Steelo Magazine cover DJ D - feature in InPress Street Press 2005

Article Title: Sisters Are Mixin it for Themselves
Written by: Cyclone
Location of Publication: Melbourne, Australia
Year: 2005

Sydney spinner DJ D is a pioneer in the R&B scene - she's the first female DJ to hit it big. She spoke to Cyclone.
THe AUstralian urban scene remains very much a male dominated domain. Unlike the dance side, which has diversified since the mid-90s, there are few female DJs. However, Sydney's DJ D, had managed to break through the ranks. She's respected for applying the skills of the turntablist to R&B - and DJ D loves her classics. "I'm into quite a few genres, but R&B/hip hop has always hit me as one of my favorites - possibly 'cause I'm really into my ol' skool stuff," she affirms.

DJ D admits that when she began playing professionally she had no female role models in Sydney's urban underground. The imbalance is changing gradually with more female DJs on the circuit. "These days there are a few more in Sydney. I know there's one in Canberra now, there's one who I started training up in Perth as well, but they're still fairly rare. At this point in Sydney there's three other girls. So they're comin up slowly. But when I started there pretty much weren't any. So it was a little tough in that case."

The urban scene, cliquey at the best of times, seems to be lagging behind dance where a DJs gender is no longer an issue. "When you think back five years or so, it probably was very similar in the house scene. There weren't too many females before the whole big Bexta thing happened - before that there weren't too many in house, either. But now there is, it's true. So maybe that's the future for our industry".

D doesn't necessarily think that female DJs face greater barriers in R&B. "I don't know if it's particularly a genre, but I can fairly safely say that it's a lot harder for a female to come up into a male-dominated industry in that case. I've thought about this a bit in the past and it could even be things like just not perservering - so like maybe coming across a few obstacles and she doesn't feel like she has the support she needs to keep going, for example. The other thing is I know that I had quite a few things I came across, even things like sabotage, and the boys getting very protective of letting a female in and that sort of jazz back in the early days. It's not like that now, So there's definitely some interesting stuff in the scene. But I think once you get the chance to prove yourself, then it's a totally different story".

Nowadays DJ D's gender works in her favour. With her knowledge of music, turntable prowess, and ability to perform body tricks, she stands out. D reveals that there's a "possibility" she''ll enter the DMC Technics World Championships this year. "It's taken me a long time to actually get the recognition that I do have now and I think without the skills that I developed, I wouldn't have gotten that. So Ithink the female factor alone will only last you so long. But I don't think that I would still be getting recognition if I didn't have the skills that I've developed. So obviously if you've got the female thing and the skills, you're gonna go a lot further - that's for sure."

In 2005 DJ D is nothing if not industrious. She teaches at TAFE as her day job. SHe studies at university. SHe's also conceived the internet program 1200 degrees, which then expanded into community television. D has established 1200 degrees internationally. D's website, www.pd78.com, has raised her own profile.

D has played interstate. She has DJed in Melbourne once before (at Seven) and is back this Friday. And she's been fielding offers to play further abroad. In three years she's had 30 proposals from different countries - yet D has turned most of them down. "That was more due to fears of going over there and accepting stuff and travelling alone - as a female I didn't feel safe doing that," she confesses. Nevertheless, D is overcoming such reservations. Last New Years Eve she played overseas for the first time in the unlikelt Sultanate of Oman. D laughs at the irony. For a nervous female traveller, you'd think the Middle East would be off limits. D was apprehensive. "I just didn't know whether I'd be safe and whether I'd even come home!" As that happened, D had a marvellous time. She recalls Oman as "a very beautiful place" - it's wealthy from oil. She DJed at a apalace with royalty present as well as Sheiks and Westerners. The soft drinks were served in crystal glasses, not plastic. In Oman the women wear the traditional chador, but D wasn't expected to cover up. Everyone was gracious to her. "I think probably the most amazing thing was just having a female (DJ), the first one to play in that country, and doing that in a skirt and backless top and doing all the tricks and so forth - it spun people out," she says.

In the past D has been involved in different aspects of music - from singing to producing to engineering - but today she has limited time. "I used to do production and stuff for myself and other artists. One thing I used to do when I had some more time was I used to sing and so I produced a number of my own tracks and started compiling a little demo album as well, but I never got to finish it. I decided to really push the DJ thing insread 'cause it came to the point where I had to choose one or the other. I just thought there aren't really many females doing R&B/hip hop, so this is the way for me to do for now and then later on when I get a little bit older and possible can't do as much DJing I'm gonna get back into the production thing again/" You go, girl.

DJ D plays Playground Block Party 3 at Seven this Friday




Selected articles of DJ D in the Media {click to view}
DJ D feature in Howl and Echoes 2016DJ D feature in Steelo Mag 2015Soul Central Magazine 2015
DJ D feature in Ms Hennessey Speaks blog 2013DJ D feature in soul central magazine 2013DJ D feature in the TSLOA 2013
DJ D feature in Urban Hitz 2005DJ D feature in inthemix 2005DJ D feature in Blues & Soul Magazine 2005
DJ D feature in 3d world 2005DJ D feature in MTV Screen 2005DJ D feature in club flavas, 3D world  2005
DJ D feature in Inpress 2005DJ D featured in The Week 2004DJ D feature in 3D world 2003
DJ D feature in muma 2003DJ D feature in Groove On 2002DJ D feature in BMA 2002
DJ D feature in Hot Ashes 2001