Name: Olivia Dope
Born & Raised: Brooklyn
Occupation: DJ, Designer & Dancer
XO GIRL: I don’t think people even realize that being a DJ takes a lot of work. Seventy-five percent of a great party relies on you! That’s a huge responsibility, how do you get prepared when you’re booked for an event?
OLIVIA: First off, I’m SO glad someone realizes the importance of the DJ (lol). The promoter/host may be the center of attention but its the DJ that controls the mood of the entire night. So if I decided to play depressing opera music all night your party is over before it starts. Thats how much power the DJ holds. What I usually do to prep myself actually has nothing to do with playing actual music. I pick what outfit I want to wear to express/inspire the current mood I’m in (90′s hip hop, 80s pop, etc)… The music I play that night directly reflects that.
XOGIRL: What kind of music influences were you introduced to when you we’re growing up?
OLIVIA: Being of Guyanese/West Indian decent, the genres of music I first introduced to was reggae, soca & calypso. My father also had an extensive R&B collection so I knew who of Stevie, Diana Ross, Barry White, Donny Hathaway, and other amazing artists like them by age 5. But I also wanna send a shout out to my parents for getting cable when I was 5 (lol). I watched MTV EVERYDAY so I was a young fan of bands like Nirvana, R.E.M., Green Day, Soundgarden, etc. Just lucky enough to be exposed to different styles early so the love grew naturally.
XOGIRL: There probably still more guys DJ’s dj’ing than girls, some girls would be a bit nervous about trying to pursuing it because of that. What pushed you to do it anyway?
OLIVIA: In 2008, after giving birth to my awesome daughter Ava, I also gave birth to fearlessness. Motherhood made me realize I gave birth a human being, I can make anything possible if I really wanted to. I love music so I want my happiness to be apart of my livelihood. So from that point on, anything I wanted to accomplish, I spoke it into existence then took actions necessary to make it happen, exactly how I wanted it to. DJing was no different. Yes, its a male dominated field but I made it work for me, a working single mother. I’m not in clubs on school nights like the men are, but I’m teaching middle school kids DJing classes after school dj’ing all the fashion & art events that I can bring Ava along with me and she can be exposed to culture. I made it work according to my lifestyle.
Check out the rest of the interview over at XO Girl Daily