It’s pretty common knowledge that DJing is a male-dominated profession. Not only that, if you look at the most popular DJ artists today, they tend to be straight white men. Think Zedd, Skrillex, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and countless more. Historically, the community has cast aside and even been hostile to minorities.
It’s important to empower and uplift female DJs, especially female DJs of color, because they are so often ostracized in our community. In a patriarchal society, women rarely get recognition for “untraditional” talents.
So, in honor of the brilliant women who keep music innovative, we’re going to highlight the achievements of several female DJs. From seasoned artists to some of the newcomers who are making waves, here are some of the best female DJs that you need to know about.
Having been a raver since she was only 16 years old, DJ Lady Tazz knows a thing or two about techno music. Born and raised in Montreal, after obtaining a degree in psychology from York University, she followed her roots back to Bangladesh. That gut feeling launched her DJ career and no doubt plays a part in the sound of her music.
DJ Tazz became the CEO of 96.4 Spice FM by age 22. Her attempts to create an accepting community was often met with hostility, but she persisted. The actual sound of DJ Lady Tazz didn’t emerge until she traveled to Europe, specifically Greece. Her dark techno music is often inspired by the beauty of chance in the studio.
Tazz has been a nominee at the New York Radio Awards, which brought the radio community’s attention to Bangladesh. Additionally, Tazz received the Silver YouTube Button award for radio in 2018–the first person in Bangladesh to do so. Her new single, “Dragon Lady” is inspired by her own alter ego and her desire to empower and uplift women.
Born Jennifer Lee and hailing from Los Angeles, TOKiMONSTA is one of the artists that is making waves in the mainstream by representing the underground. In December of 2010, she was named number one Hottest Los Angeles Lady DJ by LA Weekly. She was the first woman to sign to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, and has since released four albums, all of which received critical praise.
In 2015, Lee was diagnosed with a rare brain disease that required surgery to fix. After her surgeries, she briefly lost linguistic and musical abilities. Her 2017 album, Lune Rouge, was inspired by her ordeal and earned her a Grammy nomination in 2019. In addition to her own music, TOKiMONSTA has collaborated with artists such as Anderson .Paak.
Often stylized as Va$htie, Vashtie Kola is a DJ you should know about if you don’t already. She is widely known and respected as one of the top female DJs in the downtown scene of New York City. Not only has she been a DJ powerhouse for over a decade, she has also been involved in NYC’s fashion and art scenes since she moved to the city in 1999.
In addition to DJing some of the hottest parties in New York City, she is also a writer, director, model, reality television star, and fashion designer. She has directed music videos from artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$. Vashtie has been pushing boundaries for women since the beginning of her career and continues to do so.
DJ Pearl is one of India’s top house artists, and her career began on the dance floor. She has travelled around the world in search of the perfect clubbing experience, and her music is certainly influenced by this experience. She brought these sounds back home in order to cultivate a community like the ones she experienced in Europe. Since then, she has been a pioneer in electronic dance music in India.
Pearl has also co-founded “Submerge,” which is India’s most popular electronic music party. Not only does Pearl cultivate perfect clubbing experiences, she also creates space for DJs to hone their skills. She has sold out tours in Tokyo, Paris, Dubai, and other cities across the world.
Ellen Fraatz, known professionally as Ellen Allien is a German DJ and music producer. She was first exposed to electronic music through the acid house scene in London during the 1980s. Her long and illustrious career has been spent seeing the future through her music. She has played every major club on the worldwide circuit and released 11 studio albums.
She holds residencies in Ibiza and Barcelona and is regularly booked by major venues. Ellen also launched her own record label called UFO Inc. under which she seeks out new and established talent. In her hometown of Berlin, she has become influential within culture, art, fashion, and music. As one of the pioneers of women in techno, Ellen Allien continues to demonstrate the ability and knowledge of women all over the world.
The Berlin-based Gou was born in South Korea but moved to London at age 14 to study English. The UK capital is where she found her love for the nightlife scene and subsequently her love for electronic music. At the age of 18, a friend taught her how to DJ, and her first gig was held in the Soho district of London.
Later, she performed weekly sets at venues such as The Book Club and Cirque du Soir. After her first production, titled “Hugaboo,” received a successful release, she began to put out more music on Radio Slave’s label, Rekids. Today, Peggy Gou is one of the most prolific female DJs, having toured around the world and at popular events like Coachella regularly.
The Importance Of Female DJs
More and more, we are seeing female DJs, DJs of color, and LGBTQ+ DJs emerge from the woodwork. As our community becomes more accepting, it’s still important to uplift these artists. As you can see, women have played a valuable role in taking electronic music to the next level. We encourage you to check out these artists and their work.