1883 Magazine

She played for the likes of Youtube, Google, Apple Music and many more – DJ Brittany Sky is truly a force to be reckoned with in the music scene. Having always had a deep passion for music, Hip-Hop in particular, she never thought she could make it as a DJ – until she finally took the leap and started experimenting.

Working at one of the highest rated radio stations, Hot 97, at that time she received invaluable advice and support from key figures in the music industry which include Peter Rosenberg and Ebro, to name but a few. Insisting to do it the original way, she kicked off her DJ career with scratching vinyls, but has now transitioned to using mostly USB’s. Now, Brittany Sky is one of the most popular DJ’s out there, from travelling the world to shutting down fashion parties to playing at a Kylie Jenner event – she is unstoppable and you are guaranteed a great time when she is on the decks. Read below what she revealed about why she was dog sitting Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg’s dog, the struggles she faced in her early career and a secret project she is working on right now.

How did you get into DJ-ing? 

I always had a love for music and both of my parents kind of always played music. I used to sneak into my mum’s cassette tapes, the super r-rated ones. For example Diddy mixtapes, Lil Kim mixtapes and so on. I was working at radio and was always the person that would reference lyrics of songs based on whatever situation. I was in my friend’s room and they were like ’You have a lyric for everything’ and had a couple friends who suggested me to DJ. I was working at Hot97 at that time and wasn’t sure, I feel like music and DJ-ing to them was way more than it would ever be to me because they came from an era when they were carrying crates and scratching and all that. And I thought I could never be that but my friends told me it’s not as hard as I thought it was. There are usually three things - song selection, style and technique. So I finally figured out how to do it and started DJ-ing. I took a few lessons with my friends, for example my friend Matt who was managing me at that time. A lot of the Hot 97 DJ’s would teach me as well, for example Peter Rosenberg. I used to dog sit his dog for him so I could use his turntables. He embraced me pretty early. My DJ-mentor back then is kind of an old soul, he has been DJ-ing since the age of 10. I just begged him to come over and teach me. There is also another person who influenced me to get into DJ-ing, who is DJ D-Nice - an icon who is a pioneer in Hip Hop. He is so talented, one day I was at this party and the American basketball team played somewhere and they won and they were all celebrating. So I’m at this table with all these 7 foot basketball players and they wanted to turn up. And I was messaging D-Nice who was on the decks which song he needs to play next and so on. I was the girl who would text the DJ’s basically. So D-Nice told me I could really make it as a DJ, and I started practising and working. Here I am today. There is more to it, but that’s it in a nutshell.

That is such an impressive story. Speaking of having a lyric for everything, what is your favourite lyric? 

There is so much good music out there, I can’t choose one. Right now, I don’t have a favourite one. But what I will say is that music has had a big impact on me. I moved to Florida when I was younger and went through my whole Emo phase where I would listen to that kind of emo music but then again I loved Dip Set at the same time. The black girls in my school told me that I need to pick a side but I told them there is no side in music, there is just feeling it. That’s when I understood that I knew I could be whoever I want and music was just a mood for me. 

You started DJ-ing with vinyls first, right? 

Yes, that was very important to me, especially since coming from Hot 97. Those guys used to carry crates and I wanted to be like that. I used to watch videos about scratching and all that. And I thought I was gonna do it the right way, that I wanted to do it like that. I grew out of that now, I’m still heavy-handed but it became a lot to carry. But on big stages vinyls are still my go-to. I’m happy I have my turntables now. But I am actually a vinyl-collector now, Peter Rosenberg had a whole wall with vinyls and taught me how to play on 45’s. In the beginning stages of my career I thought ’Oh my god, how do I do this’. So now I play on USB’s and it’s the same concept. 

That must have taken so much practice. Peter Rosenberg seemed to have had such a big impact on your career. 

I haven’t actually mentioned him in any other interview. I used to work on The Morning Show with Ebro, Laura Styles and Peter who is such a gem. And they helped me so much. I grew up with DJ Funkmaster Flex and Angie Martinez so having had the opportunity to work with them is just a dream come true. Angie is someone I admire to this day, and I don’t admire too many females. She has been around for such a big part of music, I have a lot of respect for her. 

