How to be a DJ

Lissa Monet on the highs and lows of her spin­ning ca­reer by Ju­lia Mas­troianni

Bayview Post - - Currents -

Lissa Monet, who has DJed for the Toronto Rap­tors, WE Day and Pride Toronto events just in the last three months, owes her ca­reer, in part, to her mom.

“I wanted to be a hair­dresser, and my mom didn’t want me to go to beauty school, so to ap­pease her I went to college and took mar­ket­ing,” Monet says. “Not want­ing me to go to beauty school is prob­a­bly the best thing she’s ever done be­cause had I not gone to school for mar­ket­ing I wouldn’t have known how to mar­ket my­self as a DJ.”

Monet be­gan de­vel­op­ing friend­ships with DJs while go­ing to clubs at a young age.

“DJs are es­sen­tially nerds, so all we do is talk about mu­sic and pro­duc­ers and who co-wrote what and stuff like that,” she says.

It was dur­ing that time that she met Kapn Kirk, now the of­fi­cial DJ of the Toronto Rap­tors, who Monet says told her, “You know too much about mu­sic, and I’m go­ing to teach you how to DJ.”

She started DJing while also work­ing part-time and go­ing to school, but Monet says even­tu­ally the cre­ative side of her won out over the busi­ness side.

“Go­ing to a high school for the arts also kind of so­lid­i­fied my love for mu­sic,” Monet says of her time at Car­di­nal Carter Academy for the Arts.

“DJs are es­sen­tially nerds, so all we do is talk about mu­sic.”

As a DJ, Monet started to get her name out through so­cial me­dia — Mys­pace and Face­book at the time — mak­ing mix tapes to send out to pro­mot­ers and post­ing them on­line for peo­ple to lis­ten to. She’s moved with the times, shift­ing most of her pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial to In­sta­gram now. Her mar­ket­ing has paid off, earn­ing her gigs such as the VIP party for the Bey­oncé For­ma­tion world tour.

Changes over the years have also im­pacted the way Monet mixes mu­sic at events.

“Back in the day, it was re­ally easy to read a crowd. But now it’s a lit­tle bit harder be­cause you’ve got ac­cess to mil­lions of songs at any given time,” Monet says.

Her pas­sion for mu­sic is what has kept her mo­ti­vated.

“If you want to be a DJ, don’t do it be­cause you think it’s the pop­u­lar thing to do, do it be­cause you gen­uinely love mu­sic. There’s a lot of things that come with it, and if you can still get up the next day and still want to do it de­spite go­ing through a lot of chal­lenges, then, you know, the perks will come,” Monet says.

There are chal­lenges — al­though, she says she tries her best not to fo­cus on them — that of­ten have to do with be­ing a woman in a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try.

Monet has put in her own work to en­sure fe­male DJs will have a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try than she did. She co-founded Luxe Life Sound, an all-women DJ agency that places fe­male DJs at events across the coun­try.

“I just wanted to pro­vide these women with the sup­port that I wish I had when I first started,” she says.

Monet co-founded an all-women DJ agency called Luxe Life Sound

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