Kelly Sylvia is one of a few successful female DJs working in London. The co-founder of the online magazine Shejay says that despite the fact there are only a small number of women DJs on the scene, London provides support for those seeking to get into the business. By Jipsa George Sub editor : Edward Lauder
“It’s always been a very welcoming place for me and my peers because it really champions the music – no matter who is playing it. It’s always been about the music in the UK,” says Kelly.
DJ-ing, once considered to be a boy’s only zone, has changed in the recent years with a number of talented DJs and producers emerging in the industry. A survey published in 2010 show that while there is plenty of female artists, the majority (66 per cent) of the people working behind the scenes are male. In London, only a 30 per cent of women are represented.
Shejay, which launched in 2001, was set up in order to promote female DJs, producers, vocalists, promoters and musicians. Kelly’s inspiration towards Shejay was to create a platform to promote and celebrate women DJs who were making moves in their local and international scenes and to shed light on lesser known, upcoming female DJs.
“It served as a place for women to connect with their peers in the field, to learn more about the music they play and love and to promote themselves. We had been meeting many female DJs who were looking for that type of camaraderie,” she says.
Kelly adds that female DJs in the British music industry are not unrepresented but outnumbered. “I think that’s down to many factors, one main one being that for some reason DJing might have historically been perceived as a “boy’s game”- although it’s changing.” Kelly who has been successful in a male-dominated industry believes both male and female DJs have the same potential to be DJs. “I should think that no one would ever think differently,” she says.
But the British music industry is always changing. She feels that technology and access to music means that more artists are being discovered more easily and are able to showcase their music to a world with very open ears. “If you look past the usual arguments about mainstream vs underground, digital vs physical…. these are very exciting times in the music industry,” she adds.
As there are more and more talented women out there DJ-ing and producing, running labels and their own club nights, Kelly hopes to see a day when there are an equal number of women.
“I think that day is coming pretty soon,” she says with a little smile.