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Meet DJ Amara: Soulful LA DJ Extraordinaire | Flygirl Interview
Posted by Mandy Randhawa on July 24, 2017
DJ Amara on LA, the Mindy Project, and opening for Salt N Pepa
An experienced DJ with a big personality, DJ Amara has been hard at work over the last 15 years taking her music career to great heights (even spinning it into a gig on TV), and we love having her play at our parties. This year, she’ll be one of six DJs closing out Pride weekend at Hershe Bar. Get to know her better before you put on your party pants!
Flygirl: You’ve opened for some pretty big names like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Salt N Pepa. How do you approach what songs to play when prepping the crowd for different acts?
DJ Amara: I definitely tailor my set based on the artist’s style of music. When I opened for Salt N Pepa, I knew the crowd would love old-school so I played a bunch of fun, upbeat old-school tracks that any Salt N Pepa fan will enjoy. That was such a memorable set because I grew up listening to them and I couldn’t believe I was opening for them! To top it off, old school r&b/hip hop is my jam so I couldn’t be happier to play for a crowd that felt the same.
Flygirl: That must have been so awesome. What were some of your most memorable gigs?
DJ Amara: I truly feel blessed to have had so many memorable gigs because I’ve been deejaying for so long. Last year, I was the official DJ for WE Day at in California, a huge celebration honoring young people making a difference in their community. I DJ’d and also was the “voice of God” for the show, so I got to introduce the celebrity speakers, including one of my crushes, Charlize Theron! It was very inspiring to see all of the young kids dedicated to helping others and changing the world… plus did I mention Charlize Theron?!
Another experience that stands out is a gig in which I made a grand entrance from a cage that was dropped down from the ceiling of a sports arena into a pit of fire dancers! I had to be hoisted up and wait in the cage for two hours until it was time for my big reveal—I’m deathly afraid of heights. I had to sit still because any slight movement would sway the cage. Needless to say, I’ve never felt such a mix of stage fright, excitement, and anticipation waiting to finally be lowered and perform for thousands of people. The party was a prehistoric theme, so my DJ booth was a giant “active” volcano… definitely a first for me, and one of my most memorable moments!
Flygirl: Speaking of memorable moments… you had a brief stint on the Mindy Project! What was it like being on the show?
DJ Amara: At first, I was hesitant because I’m not an actor but when they said I wouldn’t have to act and just have to do what I normally do, then I was all in! I had to DJ while Mindy and her brother were trying to freestyle rap. Well, I actually did have to act because they couldn’t play any tracks due to licensing so I had to ‘act’ like there was an actual beat coming out of my system.
That experience also gave me more respect for people in that industry because they work LONG days and a lot of that time is spent just waiting around while the crew resets to do multiple takes. I was there for 12 hours to film a scene that was two minutes long! I can’t imagine the total hours spent filming an entire show. Everyone, including actors and crew, were incredibly kind. Overall it was a fun experience, but let’s just say I don’t plan to make a career change.
Flygirl: If a queer Vancouverite were to go on vacation in LA, what are some must-hit spots?
DJ Amara: LA is very widespread, and so is the queer community. There’s something for everyone! Currently one of my favorite parties is Whitney Day’s Heartbreaker at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. It’s got a really sexy underground/speakeasy vibe and the times I’ve played there I’ve gotten to play a mix of deep house and indie tracks that I love. I’m so excited to see she is playing Chicas this year, I can’t wait to go!
The ‘90s Grind is also a favorite of mine—all ‘90s music and a really great vibe, hosted by my friends DJ Automaton and Charlene Borja. They’ve returned this summer for a limited run, so definitely worth seeking out if you’re visiting LA soon!
Flygirl: What do you think sets LA parties apart?
DJ Amara: Parties in LA are definitely very fashion-forward and diverse. I love seeing people dressed up or down and having the freedom to express themselves. Depending on which part of LA the party is in, the crowd and music will vary. For example, parties in the east side will have more of an indie vibe while Top 40 pop is more prevalent in West Hollywood.
Regardless of where you go, you’ll have a great time meeting people from all walks of life who come from all over the world because LA is truly a melting pot. Oh and if you’re a foodie like me, you’ll be delighted to know that LA has the best after-party food! You’ll find amazing taco trucks lining the streets or better yet, it might be right outside (and some venues inside) the club you were partying at! Mmmmm… now I’m hungry.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Amara!