Celebrating Boss Lady DJs During Women’s History Month
It’s Women’s History Month – a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Behind the decks and behind the scenes, an army of wonderful women have helped shape dance music throughout the decades. While the electronic music industry is still a male dominated world, there’s a growing number of fierce and fabulous female DJs making their mark front and centre. To mark Women’s History Month, here’s a rundown of our favourite local and international boss lady DJs. Make no mistake, these chicks rock!
Berlin-based Anja Schneider is never far from a headline set at some of the world’s best clubbing institutions. A torchbearer for electronic music, Schneider turned her passion into a profession. Back in the ’90s, young Anja sweated it out dancefloors, soaking up true techno culture at clubs like Tresor. Starting out as a producer for KissFM, Anja graduated through the ranks to become a presenter for FritzRadio. With her exceptional knowledge of electronic music, she soon had her show, called Dance Under The Blue Moon. A real hit, the show carried on for 17 years, even after Anja became a club DJ. The house and techno tastemaker also co-founded Mobilee Records and later Sous Music.
Today, Anja is one of the most respected ladies in the scene, with legions of fans tuning into her Club Room show each week. We’re chuffed to have Anja playing at our Ibiza Global Radio UAE Beach Festival, on Saturday 19th March. Don’t miss it – or her!
DJ Jas’s career has accelerated at speed in recent years. Here in the UAE, Jas is Head DJ at Bla Bla Dubai. “It’s an absolute pleasure to play there,” she beams. While chalking up international gigs too, this young lady is making history for female DJs in the region. In 2019 she played at the Al Hilal FC Champions League Finals in Saudi Arabia. “I was the first female DJ to play in a Saudi stadium,” recalls Jaz. “This was during the first year females were allowed to attend football matches in the country and the energy was amazing.” After playing at the FIFA Arab Cup, Jas is DJing at the World Cup 2022, in Qatar, in November.
Jas sees the number of female DJs in the UAE “growing massively”. During Women’s History Month, she advises the growing tribe to support one another. “We have groups on WhatsApp and social media channels set up for that,” she explains. “Reach out if you are a new female DJ in town to create connections. We can advise on a lot of things through our own tried and tested experience. Networking is also a must to get your name out there. Have a good social media page, with videos and mixes that clients can access, and always have an up-to-date bio at the ready.”
Eli & Fur
British duo Eli & Fur are Anjunadeep’s leading ladies. Best friends from their school days, Eli & Fur share a love for infectious melodies, driving basslines and brooding vocals. Talented DJs, producers and singer-songwriters, their first track – 2013’s You’re So High – racked up over 20 million plays online. Eli & Fur finally released their debut album – Found in the Wild – last year. Showcasing their songwriting chops, the album glides from emotional and wistful tracks into more familiar club output. The girls are familiar faces in Dubai so keep your eye out for their next gig here in the emirate.
One year on from landing in Dubai, DJ and producer E.M.A is finding her rhythm in the city. “I feel very lucky to be here,” says E.M.A, who drops house beats every Saturday and Sunday on the rooftop of Atelier M, in Dubai Marina. “Everyone in the Dubai music scene is super friendly and supports each other. I have amazingly talented friends around me who all have the same goal – to work hard and play hard.” The Brit is also part of Natalie Brogan’s Sparkle DJ crew. “Natalie has created something special with her ladies’ night and I’m super happy to be part of it.”
E.M.A is enjoying the variety of DJing experiences on offer in the UAE, from bars to clubs and boat parties. “I played at Kite Beach, Umm Al Quwain, recently, which was a dream,” enthuses E.M.A. “It’s like a slice of Bali in the UAE.”
As a 16-year-old, E.M.A discovered dance music via the sounds of DJ Lisa Lashes. Her love affair with electronic music has never waned since. In a serendipitous twist to E.M.A’s story, in 2018 she released The Power of Dance – a track co-produced with Lisa Lashes and featuring Howard Marks. More music is in the pipeline this year. “I’m working with the legend Nick Hussey on some exciting projects,” reveals E.M.A. “Plus, I’m collaborating with a collection of brilliant vocalists I’ve met on the Dubai music scene.”
Part of the Defected family, LP Giobbi places uplifting piano house at the centre of her energetic sets. Signed to Defected’s D4 Dance sister label, LP is a DJ, producer, pianist, entrepreneur and activist. Hailing from Oregon and based in LA, this talented lady is the founder of Femme House – a non-profit educational platform fostering “more equitable opportunities for women and gender-expansive individuals” in music. More than 3000 individuals from 77 countries worldwide have benefited from Femme House’s free production bootcamps. With gigs at Coachella, EDC, Lollapalooza, Firefly and more under her belt, LP also hosts Femme House Radio – part of Diplo’s Revolution on SiriusXM. “Bringing the house party to the school house”, her recent US tour offered in-person production workshops at each stop. Later this month, she joins Defected’s North American tour, playing at the label’s Miami Music Week showcase.
Natalie Brogan is the UAE’s First Lady of dance music, famous for her feelgood house sets. Manchester lass Natalie moved to the UAE in 2009 to take up a DJ residency in Abu Dhabi. Since then she’s rocked dancefloors alongside some of the world’s biggest DJs. And she’s picked up a string of awards along with way, scooping titles in the 2012, 2014 and 2020 What’s On Awards. Launched in 2021, Natalie’s Sparkle Ladies’ Night, at Media City venue Twenty Three, is incredibly successful. A Sennheiser ambassador, Natalie holds a residency at Zero Gravity – one of Dubai’s best beach clubs. During Women’s History Month and all year round, Natalie is an inspiration to other female DJs in the country.
Undisputed Queen of Techno, Nicole Moudaber is, in her own words, “uncensored, inclusive and fierce”. Promoter, DJ, producer, label boss and techno icon, Nicole is a one-woman army building her MOOD empire. Mood Records releases incendiary techno bombs and her Mood events – MoodRAW (warehouse parties), MoodZONE (festival stages) and MoodDAY (pool parties) – please party people worldwide. In The MOOD, Nicole’s radio show, is syndicated to 80 stations in 50 countries, with over 20 million weekly listeners. Involved in a range of philanthropic endeavors, this dancefloor warrior is striving for empowerment, education and social progress. Also an ambassador for the Association For Electronic Music, Nicole uses her position to campaign for positive change in the electronic music industry. Fearless, she’s also a professional race car driver.
Peggy Gou epitomises Korean class and creativity. Veering between techno, playful house and more abstract sounds, Gou’s DJ sets are fun and surprising. As a former fashion student in London, Gou frequented legendary club Plastic People. The club shaped Guo’s open-ended musical philosophy. Her sets reflect a diverse range of influences and she honours electronic music’s heritage in her own productions. In 2019 Peggy launched Gudu Records to bring the past and future together. The label champions new talent and reissues out of print records that have influenced her sound.