RR Sideshow: Guest Contributing Writer – [Actor] Keenan Carter
DJ Smiles Davis has only been spinning for a few short years she has a knack for mixing and an ear for music that can’t be denied. Starting out as a professional dancer having nurtured her talent as a performer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, she also worked with Lauryn Hill as a movement coach and back up dancer for Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot. She soon discovered her talents on the wheels of steel and began acquiring early fans for her impeccable music sense.
After meeting DJ Smiles Davis at Miss Sixty Summer Collection Launch, I decided to pick her brain. And here are the Q & A snippets –
Santiago Vernetti @ Expensive Deathstyle
Q: How long have you been DJ’n?
A: Been spinning in my dreams since elementary school been spinning professionally for about 4 years now
Q: What inspired to you to start DJ’n?
A: My excessive need to control things. My unconditional love for music and dance.
Read more [after the jump]…
Q: What style of music do you spin?
A: I don’t discriminate. I like all types of music. I spin a well to do hybrid of all things good music. That includes hip hop, world sounds, electro, classic soul and r&b, classic rock, other.
Q: What are some of the challenges facing DJ’s today?
A: MEDIOCRITY. There are so many layers to DJ’n. Selection is just the tip of the iceberg. The challenge is knowing your weaknesses vs your strengths. Some DJs think they can do it all which isn’t smart. Miles Davis played Jazz, could you imagine if one day he’d decided he wanted to Polka? Baby steps.
Q: Who are your inspirational artists?
A: Talent is sexy. Zoey Dechannel, -the indie princess’, multi talent, and heroin chic beauty is really doing her thing. She’s not only in all my favorite movies but she–with her saltery traditional jazz vocals–also headlines She & Him a brilliant little jem you really must discover for yourself. She makes everything wonderful like Ms. Butterworth. Theophilus London inspires me daily as well.
Q: What artists have you worked with?
A: Well, I’ve opened up for Z-Trip, Questlove, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Bruno Mars, 9th Wonder, Mayer Hawthorne, Fool’s Gold, The Very Best. I’m currently working on a project with Tabi Bonney who just got off tour with K’naan and fellow DC rapper Wale.
Q: Where can the Our Voice community hear DJ Smiles?
A: Check updates on my calendar at djsmilesdavis.com
Q: What are your upcoming events?
A: I’ll be at the Standard Hollywood frequently through out the summer, more details on my website.
Q: What type of schooling or training program have you completed and/or completing at the moment for DJ’n?
A: None. I’m 100% self taught. I danced professionally for many years: danced off Broadway, studied with Alvin Ailey so my music sensibility has been nurtured since very young. I’m currently studying piano and learning production skills.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: At this moment in time I’m sorry to say Arizona. I spent most of my youth in Grand Rapids, MI where the bulk of my family lives on the same block as the Debarge family.
Q: Do you have a Facebook or twitter page?
A: My twitter handle is twitter.com/djsmilesdavis my facebook is a little more complicated, the url is obnoxious. I recommend searching my name.
Q: What are your aspirations and goals as a DJ?
A: To grow. I like to keep it simple.
Q: How many hours a day and days in a week do you spend in the studio?
A: Depends on my mood. Sometimes all day. Other times I won’t spend more than 20 min on the decks. You gotta put in work but you also gotta take days off.
Q: What are a couple of your favorite quotes or mantras?
A: 2 bad bricks. If a wall has 1000 bricks and 2 are outta place the wall still has 998 good bricks. Sometimes all we see are the 2 bad bricks not only in the wall but in ourselves, in each other. Ajahn Brahm has a wonderful book called “Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung” a must read for everyone and he tells it straight up, “We’ve all got our two bad bricks, but the perfect bricks in each one of us are much, much more than the mistakes.” There’s one other mantra I live by: Decisions are Progress. Instead of “let’s think about it” go with “let’s decide on it”, get it done and out of the way.
Q: How does music effect our generation in your eyes? And what role do you playing in that effect?
A: It’s funny, I have a love and hate relationship with the current state of music. The feeling I was born in the wrong era for music is perpetual. Then artist with integrity like M.I.A remind me differently. But, there’s only one of her out of a gazillion other acts with zero integrity or intelligence for that matter influencing our youth and society. The wonderful thing about that is when morale is low creativity surges and the door is wide open. Kids today have more opportunity than James Brown did, i.e., the Internet. I won’t play the Stanky Leg just because it’s the hottest song on the radio, that’s not joyous to me. I play music that’s uplifting and good for the spirit. The Stanky Leg ain’t it!
Q: What advise would you give someone inspiring to get into the DJ’n realm?
A: Do it! Do it and anything else creative your little heart desires.
This SOUL-Tress DJ will take you on a mystical journal through the times of true Music. Learn more about DJ Smiles Davis http://www.djsmilesdavis.com.
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