The newly-GLAM nominated DJ of shows and dance parties has had a long career on both sides of the Hudson, and has many skills and creative enterprises outside the DJ booth as well. Taste the rainbow of Skittlez!
Thotyssey: Hello DJ Skittlez, thanks for chatting today! First off, congrats on your GLAM nomination!
DJ Skittlez: Thank you so much! I am very grateful and very proud!
You’ve been DJing for a while now–mostly in Jersey I think, but in recent years you’ve really come into your groove as a Manhattan DJ for parties and shows. So which do you like better, New York or New Jersey, lol?
Actually, here’s a little bit of history of my 19 year career. I started out in NY, first at a club called Heaven. Then I did a bunch of guest spots all over the Village and Chelsea. Fast forward, I was DJing at Deko Lounge which then turned into Ikon Lounge… and then later on in life, I had a residency at Club Feathers.
I can’t say which one I like better. I love both states equally, because both states allowed me to DJ the way I know best… and the energy that I receive back is amazing.
Where are you from originally, and was music always a part of your life?
I was born in upstate NY, but raised in NJ all my life. Yeah, music has always played a major part in my life. I started out as a musician since I was 7 years old, playing the violin.
And you’re a guitarist also!
Yes! I taught myself guitar at age 11. I play eight musical instruments.
Amazing! What motivated you to start DJing when you did?
It was a number of things. A lot of my classmates liked my song choices at birthday parties and house gatherings, and knew that I love music–so they encouraged me to get into DJing. I always felt passionate about making people dance and having them feel happy and excited, when there’s so much chaos going on in life.
Do you have any particularly favorite styles or genres to play?
Gosh! That’s tough! I love so many genres of music… but lately, it has been a mixture of afrobeats, reggaetón, k-pop, and old school hip-hop.
And how do you enjoying DJing for drag shows? That’s a whole other world, right?
I thoroughly enjoy drag shows. I remember seeing my first drag show in NYC at Escuelita which was on 39th. Very underground nightclub with some of the most gorgeous drag queens ever.
Yeah, it sure is a whole other world… but I mean, when I was brought on to do “H2Hoe,” I was totally out of the loop. I didn’t know the level of professionalism and precision were so high, you know? I knew I was going to work with Brita Filter who was on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lagoona Bloo and Kiki Ball-Change, but I had no idea I was playing in the major league alongside them. I have to tell you, I was a little nervous and anxious… but seeing them do what they do best and how they do it only made me want to work that much harder–not just as a DJ but as a sound engineer and producer, which helped me expand on more shows.
When you’re not DJing, you’re doing high end fashion retail stuff… and you even got to collaborate not too long ago with Savage X Fenty! What can you tell us about that world, and is it difficult sometimes to balance that with nightlife?
Oh wow! I still can’t believe I did that, too! Lol, who has the time? Where do I begin with that, lol?
Well, five years ago I was laid off from an assistant general manager position of a small hotel, and a recruiter from an agency reached out to me–which led me into working retail. I’ve worked mostly pop-up stores from Sharper Image to Savage X Fenty to Fila to ShopBop. I even did the men’s fashion show for YSL for early winter 2019. Rihanna’s team even sent me to London to launch her lingerie line, while she was premiering Ocean’s 8 at the time. I even worked in Canada for a few months, for a starter tech company.
You can basically say that my position was always retail operations manager: making sure everything was done to the client’s standards, and running around like a headless chicken. Very fast-paced world, and expectations were extremely high.
I was always able to take a step back from DJing so I could focus on retail, because I get bored easily (lol) and I’m always looking to put my stamp or my influence on things. Then I get right back into DJing.
The Multimedia Rainbow of Skittlez! So Fridays, you DJ “Reinas” at Hush, which is Pietra Parker and Natalie Carrera’s show.
Yes! It’s a fun show. I helped co-create the show with Xavier and Pietra Parker. It’s one of the only Latinx shows in Hell’s Kitchen that has a wide range of Latinx performers. What makes it so special is that we bring different Latin cultures to light–not just the different flags, but with the music and dancing as well.
And Saturday you’re back at Hush for another show, the prior mentioned H2HOE! The cast of that one is always in flux cuz the girls are so busy these days, but I guess it’s safe to say it usually stars Lagoona Bloo, Castrata and Peachez on the average night.
Yep! The main cast is Lagoona Bloo, Castrata and Peachez Iman Cummings, but Lagoona is on tour with Alaska and just launched her recent single, “Say It To The Sky” –by far, my favorite song of hers on so many levels! This cast is super talented, and amazing to work with–even with the understudies Dev Doee and Hanukah Lewinsky. Everyone brings their own flavor to the dish!
On Sunday December 4, you’ll be DJing The Q debut of “Balikbayan Box,” a Filipino drag revue (previously at The Ritz) starring Digna, Jiggly Caliente, Mancie Mandell and Diva Soria!
Another great show! A full Filipino cast that I know will bring the looks and talent to the stage. Very proud to be a Filipino Lesbian American!
Anything to add?
I mean, I’m on a Cloud 9 still from last week. I was asked to DJ the pre-show parties for Blackpink when they were here for the “Born Pink” world tour.
Gag, also amazing! Congratulations on it all! Okay lastly: what’s your best advice for a baby DJ on the scene today who wants to make it big?
My best advice for an upcoming DJ is to be honest and hardworking. Yes, it’s great to have connections… but you should put the time and effort in perfecting your craft to make sure that people keep dancing, and are having a good time!
Thank you, Skittlez!
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for DJ Skittlez’s upcoming appearances, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.