When we talk about all the challenges 2020 has brought to livelihoods, few have faced bigger professional roadblocks than DJs. Takeout, delivery or curbside pickup doesn't work for dance parties. Six feet of social distance channels a junior high dance, which was awkward enough the first time around. Virtual shows are OK, but nothing replicates the energy of a live show, with friends and strangers alike whose highlight of the week is the track currently blowing up the place. Long, hard sigh …
We have a lot to look forward to in 2021 because local DJs haven't been resting on their laurels the past nine months. Their drive to create, learn and share their craft with others endures. Here are the 2021 Dallas Observer Music Award nominees for Best DJ.
DJ Sarah Battle
Battle has been a local DJ for about a decade and is a fixture in the LGBTQ and EDM party scenes. True to her name, Battle has been through a lot the past few years including a horrific car accident and some serious personal challenges. She’s definitely one of the toughest in the city, not just behind her deck, but in terms of being a badass.
Deejay Mike B
Deejay Mike B is a bonafide child of the music industry; his babysitter used to drop him off at his dad’s club where he’d hear Big Daddy Kane, Salt-N-Pepa, Rob Base blasting overhead. He discovered Wu-Tang Clan when he was 13 years old, then in college used money he saved to join a fraternity to instead buy DJ gear. The rest is music history.
A 15-year veteran, Jay Clipp has spun for world-renowned celebrities like LeBron James, Dave Chappelle and Jay Z. He’s also partnered with DJ Spinderella, RC and the Gritz and Erykah Badu. He continues to work on his Keep Spinning DJ Academy and a virtual beat making class.
DJ Red Eye
Red Eye has been a staple of the Dallas DJ and dance scene for decades, including a solid 10-year residency at It'll Do Club. Few, if any, trump his technical mastery, musical repertoire and disco vinyl collection. In this offseason of 2020, if you will, he’s been working on new collaborations with various artists. 2021 should be an interesting year.
Blending genres and eras, DJ Inzo is a staple in the club scene for good reason. His knack for laying old, yet familiar, vocals over new beats is innovative and refreshing. The Dallas native dabbles in multiple brands and ventures, including a dance-mix podcast, Electric Gangsta, rotations on KlubKiss, plus a clothing line, Served Fresh DTX.
A dexterous veteran of the Dallas music scene, DJ Feezy had his first residency at the Slip Inn 20 years ago. He's since become a fixture at Wits End, Candleroom, Barcadia and more recently at Akai. When we asked him a year ago if there were any requests he hoped to stop getting, he said that's just a part of DJ life and it's really about "not being a total jerk to people." So, hit him up!
When your mom is Spinderella, music is part of your DNA. Watching her mom lug boxes of vinyl and turntables to gigs was inspiring for young Christy. She got her first lesson at just 11 years old. During the pandemic, she’s done some live virtual sets. But, If you need a break from life, check out her podcast Jagged Little Feels for all the self-help you didn’t know you needed.