DJ Lake Gang is quickly becoming the premier female DJ in the state of Mississippi. She has been building up her credentials and adding to her resume ...
DJ Lake Gang is quickly becoming the premier female DJ in the state of Mississippi. She has been building up her credentials and adding to her resume since she exploded on the scene. We interviewed her on The Hood Hippie when she was still a fresh face in the game.
Since then she has released over 50 mixtapes, risen as a club DJ and become the host of several mix-shows. In addition to that, she has been named the Female DJ of the Year at the 14th Annual Southern Entertainment Awards.
The growth that she has shown in just three years is truly astounding and inspirational to young artists trying to make a name. I recently had the opportunity to connect with her and get an update on her progress thus far and what we can expect in the future.
MM: You were one of the first people that I ever featured on TheHoodHippie.com. What has your journey to success been like since those early stages?
LG: Wow, that was almost three years ago! It doesn’t seem that long ago, but when I read my responses to that interview I definitely see and feel the growth that’s taken place since then. During the time of our first interview I was still very fresh in the game, less than six months in to be exact. I hadn’t even dropped my first mixtape, which helped propel me forward and gain a lot of local support by the way. I now have close to 50 mixtapes under my belt.
Apart from mixtapes, I’ve grown significantly as a club DJ and gained a position as a mix show DJ on the radio in Valdosta, GA and Lake Charles, LA. I have such a better understanding of crowds from back then, I’ve learned how to be like water as Bruce Lee would say, adapting to each moment when necessary. I’ve also graduated from college since then, so I have much more time to dedicate to music than I did before. To sum it up, there’s just been tons of growth and work, and I’m really starting to see some of the harvests from it. I feel like we’re (me and my team) getting so close to breaking this glass ceiling.
MM: What is it like being one of the most prominent female DJ’s in the South?
LG: I want to start every response off with wow! lol. Thank you for the title. I’m my biggest critic, so whenever I hear statements like this I’m taken back. I see more and more every day though that the work is really paying off. More people are recognizing and supporting the brand.
MM: What do you think of the music culture of Mississippi? Do you think the artists are evolving? Do you think the consumers are evolving?
LG: Mississippi. My feelings are all over the place. For a long time I had so much hope and vision for the state, I think there was a level of naivety there because I hadn’t fully gone through the process of dealing with so many different artists. Talent wise, we’re there. We have it. But, I think a lot of what artists are lacking is understanding of branding themselves.
As far as the consumer, I think our state goes through what a lot of other places go through in terms of trying to get the community to care about local artists. There was a time when I thought we could make it happen from right here in the state, a vision given to me by my manager/fiance Camden. Now, I’m not so sure.
Not many have made it happen from staying here in Mississippi. When I look at artists like Hollywood Luck, the guy is catchy, I can’t help but question why Mississippi hasn’t made him rich yet. He has a song with nearly every relevant artist in the state, and has been featured on a project with Young Dro, has songs with Yo Gotti, Webbie, Dro, he’s really just a humble guy all around-especially to get play in every club in the state. I don’t understand why artists who are in the spotlight from this state don’t acknowledge him.
My thoughts on this topic are ever changing, but I’m starting to think that outsourcing should be done first, and then we come back and uplift the state.
MM: How do you decide what to spin in your set? What makes you interested in breaking a record?
LG: Good question, I’ve been seeing a lot of dialogue on DJs and breaking records lately. My first step is to assess the crowd that I’m going to be dealing with. I do most of this prior to even stepping foot in the venue. I find out what’s hot in the area, I check the local radio stations to see what music the people are used to hearing. I often times come across records that I personally think are jamming, but if they’re not getting radio play or are popular in the streets it’s likely that the crowd will be at a stand still when I play. This doesn’t always happen. Some crowds rock to anything, others know what they want to hear and don’t care to listen to anything other than that.
When it comes to breaking records, I have to take all of this into account. I helped break an artist from the GTA named Splashgang Richey, the song was called Fendi. I started out playing it early on in my sets, placed him on my mixtapes, and played his music at pep rallies I was DJing at the local high school. Soon, I was able to play his music during prime of my sets. He made the task easy. He was doing what it took on his behalf to get people to accept him.
