“Some DJs DJ as a hobby and have a day job, though once this is your business you are your brand. My party website, logos, pictures and social media has to be polished. Professional DJ’s spend a lot of money on image, equipment and music. It’s quite an enterprise,” she added.
Never spinning extensively in America, Asha moved to LA because she visited a few times before. Making new connections she says was the hardest part, because the entire vibe was far different than overseas where she built a name for herself.Wanting to make a greater impact on the party scene, Asha got together with another DJ, DJ Lezlee and created an event that would take place at several nightclub venues.
“I promote my own events, so I’m definitely an entrepreneur in that sense. I have to hire DJs sometimes, performers, staff; I have to find the venue, pay deposits so there’s a lot of costs involved,” said Asha. “Unlike most jobs, it’s pretty much a 24- hour gig.”
Creating a party called “Juicy” Asha has managed to gather huge crowds weekly at The Factory Nightclub in West Hollywood, Eleven Nightclub in Sydney, Zuri Bar is Australia and Orlando’s Revolution Nightclub amongst others. Next month the team will takeover Dallas.
When she isn’t DJing full time, Asha spends more time than any normal person buying, downloading and producing sounds for mixes to play at her next event. Playing at all of her own parties, promoters says those that don’t deejay their own event don’t have an upper hand in the nightlife arena.
“They just come in from a business perspective. We throw events and just cut out the middlemen. Part of our success comes from having a DJ point of view. We know what the crowd likes and we know how to make the party epic. You definitely make a lot more money when you throw the party yourself,” she said. “There are a lot more club managing opportunities for women. If you’re creative enough to come up with really cool events that people want to go to then that’s a skill.”
In all of her experience being a party thrower Asha has run into less than a handful of African-American women running or managing a nightlife venue. Jewel Thais-Williams, 39-year owner of LA’s LGBT club Catch One being one of them.
“She’s definitely a pioneer. There’s been very few. Even when I think of the general staff, there aren’t many African-American women that work in the nightclub industry or behind-the-scenes. It’s generally white men that run and own the venues,” said Asha.
For someone wanting to step into the nightlife industry, getting a job in a club and learning to bartend is a must says Asha. “Alcohol is the veins of the venue. You need to know your drinks; how much to charge. I can tell you what kind of drinks my customers like. I know how much Hennessy, Patron or wine to get,” she said.
“Even for a DJ wanting to make the climb, you need to learn the behind-the-scenes aspect of the industry. You generally start at the bar with bartending and managing, then you learn paperwork, ordering and other important stuff.”