Do you think there is still a gender gap in the music industry, the DJ scene in particular? 

Now I think the females are super populated. I’m not mad at it, we are showing boys we can do it too! But I feel like when I first started that was kind of a struggle for me, I had a heavy roadblock. People told me I was just going to succeed because I am cute or I have certain connections. That’s also why I went so hard to learn on vinyl. I didn’t want people to think I can only make it because of my looks or relationships. At the end of the day - if you suck, you suck. There are a few female DJ’s who I absolutely love. 

Like who? 

I love Siobhan Bell, I love Tiffany Calver, there are so many out there. Jada Boo I love, there are so many female DJ’s who I love and there is room for all of us to get it. 

Exactly! But now that you are literally travelling the world, how do you ever get to rest?

It depends, travelling inspires me. I can’t stand still for too long. I need to get out there, for example now that I was in London I am trying to keep aware of what’s going on with music. I’m like ’okay, this is what people move to’. And for example when I’m in Japan I am trying to do research and see who’s popping in Japan. 

Which UK acts do you like?

I love so many. I love Afrobeats, I’m into all of that. But also Krept & Konan, Stormzy, Giggs, Not3s, Dave.

You’ve really done your research!

Yeah, I also love Octavian, his new album is so good. Who else am I into? Well, Wizkid, Tekno, there are just so many people. London has such a great foundation for music. It’s like you go to a party and you would hear Afrobeats, Reggae, Grime, Garage, Disco. I love Disco which I didn’t realise I did. My mum was into Disco and played a lot of that. At fashion parties Disco is all they want to hear about.

What have been your most exciting moments so far, considering you have pretty much worked with every brand out there?

Honestly, sometimes I forget what I have done. Sometimes I’m like ’Ok, this happened and now it’s onto the next thing.’ It sucks but that is why I’m so into taking photos and filming everything I do because I feel like I didn’t have that many photos growing up as a kid. I always go to my aunt’s house to take her photos because her mom didn’t have any. So when I have kids I want to show them what stuff I did and where I travelled. But back to my most memorable moments, I’d say playing in iconic buildings. I played in Madison Square Gardens, I played at a massive YouTube event, I played at the O2 in London, I played the Kylie Jenner Adidas event which was pretty cool. They rebuilt a gas station which was pretty cool. 

DJ-ing at a Kylie Jenner party must have been interesting and fancy. 

It was actually cool, she did her own thing for the most part. She came with her crew and it was very tastemaker-ish so it was pretty cool. I was on a stage so it was pretty well-lit Before that, I did a Revolve Around The World show with the Revolve team. I played Santa Monica pier as well which is a quite big place to DJ. 

Damn girl, you’re keeping busy. 

I actually need to look at my Instagram because I feel like I am forgetting so many things. Where else did I play? I feel like I’m not really highlighting my moments. There are so many other big ones. I did a Little Asia tour last year which was really cool. I played for Google, I played during Coachella. I played for Stormzy in Ibiza, that was pretty cool. But the ones that mean the most to me I can’t think of right now. 

Where has been your favourite crowd yet? 

Wherever my friends are, that is my favourite crowd. Wherever they are, they are cheering me up. I love my friends. I played for Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Playing for her, I thought I was gonna throw up. She is such a perfectionist and such a goddess. She walks in the room and you feel her energy. I’m not the kind to get star struck but there is something about her.  I didn’t talk to her, I was kind of scared. I wanted to give her space. I also played for Swizz Beatz at Bacardi, I played for a lot of people. But I love playing for my friends more than anything. 

I heard you wanted to get into producing as well, how is that going?

It’s actually taking a spin for something else now. But I don’t wanna get too deeply into that. I’m really excited about that, everyone will find out soon. I thought the natural progression from DJ-ing is to get into producing but there was something missing for me, it wasn’t too fulfilling. So what I got cooking up is gonna shock a lot of people, especially my friends in music because they won’t see it coming. If it doesn’t go well, then oh well. It will be revealed soon. 

For the latest on Brtittany visit www.brittanysky.com  or follow her on @brittanysky.

Interview Antonia Künzel

Photography Yoshitaka Kono

Hair Cassandra Abolaji

Make Up Amanda Ferguson

Location Blame Gloria, London

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