So, what exactly makes me interested in breaking a record? The song has to be catchy, mixed properly, and the artist needs to have put in work that allows for breaking the record to make sense. It’s hard to break a record if after I’ve played it the artist has done nothing to allow for the crowd to find out more about them. When it all boils down, I play what the crowd wants to hear. I don’t play what I want to hear or what artists want me to play.
That’s what I mean when I say the artist needs to work beyond just sending music to DJs. They need to make the people want to hear their music, because if the people don’t I have a reason to play the record.
MM: Considering your recent win for this year’s SEA Awards, what are some of your goals for the remainder of 2017?
LG: I’ve already started tackling my goals for this year and it’s a blessing to see everything come to fruition. I plan on continuing my mix show which airs on 96.7 FM in Valdosta, GA as well as Lake Charles, LA and getting it featured on more stations throughout the country.
I want to continue releasing mixtapes on a consistent basis and DJ more outside of the region that I’ve been djing in. I’m also brewing up something that I haven’t seen many DJs do here in the south. When it’s ready you’ll be the first to know!
Overall, though I want to continue to expand my skill set and fan base. I have a lot of goals apart from music, some including venturing into film, behind and in front of the camera, as well as fashion. I just graduated from Mississippi State in broadcasting and PR, I have plans to put that degree to use.
I also have a few plans for community service, currently looking for ways to get sponsors. The youth needs guidance and to see that there’s so many more opportunities that exist beyond sports and a medical degree. I’m going to make it happen!
MM: Are you currently working on any new projects or series?
LG: Yes, I am! I recently released Wet This Week Vol. 4 soon, as well as continuing my 1st & 15th series, I have a project that will feature indie artists from the state as well as Georgia. My station brother DJ Kkoti will be co-hosting from Georgia. Like I said earlier, I have a really special wave I’m working on; it’s my baby. I can’t wait to share it!
MM: What are some the challenges you’ve faced being a female in a male-dominated industry?
LG: I often times don’t notice or think about the fact that I’m a female dj until a challenge or obstacle arises. I’m not really on a crusade for female equality or anything, I’m just working to be the best me I can be. There are other factors I identify with before I think of my femininity. HOWEVER, something always happens that reminds me that women – black women are the most disrespected beings on this planet. I’ve dealt with a lot of artist, indie artists or those working to get to the top don’t really give me any issues. I haven’t met many major artists that acknowledge me for who I am as a DJ rather than sexualizing me. Shoutout to TK-n-Cash and DJ Luke Nasty though, to name a few. Those guys are mad respectful, I hope I run into more people like them in the future.
Apart from trying to deal with mainstream artists, I find that I’m scrutinized more than my male counterparts. When guys realize that a woman is DJing they instantly tune in to see if I know what I’m doing. The ones who judged me from the gate are usually the ones who walk up and shake my hand at the end of the night. One time, a dj who was supposed to my “og” told my manager/fiance that they couldn’t believe he was allowing me to DJ. “A woman shouldn’t have to work,” he said. He said women “weren’t made for this lifestyle”.
I’ll share one more story and then hop off of my soapbox. There was a club that was considering making me their house DJ. I’m not sure if the current house DJ knew this, but he tried everything to block me, including stealing another DJ’s set.
Apart from those few challenges, I don’t really have any complaints. Being a woman I’m usually exempt from all of the petty rivalry I see amongst male djs. I think it’s unique, definitely wouldn’t change it if I could.
MM: What are some word of encouragement or advice that you would like to pass along to other women working in the music industry?
LG: I would almost say the same thing to woman that I would anyone looking to work in the music industry. Know who you are. Know that you don’t have to give up a part of yourself to be successful or be what you want to be. Life isn’t what you see on tv or reality shows. You can be who you want to, without having to jump through unnecessary hurdles and hoops to get there.
Know where you want to go and get there unchanged by negativity. Don’t be hardened, and stay humble even when you start attaining the goals you’ve set for yourself. Lastly, be independent. If you don’t have the money for graphics learn to make your own. If you can’t find a mentor be your own, YouTube and Google are your greatest friends.
MM: Is there anything I didn’t ask that you want to be mentioned?
LG: I think you covered everything. I got to get a lot off of my chest. Thanks so much for taking the time to see what my thoughts are on these different topics. You were one of the first people to ever care about my position and I’ll never forget it!
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