I'm a: DJ/Producer/Instructor
I'm a: Libra
I live in: Hancock Park
My fav spot in LA is: Larchmont Village, it has a mellow cute Brooklyn vibe
A brand I'm really diggin right now is: all the dope female ran street wear brands like Stussy, Love-Made, HellzBellz, DimePiece.. I usually mix a piece from that with a mens piece (i.e. gym pants or a mens watch)
I think the babe with the best style is: Vanessa Hong @HautePursuit
Song I can't get out of my head today is: Bank Head by Kelela
What inspired her to start:
My whole life, I've always been really heavy into music. I was a dancer for like, ever. Full-on trained, I used to compete, ballet, jazz, hiphop, all throughout high school. Then college, I kind of chilled out a bit because I was working and in school, I couldn't dance for 20 hours a week [anymore]
Throughout that time, I always went to shows; I went through all these music scenes [from heavy metal to hip hop] and then I started going to Low End Theory a lot. Back then, it wasn't what it is now, it was way more lowkey.. From all those shows the only girl, really, was Tokimonsta. She wasn't as big of a name in the community back then as she is now; she's such a huge force now, which is amazing. But besides her, there weren't really any girls. I didn't have anyone that I could look at and be like, "Oh, tight. There's like a chick doing this."
So I was seeing all these dudes DJ and eventually, I became really good friends with them. I thought, 'I wish I could do this, I love this music, I love what they're doing,' and I've always had such a hand in music related things. So finally, I ended up just getting some turntables, a few different friends taught me how to DJ, and I started teaching myself more. For a whole year I practiced in my room and I sucked, I was so awful, but I continued working really really hard. Finally started getting crappy gigs here and there, slowly building up..
My last semester of college was so insane.. I used to do marketing for [a rooftop club in LA] so they would let me DJ some random events if they needed someone.. I wouldn't play the normal "Calvin Harris shit" they wanted to hear, I would be playing hiphop; I would play The Weeknd by the pool or Tupac by the pool and everybody loved the vibe because it was different.. I guess one girl who was there was working for Interscope at the time. She was helping Kid Cudi put together a series of parties - he just wanted to do something at a bar where his friends could go hang out and not be at an intense club. So she hit me up, she's like, 'Cudi's throwing these parties do you want to DJ?' I was like, 'Uh, what? Yea, duh! I'll do it.' So I did it, the party was super fun, he thanked me and that was that. I didn't hear from him for a while. Then a month later I got a text from him, on like a Tuesday night,
Kid Cudi: hey what are you doing this week?
Kittens: nothing, chilling.. why what's up?
Kid Cudi: are you free friday? I have a show in new orleans, do you wanna dj for me?
Kittens: um.. duh.
Kid Cudi: can you come to rehearsal right now?
Kittens: be there in 5
I thought of course I'll make it work no matter what I have booked, I think I had a class that day but I was like, sorry guys, g2g (laughs). So I went to rehearsal, he flew me out to New Orleans; it was kind of like my trial run, I guess.. We did the show, everything went well, everyone was psyched, and he brought me on to be his tour DJ.. And this is all in the middle of my last semester of college, during [a full course load] of my hardest classes.. So I'm working a fulltime marketing job, going to school fulltime (I don't know how I balanced the two but I did) and then now I'm starting to tour with [Kid Cudi], I just thought, 'F-ck, this is insane.'
After the club I was working at closed, I just thought, 'Okay, I'm just gonna take away my safety net now.' School's done, my day job's done, I have no distractions - now, I'm just gonna give the music thing a shot. So far I've survived a year. I gave myself six months to be like, 'If I'm not surviving I need to get a "normal" job again' but it's a weird place to be. You feel like if you give yourself a little extra effort, you can make it work, so it's hard to be like, 'nvm let me sell my soul over to a 9-5.'
I didn't know how far I would get with it, I didn't expect for it to become my full time job but [like I said] I started because I was so confused as to why there weren't more women doing it. I knew there were a good amount of chicks that liked the music, why were they so intimidated? I knew so many that were like, 'Ah I wish I could do that.' And I would say, 'Well why don't you? Why are you scared?' And I think because there was such a lack of role models, like female role models, I wanted to be that. I wanted to do it for myself and I wanted to give somebody something to look up to. Now, I have these DJ classes which are really fun for me, so I feel like I'm really giving back and helping do what I wanted to do. I don't know, there just needs to be more chicks, there are way too many dudes.
Her advice to you:
1. is definitely - You need to be scared. Scare yourself but don't be irresponsible. I could've quit my day job when I wasn't ready. I obviously wanted to get out of my day job and just be like 'f-ck it, I can DJ' but I wasn't ready and if I did that, it would've been irresponsible of me. But, when I got to the point where was like, 'I know I can at least survive and break even just based on DJing, so I'm gonna scare myself, and take away my safety net, take away my plan B, like I have no plan B.' Either you just hustle and succeed, or you completely fail and that's it. Scaring myself helped a lot. It still sucks, at least every week, I still have some little breakdown where I'll call a friend and be like, 'What am I doing with my life!' but it helps because in those moments, you realize the control you have over your life and you see what's really important.
2. is - Not doubting yourself. People are gonna hate, so hard. No matter how well you're doing, if you're a guy or a girl, but extra hard if you're a chick. Especially if it's in a male-dominated industry and you're actually succeeding. I get people messaging me weekly, trolling me on social media saying you only got there because you did this or did that or because of xyz. All the women I know that have at least some mild success and are seen, experience this. It's something you have to expect and get ready for, and be ready to challenge them and crush that. Like no, you're not there because you did whatever with some dude, it's because you worked your ass off. It sucks that that's something that is a standard, we're obviously discriminated against as women, especially in positions of power but you have to have to stay strong.
3. is also really important - Having thick skin and being able to command respect from people. People are gonna try and hurt you or bring you down or make you feel like you're not good enough forever, no matter how well you do. You have to have thick skin.
4. is - Be confident but not being thirsty or desperate for opportunities. Just make yourself open to them.
P.S. Lauren is 1/4 of Athletixx along with (Hoodboi, Falcons, Promnite). Catch her this NYE with BANKS at the Observatory in Orange County!
For more from Lauren, go to www.SoundCloud.com/iAmKittens.