Rashida, Artist and DJ
West of the Rockies, DJ Rashida may be the biggest thing at the decks. The L.A. native, formerly known as Rashida Robinson, has worked her way up from a teen playing with a couple of turntables in her bedroom to being one of the most in-demand DJs in the world, spinning for The Oscars, Vogue, Apple, Saturday Night Live, Jay-Z, and, yes, Prince himself. As her chic, comfortable pad in the Hollywood Hills proves, the lady's done good, becoming a global business unto herself. Still, it wasn't always such a sure thing, and even her parents had doubts at first. Here, she talks about her rise, DJing for the camera, and, as we promised, her proudest moment.
How did you get into DJing?
“I always had an affinity for club culture, loved music, and I loved to dance. I started sneaking out and going to clubs in Atlanta while in high school. When I was 18, I bought my first pair of turntables, started collecting records, and spinning at home. I was a bedroom DJ for the first three years or so. I eventually started playing out, and it just snowballed from there. I had no idea it would become a full-time career, but I’m glad it did. It’s taken me everywhere I’ve ever wanted to go in the world and allowed me to meet (and work with) my heroes.”
Can you give us some examples?
“Everything from being asked to open for massive Prince concerts at the last minute to being called out midconcert to scratch along with the band to learning how to be an ‘on-camera’ DJ for MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, Good Morning America, and so on.”
Good Morning America? Interesting. What’s it like DJing on TV?
“I had to learn how to be ‘on’ when the cameras were on me and not in my own world, as I usually am when I’m spinning in a dark club.”
What did your parents say when you told them you’d be pursuing this as a career?
“My mother told me to go for it, but my father wanted me to get a ‘real’ job. I’ve always been an artist, and I was actually in art school when I started DJing, which terrified him. About nine years into it (I’ve been doing this for 15), he finally told me it was clear that I knew what I was doing and he was proud of me. That was one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Got any tips or picks for the amateur DJ?
“Prince always does the trick. His music pretty much works in any scene. The amateur DJ really just has to learn how to read the room — something you learn from trial and error. What may work with one crowd will bomb with another. For instance, the crowd can be completely different from what the promoter described (or even what you expected). I always like to get to the club or event early to feel out the people and the vibe.”
To some, your job might seem like a nonstop party. What would you say to them?
“Well, it is a nonstop party in the sense that it makes it difficult to have a normal, daytime life. Also, being self-employed is a 24-hour job. It don’t stop, ever.”
Styled by Danielle Combs; Hair and Makeup by Liset Garza.
Vintage dress, Courrèges jacket and boots, Noir bangles, Vintage Moschino earrings.
Photographed at The Spare Room, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard; 323-769-7296.