When you walk through the club and the party is jumpin, folks on tables, poppin bottles, taking selfies and having the best times of their lives! You wouldn’t’ think the person to blame for all this would be a chick! Well, in most cases, club DJ’s are females and don’t get it twisted, DJ’s who are chicks can rock a party!
If you’re ever in DC, make sure you check out this DJ chick by the name of DJ Heat. Outside of the club scene, DJ Heat does her thing on WPGC Monday through Thursday nights at 10PM.
She and I met in LA and I didn’t know who she was at first until I put two and two together, made a few twitter searches and text messages to mutual acquaintances who verified she was indeed THE DJ Heat!
She’s mad cool and very approachable which she says is the biggest misconception of her. Read more in our one on one:
How long have you been in the radio business? Since 1999.
What was it about radio that struck your interest? I am a big music lover, and I used to be so obsessed with writing down the radio countdown songs and tracking how they changed; bothering the DJs all day by calling to request a song. Back when I was a kid, there was no internet, or Ipods, and cable television wasn’t the norm yet. So you HAD to listen to the radio to hear your favorite songs. And I of course fell in love with the personalities and thought they had the coolest jobs ever and that inspired me to want to do the same.
What genre of music do you like to listen to the most and why? Even though hip-hop is my first love, I’ve been listening to 80s and 90s R&B more than rap for the last year. The songs from those decades are just so amazing. From the slow jams to the dance tracks. They had so many great elements and sounds that is not duplicated with today’s sound.
What is your LET IT GO song? “If” by Janet Jackson. I am the type of person that thinks they knows all of the dance moves from a music video. So anytime “If” comes on, I stop what I’m doing and break out into the entire dance routine. Even if I’m driving, I’m still getting it…with at least one hand still on the steering wheel of course.
You’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities, was there ever a time you had an uncomfortable celebrity interview or encounter where it went terribly wrong? Describe. Awww man. The “bad” interview that always comes to mind is India Arie. I was in college at Morgan State University and wrote the entertainment reviews and did interviews for the school paper. India Arie had just hit the scene and was promoting her debut album, Acoustic Soul. It was a phone interview, and I asked her “So why did you decide to call your album Acoustic Soul?” She paused and said in a very uppity way “Because that’s what it is”. The way she answered the question it was like she was saying “You dumb trick, why the hell you think I named it that? Duh!”. And she didn’t even elaborate anymore. Just the short answer, “Because that’s what it is”. My confidence was shot after then. That was probably one of the shortest interviews I’ve ever done too. I was through after that. lol
What’s the biggest misconception about you? A lot of people assume that I’m a bit mean and unapproachable because of my tough looks, but I’m the exact opposite. When you come up to me, I’m all smiles and hugs. And I guess some people have that misconception because others in this business I’ve been mean and unapproachable to them. I’ve witnessed it. But I believe in making everyone feel special when they meet me for the first time. If they have a great experience with me, they are going to tell maybe 1 or 2 people about it. But if they have a bad experience, they are going to tell DOZENS of people. I rather 2 people know about a good experience with me than dozens of people knowing about a bad one.
What makes a dynamic DJ/personality? A think what makes a dynamic dj/personality is caring about your craft, and caring about your listeners. So many people these days get into this business and only think about themselves or don’t care to learn about those that paved the way, or don’t even care to cater to their listeners. And you can hear that in them. But that is not the way. You cannot be selfish in this business.
Why is it hard for female DJ’s to be taken seriously? I think it’s hard because no matter how far we come along as women in this world, people still think we are supposed to stay in a certain place or role. We’re still looked at as “just a girl”. Therefore, we have to work harder than our male counterparts. Which sucks. But it’s also motivating and pushes you to break down barriers.
What DJ/personality do you admire the most? Big Tigger. He is like my big brother. I’ve known him since I was his intern in ‘99, and he has been there for me since I was college kid until now. I joke that I will name my first child after him, because that’s how much he has been there for me. A lot of positive attributes I have, I have to thank him for. And to witness his growth from when I first met him until now, it never ceases to amazes me and it’s inspiring. Not a lot of people are able to adapt to this changing industry and still remain relevant to people, but he has.
