible to receive the funding. Interested students should contact their universities for more information."
"Sister is a global network of women and non-binary producers who come together online to support one another and create killer mixes. Started as a Facebook group by Swedish producer Toxe in 2015, it's now a collective of 1,300 members, and on July 17 will release its first compilation (pre-order it here). Sister: Volume One is a thrilling collection of club workouts that weave between R&B samples, footwork rhythms, Jersey club bed squeaks, and ambient soundscapes."