DJ Spotlight: Dre ngozi
No big deal: Dre Ngozi has been featured on Boiler Room TV, Radar Radio LDN, and Noisey and has opened for folks like Majid Jordan, Teyana Taylor, and The Internet. She spins regularly at Toronto functions like Yes Yes Y’all, Baregyal, Dudebox, and High Power, and thanks to her roots in the Caribbean and West Africa, she spins a wicked musical tale of sounds, from “hip-hop, island riddims, and afro-vibes to global house and electronic energies.”
She’s a multidisciplinary artist that this city, and our community, is lucky to have. Her energy lights up any dancefloor she commands and any DJ she spins alongside. She’s like a festival of lights embodied in a fierce and mighty woman. She’s also fly as hell.
Thanks for this mix, mama! We love you.
How did your get our DJ name?
No elaborate story here. It’s basically the condensed versions of my real first and middle names.
Is DJing something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
I’ve always wanted to be involved in music. I’m classically trained in piano and am a former dancer, so music has always been a part of my life. I had an interest in radio and music production/scoring, but unfortunately, I never really pursued it, until now. DJing has become a really great catalyst for me.
We are already big fans, but tell us why this city needs a DJ like you.
Hahaha. I don’t know if they do. I think people are often confused as to what kind of DJ I am, and that’s because my music is a reflection of the many moods I navigate through and because I hate being put into a box. I’m not sure if I’m needed, but I’m here.
Give us three words, verbs or adjectives that describe your musical styling?
Eclectic, global, nomadic.
Weapons of choice (what do you play on)?
I started on Technics a decade ago, then got my Pioneer controller (which I LOVE), but these days I’ve been pushed to get on them CDJs.
DJ pet peeve?
The obvious song requests, followed by “I have it on my iTunes. Is there an aux?” Oh! and people staring at what songs I’m playing ... like, fam, where’s the personal space?
Fave moment everytime you spin?
When you find your “pocket.”
Strangest place you've ever played?
Not necessarily strange, but special. One of my earlier gigs was during the last night of the Black Lives Matter protest that took place in front of the police headquarters. I played on a truck float, surrounded by Black and Brown folk dancing, singing, and laughing. It was basically a dope block party!
My mashup of Trophies and Pony.
How is it being a female DJ of colour in Toronto these days? Have you noticed changes or improvements in the last year?
There are a lot of layers to this question, so I’m just going to say “sometimes tokenized.”
What could we be doing better?
Can we use the term “female DJs” less in promotion of events and articles? It’s exclusive and has become super tacky in my opinion.
How do we compare to other cities to play in?
I sometimes wish Toronto crowds mixed more and there was more freedom to play different shit. I find a lot of the parties can be quite genre-specific and people only want to hear a lot of the same music.
Other DJs in the city that you love?
DJ Dopey, Lissa Monet, DJ Abscvnd, Nino Brown, Shaine Crosbie.