What was the BEST advice you ever got and by whom? The best advice I ever received is from DJ Flexx when I was first starting out. He told me to not dwell on an issue or mistake because it’s in the past now and you have to move forward. That may sound minor, but in radio you know that means a lot. Especially when starting out. We all know how one mistake like not knowing you had dead air or messing up a break can bother you for the rest of your shift and throw you off from performing. But you can’t let a 30 second mistake linger on your mind for 4 hours and throw you off your game.
If you weren’t a personality/DJ, what would you be doing? I would probably be writing for a music publication or website. Writing about the industry is another love of mine. No matter what I path I chose in life, it would still all be music related.
Where do you see urban radio in the next 10-15 years? Sadly, I almost see the entire nation listening to the exact same thing no matter what city or state you’re in. We’ve seen that happening in this business for some time now where you have for example someone in a studio in New York attempting to cater to people in the south. It’s sad that we are losing a lot of great local voices in favor of voice tracking/syndication, etc. But on a positive note, I’m glad that classic hip-hop radio stations are starting to emerge. When I was younger and would hear my aunt listen to her old school R&B stations, it made me wonder if I would hear rap on old school stations when I became an adult since that was the dominant genre of my generation. And now it’s starting to happen. So in 10-15 years when I’m inching closer to being AARP eligible, and can hear some classics I grew up on played all day on the radio.
What do you think is wrong, if you do, with hip hop and R&B? With everything going on recently involving tragedies such as Mike Brown, Eric Garner, etc., I think what is wrong with hip-hop is that the younger artists are afraid to speak out. Be it just saying how they feel in a tweet or in a song, you can’t tell me that they don’t have legit thoughts about all that is going on in the world. I think some artists feel like that their fans don’t want to hear that stuff. When you sell an image, you become afraid to give fans anything but that image. But you have to realize you have influence as well and show these kids that listen to your music that yeah you do this music, but you can still have a mind as well. Let me use OG Maco for example. He has that song that’s big in the clubs called “Bitch You Guessing”. I think that song is so awful and dumb. But the other day I kept seeing people retweet him on my Twitter timeline because he was talking about some real thought provoking stuff. I go to his timeline and it turns out this brother is way more than just that ratchet song. I had judged him. But I was happy to know that someone that makes a song like that is not afraid to still show he has a mind and he’s going to speak on what’s going on in today’s society.
Who do you think is the most under-appreciated artist out there right now? The Dream. The man writes amazing songs for other people, but the masses don’t pay attention to him when he drops his own music. I can understand why he goes off the cuff sometimes. We can dance along to Beyonce’s “Flawless” or Rihanna ‘s “Birthday Cake” that he wrote, but trash his own work of music. I would spazz out too. lol
Who’s in your iPod/radar? I surprisingly haven’t owned an iPod since 2004, and I won that in a contest. (lol) The majority of my music listening is done on my phone through the Pandora app. It’s usually set to a 90s themed station or an R&B station like Floetry or Jill Scott. As far as artists on my radar, I’m starting to like hip-hop artist Joey Bada$$ more and more. His sound is very nostalgic. Reminds me of the early/mid-90s New York hip-hop sound. And there’s a dope singer/rapper from the DMV area named Robbie Celeste. He produces, plays a million instruments, and is simply amazing.
What do you want your legacy to be? I just want to be known as a humble and genuine person that was filled with love in her heart.
Biggest regret is….Not taking a risk on an internship opportunity with one of the top executives at Universal Records when I was in college. I had to turn it down because the thought of living alone in New York by myself scared me at the time. lol
If you could have a DJ spin off with one DJ in the world, who would it be and why? Probably David Guetta. Just to experience that major EDM scene would be cool. I love when I DJ at events where I can play his music and I usually imagine I’m in that same environment he would be playing in. His music definitely puts me in a different zone.
How can people reach out to you? My official website is DJHeatDC.com. On Twitter and Instagram I’m @DJHeatDC. And for Facebook it’s Facebook.com/DJHeatDC.
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