DJ, Music Maker and TV Host – Jasmine SolanoFebruary 25, 2014 By: Steve Lewis
The female DJs of today have many opportunities to show off their talents and pretty faces. DJ, Music Maker and TV Host – Jasmine Solano is not just another pretty face trying to DJ. On the contrary, she is nothing short of a world traveling, bonafide workaholic.
Breaking through the male orientated glass ceiling of the DJ scene, Solano is an accomplished musician and described as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Her undeniable talent has taken her around the world including stops in Paris, London, Singapore, Berlin, Munich, Sydney, Brisbane and Tokyo.
Continuing her love for music, Solano dropped her first full length EP, "One on One" ft. Yelawolf last year in addition to her hit “That’s Not It” and monthly residency at the W New York - Downtown. You can also catch her on the very hip Radio Lily every Tuesday from 4-6 PM EST. This year, she joins the MTV Iggy family as host of the music-travel-culture show, “Scratch the Surface.”
The opportunities and careers of female DJ’s take them around the world and through many doors. Nightclub & Bar had the opportunity to catch up with Solano:
Nightclub & Bar (NCB): You have been DJing on the radio since you were 17. How did you get noticed to get that gig?
Jasmine Solano: When I went to Emerson College in Boston at age 17, I immediately gravitated to their local radio station, WERS 88.9FM. For the next four years, I would spin on the radio which culminated into the creation of the R&B, soul show "The Secret Spot" in my final year. It still runs today! I was probably chosen based on my obsession with music, but over time I proved my abilities enough to become Program Director my last year.
NCB: How did you learn to DJ and what were your first gigs like?
Solano: I was first introduced to the DJ lifestyle when I was 16 from a friend back home who knew everything about turntablism. I bought my first pair of turntables when I was 18 and my first gigs after were terrifying! It's one thing to DJ in your house when you're learning, by yourself (or with one or two friends) and there's no pressure. It's another thing completely to DJ in front of a room filled with strangers, expecting you to perform flawlessly.
NCB: what are the differences in style and taste as well as common threads you see in the international cities you’ve performed?
Solano: I've spun in Singapore, Tokyo, Australia, Paris, London, Berlin and Sweden – to name a few! It's interesting because when you travel you often think people will be so different from you but what I’ve found is that we are all more similar than we know. Because music is the universal language and accessible to all it reaches every nook on the earth. Culture and style spread fast as well. For example, Tokyo loves vintage Americana - you can see it in the clothing designs, the interior design of stores. The world is getting smaller by the minute!
NCB: Tell us a little bit about your show on Radio Lily.
Solano: I spin my radio show every Tuesday from 4-6pm on Radio Lily (radiolily.com) at Miss Lily's in the West Village. If anyone has visited Miss Lily's or Melvin's Juice Box in NYC, they know how amazing this place is. From the decor (which feels like Jamaica in the 50's) to the staff (most of which I've known for years) it celebrates all things reggae from the food to the music. It's my second home.
NCB: What is Electric punanny?
Solano: Electric Punanny is a DJ Duo / Party I run with MeLo-X. We've been doing the party for about 6 years and have toured internationally. We attract people from all different backgrounds and cultures because we blur the line between reggae, electro, dancehall and house. We are about to embark on a North American Tour this spring including all the major festivals in the US. (http://electricpunanny.com)
NCB: Tell us about your residency at the W New York - Downtown.
Solano: My monthly residency at W New York is a partnership between Good Peoples (http://good-peoples.com), myself and W. We wanted to bring a fresh take on an event by melding the worlds of music and fashion. We began the partnership at the start of 2014 and I’ve been spinning every Saturday night since. The Living Room at the W has been at capacity every Saturday so far, so I can only imagine what will happen once the snow melts!
NCB: What’s happening with MTV?
Solano: Last year, I partnered with MTV Iggy to make a small mini-series called "Scratch The Surface". It will be premiering soon and I'm very excited to share it with the world.
NCB: How do you source your music?
Solano: I get my music from everywhere. My travels influence me big time and I love to visit local record shops to find the local superstars. Also, the internet is an endless source. Soundcloud and Youtube houses the best musicians, producers and artists worldwide - most of whom are unknown.
NCB: Who are your influencers?
Solano: Women in music are my biggest influencers - Betty Davis, Nikka Costa, Erykah Badu, and Gwen Stefani. Strong, talented women who rebelled against the norm and re-created the status quo.
NCB: How important is style and appearance to a DJ?
Solano: That depends on you. There are famous male DJs that show up in a tee shirt and jeans to spin for thousands of people. Women are expected to be much more stylish, even if spinning for a crowd of 20. It depends on the individual. As an artist, style has always been a part of my self-expression but the quality of your music, your skills should outweigh your looks. That's the testament to a true artist.