DJ Dawna Montell Talks White Party 2012, Melissa Etheridge and Tracy Lords
DJ Dawna Montell opens up about her rich and robust DJ career. One of the biggest DJs in L.A. with a residency at SBE’s The Abbey in West Hollywood, Ms. Montell dominates West Coast night life. Although she’s played many gigs internationally for all types of crowds, she hasn’t ever spun for Jeffrey Sankers’ White Party. A big dream for the legendary DJ is about to become reality this April 9th in Palm Springs, CA. DJ Dawna Montell will command the decks during the epic Sunday SPLASH! Pool Party on April 8th, 2012.
As she prepares for the long-awaited gig, we sat down with Montell to see what’s in store for the event as well as her surging career on the scene.
So how did DJing all begin for you?
It basically started by having an interest in music from an early age. My first nightclub experience was when I was 17. I used to go to some nightclubs in Orange County. I asked around to find someone to teach me how to DJ. Nobody wanted to help me back in 1977. They all said that no nightclub owner or promoter would ever hire a female DJ. Back then, I wasn’t even allowed to come into some nightclubs because my buttons were on the wrong side. It really was a different world.
I used to go to this club in Pamona called “Robbies.” I’d stand at the DJ booth and the manager Chuck asked me one night, “Hey, we’re getting ready to do a ladies night. Do you want to DJ here?” I told him that I did not know how. He actually taught me to play by ear. I was 20 years old and I actually didn’t even learn or know about BPM until about 7 years later. Eventually, they found out I wasn’t 21, so I lost that DJ gig.
I kept looking for gigs and evolved as a DJ. I used to spin in between Melissa Etheridge’s sets, before she was famous, where she was originally discovered, at The Que Sera Sera in Long Beach.
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I ultimately worked all the clubs in Long Beach. When Robin Gans and Sandy Sachs started Girlbar in Los Angeles, I used to drive up and beg them for gigs. Sandy is the first promoter to give me a shot at playing for the boys. I’ve been DJing in Southern California for 3 decades now…and never worked a White Party yet!