INTERVIEW: DJ U.NO.HU TALKS THE TURNING TABLES OF LIFE AS A FEMALE DJ
If you're like me you find the art and culture of mixing two songs together at the right moment to be a magical moment that when done right can give you the ultimate euphoria. There is also nothing like seeing a woman truly immerse herself into a lifestyle and culture that was never intended for us to be apart of. This woman is turning heads and turning tables. I am extremely inspired by her passion for music and her hustle. She is her own best supporter which is a necessity when following a dream. I am so honored to tell the story of in case you didn't know DJ U.NO.HU and my objective is that all my IT GIRLS out there are inspired as well. So without further adieu DJ U.NO.HU DROP THAT...
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was raised in Salem, OR and moved to Seattle to attend UW. I graduated in 2016 from the Foster School of Business with a double concentration in Marketing & Entrepreneurship. I now work full time as a Project Assistant at an experiential marketing agency called Oasis Productions in South Lake Union. We produce events for companies such as Nickelodeon, Honeywell, and Sprout. I also DJ and have spun at venues including Barboza, Kremwerk, The Crocodile, Still Liquor, and Chop Suey as well as events such as Upstream Music Festival and Day Shift. On my free time, I enjoy staying healthy by working out, spending time building with friends, reading, and watching cute cat videos.
What was your inspiration to become a DJ?
I have always been involved in music. I grew up playing the piano and flute. It was not until middle school that I became more exposed to the hip hop scene by participating in a dance team and attending jams to support my sister in her break dance and all styles battles. By the end of high school, I started listening to and connecting with hip hop music more heavily. People around me were always asking me to play music or to show them new music. My sister then recognized the potential I had to become a DJ and pushed me to learn. I began taking lessons in my earlier years of college, learning the ins and outs of using turntables. At the same time, I became a part of the Hip Hop Student Association at UW and began planning and working events that highlighted the five elements of hip hop: DJing, emceeing, break dancing, graffiti, and knowledge. I remained in the club throughout my four years at UW, learning more about hip hop and connecting with influencers in the scene. From then on, my passion for hip hop consistently grew and it only made sense that I would dedicate my time and effort to share what I loved and what made me feel good with others through performing.
As a woman, do you find that you face challenges being taken seriously in an industry that is predominately male? If so, why?
Yes, when I started performing out in the public, a lot of people would just stare at me with a surprised look on their face and when it would come up in conversation that I DJed, people would be in disbelief. There were times in the past when I expressed I wanted to spin at certain venues, but the people who booked for the venues did not give me a chance to show what I could do. I do not experience those things as much now that I perform more, but I do still feel male DJs get booked over female DJs. I get there are more male DJs out there, but more people need to give females the opportunity to be highlighted. I was never intimidated by the fact that I was one of the few females out here doing it. If anything, it motivated me to prove people wrong and change their perceptions. I take pride in representing the ladies in this art form and we definitely bring a different vibe and feeling as females are more intuitive and empathetic.
How would you describe the feeling you get every time you are spinning for a crowd?
My heart is racing from the nerves and from the excitement. I love hearing the reaction from the crowd with every song selection and it feels amazing to see people with huge smiles on their faces, singing along, super in their element. I become one with the crowd as I tailor the special experience we share together.
What advice do you have for any young girls or women looking to get into the business?
I would advise them to learn on turntables and not controllers. Turntables are the foundation and it is so much more valuable and respectable to know how to use them as opposed to defaulting to learning on controllers because it is easier and cheaper. Secondly, really stay true to yourself. It is important to know your crowd and what is fitting for the event, but a DJ is always able to bring her own personality and style into any situation. Thirdly, be open to constructive criticism and trying new things. It is easy for us to get comfortable or stuck in our ways, but those who grow the quickest are eager for feedback and willing to explore other opportunities.
How would you describe your style as a DJ?
Uplifting. I want people to feel better during my set than when they walked in the door. My sound focuses on Hip Hop and R&B, merging old school with new school. Through what I play, I aim to make people feel incredibly comfortable in their own skin, free of worries, and on top of the world.
What keeps you motivated?
Growth. I strive to improve myself in all aspects of my life. Life is too short to not do whatever we want to do, say whatever we want to say, and experience all that is out there. I want to travel the world, exercise my creativity, and meet inspirational people - everything I am doing now is working towards that. There are countless opportunities for us; the world is really our oyster and it is up to us to make what we want to happen, happen and get what we want when we want it. I remind myself that the only person that can stop me, is myself.
How would you describe an IT GIRL?
To me, an IT GIRL loves herself and knows what she wants. She is not afraid to chase her passions. She is willing to take risks and learn from her mistakes. She is resilient: even if things don't go her way or if things get in her way, she will find another path or create her own. She enjoys trying new things and always gives her all to what she cares about.
Well it girls I know that was enjoyable but there's more. Do not forget to check out DJ U.NO.HU on her Soundcloud which is linked below!