The world of DJs is still dominated by men, and although female DJs like Nina Kraviz, Nastia, and Amelie Lens have worked their way to becoming successful full-time DJs, making their names synonymous with their genre, today gaining respect and appreciation of the public alongside with other DJs is one tough job.
Thankfully, more and more female DJs are emerging on the electronic music scene, and here we present 7 of them that, in a way, opened it up for more female talents to follow them.
A German DJ and producer started her career at the Golden Pudel Club in Hamburg in 2009, and now, almost 10 years later, she headlines festivals all over the world. Known for her unique techno, acid, and electro, she first started as a total music freak; she always recorded stuff onto a cassette tape and was later constantly buying vinyl. But in a way, she never felt left behind because of her genre, as she says, people were interested to see what she could do.
But respect, this is another story, for Helena Hauff, who admits that gaining respect from the public, and especially other DJs is not an easy job. She also feels like female DJs are more exposed to non-solid critic, whether about their look, or talent.
Another interesting fact about Helena Hauff is that she stays out of the social media, and as she commented it for Independent UK:
“You know all those kind of musicians who think they want to develop their sound and want to grow as an artist? I never even thought about that. I make stuff in my studio when I feel like it and it gives me great joy to do it. That’s it.“
Dedicated to a different music genre, R’n’B, and Hip-Hop, Emily Rawson began DJ-ing when she was only 17 years old, and the popularity of “becoming a DJ”, still belonged to the “boys club”. She later launched her own hip-hop night at Sussex University, where she played warm-up sets for the likes of Tim Westwood and after that, she gained precious experience by playing in various London clubs.
Now, she runs a festival in Santorini, another festival on the horizon in Ibiza regularly performs at the Lovebox and Wireless festivals and has also set down a residency on BBC Radio 1Xtra.
She’s very optimistic regarding the possibilities female DJs have, considering today there are more and more of female DJs that are becoming idols, and the equipment is not so heavy and dull to carry around, as it used to be.
Originally from Australia, Teneil Throssell who goes by the stage name HAAi has achieved her break-through in London, where she was recruited for a gig at Phonox, which later turned into a residency.
HAAi is probably the best example of new-age emerging female DJ stars, as her success was unexpected and achieved by playing the genre she likes most.
She carved her name on the top with her African-inspired sounds, creatively mixed with psychedelic music, leading her to play b2b with The Black Madonna and performing at many UK festivals.
Although she feels that now is the time to shine for all women, she still wonders how will the now appreciated female DJ artists keep their repute, when getting older.
A DJ and producer from Birmingham started playing house and tech music in her hometown but gained recognisability in 2010, when she was asked to cover for a DJ at Es Paradis, Ibiza.
She was named best breakthrough DJ by the DJ Mag in 2014, and shortly after she launched her own label called What Hannah Wants (now called Play).
Hannah Wants always felt supported by the public and other DJs, except when she was accused of plagiarism – even if the rumor was never confirmed, she received numerous comments by men and they were pretty extreme. She says:
“A lot of the people discriminating against me were men in the same place as they were 10 years ago and they hate the fact that I’m successful now. But no, it doesn’t stop me or lessen my drive. It makes me more driven and a big ‘f*** you’ to them.”
At the young age of 25, Charlotte de Witte has already traveled the world, playing dark yet powerful techno in basement clubs, as well as on the main stage of its most famous festivals.
But “Charlotte de Witte” wasn’t always her stage name. In fact, she initially used another pseudonym – “Raving George” – because she didn’t want to launch stereotypical expectations for her shows. Now she “proved” herself and her talent, therefore hiding behind a manly name is not necessary anymore.
For Independent (UK) she explained: “Women are much more accepted and I think people’s minds are changing. If they hear about a female DJ they don’t envision someone playing in a bikini and doing sexy moves. Because if you Google ‘female DJ’, that’s what you’re going to see.“
Another female DJ, whose career jumped after her performance in Berghain (Berlin) in 2016 is UMFANG, formally known by the name Emma Olson.
Originally from Kansas, she built her career in New York and became a co-creator of collective Discwoman and a resident at Bossa Nova Civic Club’s Technofeminism night in New York.
Her view of the position of female DJs today, is also hopeful, as she noticed that many female DJs who were hiding emerged on the scene and that when evaluating someone’s talent or/and hard work the differences between gender and race are thankfully becoming less and less important.
Kine Sandbaek Jensen who goes by the artistic name Pieces of Juno is a solo artist with an instrumental background and at the same time one of the founders of the record label and creative collective KOSO.
KOSO is aiming to connect different artists from those that create the film to those that express themselves through music.
Her goal is to establish safe spaces, where women would connect and create together, empowering one another.
“We’re just trying to get more women involved in creating stuff together because the challenge we face is that we’re unrepresented and discredited in our work. We’re underpaid and over-sexualized. All of those things we are taking a combined effort to change now.“
To become a valuable artist, every passionate person has to prove himself through performances and his final product.
The thing that distinguishes these female DJs from others is that with their work they were not only improving themselves but transmitted a powerful message:
it’s not only an individual who grows – society can become better too.