Inner Circle : Luvl1sa
What got you into DJ-ing?
I was inspired by all the DJ's that I'd book at the Chilltown parties. I first started out producing and curating events through my company, Chilltown Collective, and then I realized I wanted a balance with all the behind the scenes work I would drown myself in. That's when DJ'ing came into play. Working behind a laptop all the time was getting mundane to me. I needed my creative release. I was always curious and wanted to push and turn every button and knob on the mixer and turntables, so I started to ask DJ friends a lot of questions and became very observant during shows, parties and any practice sessions. I wanted to represent a Filipino-American woman from Jersey City and to inspire other girls who want to branch out into DJ'ing and other creative fields alike. My purpose is to create, but also to educate, inspire and impact the community locally and beyond through music and the platforms I've built.
What defines your sound?
My sound is a pure reflection of me. My heart and soul lies with Caribbean music, but I also love listening to and playing music that makes you dance and boogie -- funk, soul, house and club music.
What keeps you motivated?
My purpose. I believe I was put on this earth to connect people and to reach out and offer a helping hand or two to others.
My family is a strong motivating force in my life. My godchildren, Lauren, Rocky, Jaxson and Izzy. I want to make each and every one of them proud of my (non-traditional) line of work and successes I've accomplished within it.
My city, Jersey City, keeps me on my toes and striving to maintain the music culture in the very city I was born and raised in.
Is there anyone/anything that you look to for inspiration?
I've always been big on traveling. I can't sit still. I constantly find inspiration from my surroundings whenever I get the chance to hit the road. I like to encompass myself (and learn from) other cultures and within other creative communities in different cities. It gives me a fresh perspective and keeps me grounded.
What kind of music do you feel the most connected to?
Dancehall & Soca, House & Club Music.
Growing up, I was a heavy 90's dancehall head and gravitated more to the sound of Soca after working closely with Jillionaire (of Major Lazer) and managing his indie Brooklyn based music label, Feel Up Records. House and club music always resonated with me listening to Tony Humphries and dancing to Tameil at my high school pep rallies and in the girls locker rooms before basketball games.
Who’s on your radar that’s up and coming from your area (or in general)?
Two of Chilltown's resident DJ's, Jedd Kristjan and Eric Joseph, and a band that I work with named Conundrum, who do live instrumentation for Chilltown parties and have recently branched out to playing shows in New York City. I'm also a huge fan of DJ and producer, DJ Dana Lu. Listen to her set, pass her the mic and you'll know why. I hope to bring them all to Boston in the future.
Favorite thing or artist to listen to right now?
I still have Koffee's "Toast" on heavy repeat. I first heard the single through Max Glazer and then resurfaced the single when I visited my family in Kingston over the Christmas break. My Trini gyals Trixie and Careen put me onto "Issa Snack" by Nessa Preppy & Travis World when it first came out. It's such a fire record that I have on constant rotation. It's also carnival season so I've been listening to a lot of soca music.
Favorite spot to grab a bite in Jersey?
In Jersey City? Oof, there's so many to choose from! Some of my favorite spots are Just Beclaws, Ani Ramen, Harry's Daughter, Koro Koro and JC staples, White Mana and Vinnies Pizza.
What was the first thing you noticed about Boston?
It's a vibe! The first time I touched down in Boston I was a tour manager for Cipha Sounds' Take It Personal Comedy and Music Tour. After speaking with Paul, he was down to have Ciph and I DJ guest sets for A// Good at Good Life Bar. The energy and the beautiful people made me feel like I was right at home.
What was your perception of Boston before you played the Wave?
First coming to Boston, I didn't know what to expect when it came to nightlife or music. I know every city has their own thing going when it comes to both, but after hearing about The Wave and who's played it, I knew I was in for a treat.
I can't get enough! The Wave made me realize how influential the creative scene is in Boston. The room was filled with creatives! Boston showed some major love during and after our b2b set. They were dancing and singing along and really appreciated what we had to offer coming from Jersey. It was extra special to spin alongside Jadalareign from New York. Five dope DJ's from three different cities playing one party. Energies were reciprocated. We truly represented in our own authentic ways.
Digital or vinyl?
There's nothing like the feeling of Vinyl at my fingertips.
How has your experience been being an Asian-American DJ?
I'm filipino and I come from a culture that loves to sing karaoke and performing cover songs. When I play out, the audience doesn't really know what to expect, and I think that's the best part. When I play a dancehall and soca set or my favorite 90's house tracks, I tend to get the reaction of, "Wow, how does she know this?".
Having an Asian parent myself, I know have a “non-traditional” career in the creative space can be difficult for them to support. Have you encountered any barriers because of your race? And how’d you over come them?
As first my my parents didn't understand my line of work and why creating the space for other musicians and artists was so important to me. Like typical Filipino parents, they really wanted me to be a nurse. After completing all my the pre-reqs, getting accepted into nursing school, and working as a Patient Care Technician at a dialysis center for over a year, I realized that I wanted to do more creatively, and that I had a lot more to offer the world. Through time and persistence, my parents became more supportive and realized how fulfilled I am working in industries that aligned with my passions. Ultimately, they really just want what's best for me and to see me happy and successful.
How do you overcome stereo-types that come with your background in today’s picture-perfect social media era?
I keep my head down and I keep working. I try to view things from an influential and positive standpoint. Generally speaking, it's easy to get sidetracked by social media.
I like to share my world, on whatever media platform it may be, by showing others my interests and how it works for me and my busy lifestyle. I share a dose of music, my healthy living, my cycling adventures, and my travels.
How is it having a partner who is in the same lane as you?
It can be challenging at times, but also fruitful. We learn more about each other and how to overcome hurdles, everyday.
Can you give us the background behind your passion projects like Roadie and Chilltown?
Chilltown is an established nickname of Jersey City. Through Chilltown Collective, the goal was to bring all of the creatives together in the growing city and it's surrounding areas. It's great what opportunities bring in New York City, but I also want to bring light to the talent that comes out of Jersey. It's important to support local talent in industry that's become overly saturated.
Chilltown will be celebrating our 4 year anniversary this year and we're currently bringing our sound to 5 different venues in JC. There's a little something for everybody, whether it be your age or your music taste. I want to continue bringing talent from different cities and from all over the world to play at the place we call home and to be part of the Chilltown community.
I started Roadie a year ago in 2018. I remember sitting in my truck, Ravioli, with King Marie from Chicago and telling her about my stories from Jamaica and how my friends and family from there would call me Roadie (since I was always on the road and on the move). That's how the name Roadie first came into fruition. I realized that I was surrounded by a wide array of womxn DJ's and artists who were really talented, but weren't getting as much shine as they should in the oversaturated industry. I believed that creating a platform to build a community with like-minded gyals to celebrate and honor each other from all walks of life was something I wanted to foster.
Roadie is ran by womxn for all, to have a space and platform in the music industry, no matter the race or sexual identity. Since it's inception, I've had the pleasure to work with my partner and art director / designer, Jahnia, and talent from major cities such as DJ Dana Lu from Jersey, Tnyfox from New York and King Marie from Chicago. Our hosts, Paz and Angelica, has also given us an immense amount of support. We also work on visuals with a creative agency and production studio called Hoylrad Studios, which is also ran by womxn and owned by powerhouse, Daryl Oh. This year the goal is to work with more womxn artists and bring the talent from other womxn collectives together in one space. More collaborations, more support, more vibes, more opportunities for all.
Overall, through my passion projects, my purpose is to bring people and communities together. To share the universal language called music with each other and to create memorable experiences for all.