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Want to be a DJ? Kimmy K gives you the industry inside scoop

Text: Eloise Brink; Photography: Cindy Ellis

October 30, 2017

Want to be a DJ? Kimmy K gives you the industry inside scoop

With her passion for music, tenacious attitude and sexy style, Kim Myers, aka DJ Kimmy K, is one of SA’s hottest DJs, with gigs ranging from the epic Ultra South Africa to the exclusive SA Style Awards. Her genre of choice is deep house, but this versatile party-starter plays everything from commercial and tech to progressive, future house and Afro house, and in a career of just four years, she’s played on the same lineup as DJ Fresh, Poppy, GoodLuck, Martin Garrix and Armin van Buuren. From Joburg to Ibiza, discover more about her journey, here.

How did you get into DJing?

I’ve lived out my love of music since childhood. My brother and I started a band when I was 10 years old (he could sing, I just stuck to rapping!), and mom, Desi Myers, was a well-known Spanish dancer, so I also did ballet and Spanish dancing. I became a member of Joburg’s Danza Noventa company, but by the age of 20, I had to give that up for my dream of going into business. I did a BCom and went into management consulting, specialising in projects and programme management.

DJing started quite coincidentally a few years down the line. I was staying in a holiday villa in Ibiza with friends, and some were DJs who’d brought a setup so we could play and chill by the pool. I tried my hand at mixing and that was it – love in an instant! Back home I did a lot of what they call ‘bedroom DJing’, and took up basic music production as a hobby. My first gig came about when a friend invited me to join an all-female lineup at Capital Club in Rosebank. I was petrified, but my fear was overtaken by the thrill of being able to create an atmosphere that made people dance and smile. After that, I got more gigs, playing at night and over weekends, but by 2014, I was ready to take the leap into full-time DJing. I now have residencies across the country at clubs like Taboo in Joburg, Altitude in Pretoria and Coco in Cape Town. Then there are the one-off club events, festivals and corporate gigs, with sets that range from 30 minutes to 14 hours – in stilettos!

Why this career?

Music is a powerful way to express emotion, and I want other people to feel the way I do about it! Every set is a story and an adventure – I just want them to come along for the ride.

What’s it like to be a woman in the male-dominated DJ world – and what’s the key to cracking it?

Female DJs are sometimes considered a novelty and are not always taken seriously, but we’re on the rise, and that’s awesome. We just need to support one another, encourage more female DJs and drive home the message that nothing is impossible.

When it comes to cracking the field, my advice is to keep learning and improving. Pick up new skills on YouTube, do courses and study other DJs, from the effects they use to the way they transition between tracks. I record my sets and play them back to myself to see where I can improve. And network at every opportunity – I tell everyone I meet that I’m a DJ, from Uber drivers to businesspeople!

Your coolest gigs?

The world’s party capital, Ibiza, is on every DJ’s bucket list, so it was a privilege to play at one of the island’s biggest boat parties, the Ibiza Sea Party, in August 2015. And I played tracks by South African producers, showcasing our country’s amazing talent.

The 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn Convertible launch at an incredible house on the Western Cape coast combined my love of music with my love of cars! I played a six-hour set every second day for nearly a month, experienced the Dawn Convertible, interacted with the company directors and met the car designer, Giles Taylor.

Ultra South Africa is one of the world’s leading festivals, and it was amazing to play there in 2016, on the same lineup as Tiësto, Afrojack, Robin Schulz, Claptone and Black Coffee.

What is your take on style?

I’ve always been obsessed with fashion and used to change my outfit at least four to five times an hour as a child. Nothing has changed! I don’t leave the house without getting dressed up –  I don’t own jeans, tracksuit pants or even a T-shirt, and I have only one pair of flats, which I never wear. 

Confidence is a big part of a good performance. Diane von Furstenberg said, “Style is about confidence, that’s the real beauty.” So when it comes to my gigs, I always make sure I’m dressed to theme, from my nails down to my shoes. For me, style is a representation of who you are and your brand. So be creative, wear it and own it.

An event that every style icon looks forward to each year is the SA Style Awards and it’s a big day for me too as I get to entertain the who’s who, and of course, dress up. In 2015, I got to wear an incredible gown by Keys Fashion and last year I wore a black sheer and lace Marti Milner creation. There’s nothing that makes me feel more glamorous than wearing a dress specially designed for me.

DJ Kimmy K will be performing at this year’s SA Style Awards on 5 November at Diamond Walk, Sandton City. 

Looking for more career advice? Here’s how to kick-start your modelling career and how to make it as a makeup artist.

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