DJ Erika Hamilton
I have over ten years experience as a DJ and over five years experience in private events. I have worked many corporate parties and weddings.
Several years ago, when I was organizing and choosing the music for a DJ set at one of NYC's hottest night clubs, I had come across one of my favorite childhood records. The record was Cyndi Lauper's 'Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun.' Before that night I had never dreamed of playing that song at a party. I had spent so many years working really hard and shedding my 'blood, sweat and tears' just to be apart of the 'coveted' and 'cool' NYC nightclub DJ clique. This clique, however, was really one big fraternity of 'urban hipsters' deciding what was 'cool' and 'real' enough to be a 'good record'. Playing Cyndi Lauper is probably the antithesis of their elitist ideology of "good music". The song is just too fun, too bouncy and way too catchy. At the time, I had recently been featured in Time Out NY as one of NYC's hottest DJs. If I decided to play that record at the peak of my set, I would be risking my precious and hard earned 'hipster' reputation.
I packed the "Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun" record into one of my crates, in between Michael Jackson and Prince.
At around 2:30 am the club was packed with a culturally and ethnically diverse group of NYC trend setters. The dancefloor was steamy and hot. I had already finished my cool edgy KRS ONE, Common and Blackstar set, I had zipped through all the current club/radio anthems, I had just gotten half way through the old-school hits and I realized I was just about to get stuck. Every DJ that spins a full 5hr set knows exactly what it means to be stuck. It is within that moment that we must tap into our soul and turn off the "auto-pilot" switch and actually start being a DJ, and displaying the very reason why we are getting paid to play music. I started scrambling through my crates of records and boom!!!!. there she was, the bright, pink/red, 'cutsey punkster' we all once loved in the 80s.
I thought to myself, hmmm Cyndi Lauper will either make or break the night. I pulled the old record out of the sleeve, and started to think. should I just drop it? After a few seconds of thinking it through I realized I needed a good leeway. It occured to me that I still hadn't played Gwen Stefani's "Holla Back Girl", (please note this was when Holla Back was a very new release, and I always save a few of the hottest new releases for 3am) Yesss! I thought it's perfect, but wait! I dug through my old-school crate and remembered I had a really cool remix of Madonna's Holiday. I thought to myself, I was about to go to a place I had never been before.
I dropped Gwen Stefani, and the crowd roared, everyone including the bartenders started dancing. I held my breath and cued Madonna, and realized that 'Holla Back' and 'Holiday' almost had the same BPM, they mixed perfectly. The crowd responded well to Madonna though they didn't seem as surprised as I thought they'd be. I did loose a few of the 'boys', they stopped dancing and were walking away to their tables or to the bar. I started to have second thoughts, but the Cyndi Lauper record was already cued and I didn't have enough time to think of and find another record. My hands started to shake, my heart was pumping, this was a huge club, and there were hundreds of people dancing, what the heck was a I doing? I took one big breath and let it go. . . . . . . . . . . The first note of "girl's just one of have fun" is this high shrilled electro sound and then it goes strait into the song. There was a brief pause of disbelief and then for the first time in my entire DJ career I heard a noise that I never heard before. It felt like I was the lead singer of a famous 'boy band', performing at an auditorium. Every girl in the club started to scream, and they didn't stop, and by the middle of the first chorus every girl in the club was dancing. It was crazy, I never felt or experienced anything like it before and it completely changed my perspective as a DJ.
To think, after all of those years, of trying so hard to be 'down.' The only and most significant quality that was missing in my DJ sets was me. The fun, bouncy, girly girl that I am and always have and will be. That night was the beginning of my best DJ Sets. Every girl was dancing, and because every girl was dancing, every guy started to dance too. I realized that strait guys don't dance by themselves or with each other, and it's the girls who really 'start the party'. I have no idea why I had spent so many years seeking the approval of a boy's club, when at the end of the day there is no question about it. ..Girl's rule the dancefloor!