Elle Dee, DJ and Musician
You can keep your sullen models and socialites standing behind the DJ booth while selecting songs off their iPhones. We'll pick Elle Dee every time. Not only does the striking 29-year-old, Brazilian-born New Yorker have enough style to put most off-duty models to shame, but she's got some serious music chops. A background in drumming provided her with a knack for the beat, and her visual and audial taste has helped her land gigs spinning for some of the best NY spots — The Boom Boom Room, The Electric Room, Le Bain — and as an opener for The Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Guns N’ Roses, Courtney Love, and others. We shared a drink with the DJ and talked about her rapid rise, what she loves about her job, and how to pick the right music.
So, how did you wind up being the cool scene's DJ of choice?
“It was definitely not planned at all. I always loved music and started to play instruments at a very young age. The DJing came later on, first only for fun at friends’ parties and apartments back in São Paulo. Once I was in NY, it seemed like a great way to make money and meet people. I never expected to fall in love with it as much, or that it would be my career for so many years.”
Well, in that case, when did you know it would be a career for you? When did you “fall in love”?
“I feel like it was the first time that I had a packed dance floor. I actually remember the exact moment when it first happened. Seeing every person in the room having a good time — dancing with their hands up, smiling, and looking at me — that moment is still priceless. Also, working with all these great people — from clients to other DJs — and getting to learn with them everyday makes all the hard work, all the late nights worth it.”
Well, to some, your job might not seem like work.
“Try following me around for a week, and then judge! It’s a lot of work. You’re inside the party, sure — but it’s work (especially when you do it four or five nights a week!). There’s also the music research, emailing, and all of that during the day, which people tend to forget.”
And a lot of late nights followed by early mornings.
“Yeah, it happens all the time! When I know I have an early morning the next day, I just take it easy. Try to sit down and chill as much as I can — no dancing and running around! I also don’t drink any alcohol — just lots of water.”
Finally, do you have any tips for picking the perfect track?
“There are a few elements that you must take into consideration if you want to get the party going! The biggest one is the bass. When you hit it right, it’s only natural that people will start to move around. A good vocal is also very important. But, of course, it all depends on who is on your dance floor. Know your crowd. Try to think like they do; then, you’ll play what they want to hear.”
Styled by Lauren Edelstein; Hair and Makeup by Bethany Brill.
Vintage YSL blazer; Calvin Klein tee; Topshop shorts; Wolford tights; Chanel booties; Christian Louboutin Mina Clutch, $1,895, available at Christian Louboutin; Mawi Teardrop Crystal Watchstrap Bracelet, $695, available at Mawi.