DJ and Producer AmyElle Takes the Word: Being a Female DJ is No Different Than a Male DJ

UK DJ and producer AmyElle is making dance-waves in an ocean of male artists. Here’s her story of attending open mic and jazz nights and entering the boys’ club.

AmyElle by Lauren Barnett
AmyElle by Lauren Barnett

AmyElle: As a producer, DJ and artist I’ve always been influenced by different groups of people, different styles and different approaches to the craft. My background and journey into dance music wasn’t the typical process a lot of DJ’s take. I was born in Texas because of my dad’s work, although my family are originally from the UK and they made the decision to move back to Dundee when I was six. Growing up I was always writing and singing songs with my guitar and piano which led me to study music, and I think my love for dance music evolved when I started to really get into the production side of things.

One of the first gigs I can vividly remember was a Paolo Nutini concert at the Eden Project in Cornwall when I was about 11. I’ve been to so many live shows since then ranging from Peter Gabriel to Four Tet. Instead of raves, I attended a lot of open mic nights, jazz nights and band nights when I was at Uni and supported a lot of up and coming artists from all different backgrounds. Growing up and appreciating all different kinds of music meant I was just inspired by everyone who was in the industry pursuing what they wanted to do.

AmyElle by Lauren Barnett

“I consider myself as an equal, and therefore I don’t feel the need to compare. However, it’s difficult to ignore the imbalance in most situations.”

Later on I found a love for DJ’ing after buying a second hand controller off Ebay, the best decision I ever made. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started to feel the DJ world was a bit of a ‘boys club’. Being a female DJ is no different to a male DJ…I consider myself as an equal, and therefore I don’t feel the need to compare. However, it’s difficult to ignore the imbalance in most situations. Thankfully though, this is slowly changing. 

There are many artists, promoters, labels and industry professionals I work with who are working hard to fight these imbalances, but it’s easy to see that white male artists dominate the industry with womxn, and typically WOC, being pushed away from the limelight. The more we see diverse line ups, the more accepted and expected it will become. Some really great organisations that are creating opportunities for POC and LGBTQIA+ artists are Femme HouseHE.SHE.THEY RECORDS and UTOPIA. Some womxn killing it at the moment include Jaguar on BBC Radio1 Introducing Dance, Sofia Kourtesis, TSHA, Anz, Logic1000 who deserve a special mention. 

End of the day, you can be a great DJ, Producer, or have any role in the EDM scene and the opportunities available to you should never be influenced by gender or ethnicity. The original pioneers of Disco, techno and House created the scene on these founding principles. I think we just need to keep celebrating and propelling the best talent forward.

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