Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Bantista.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up in Greenwood, Indiana, I started singing at an early age. I began vocal lessons as a child and continued throughout high school training in classical music and musical theater. I always knew music was a passion of mine and something I would continue to pursue for the rest of my life. After high school, I went on to study at Columbia College Chicago in vocal performance and graduated with a music business degree. Music literacy, performance skills, producing original music and the understanding of tools required to plan a career in music were all essential for my career later as a DJ.
After college, I would go out with friends and loved listening to the DJ and how they would move an entire crowd. I become infatuated with the diverse genres played throughout the night and the skills it took to read a bar or nightclub. I noticed that at the time, it was rare to see a female behind the DJ booth. This realization was something I couldn’t quite grasp and an aspect of the scene I wanted to change.
I decided to teach myself and invest in a small DJ controller. I spent hours perfecting the craft and my weekends were completely dedicated to learning how to DJ. While teaching myself, I was still in the studio recording, which took me to some of the best cities in the US, including Chicago, New York, Miami and LA.
After one of my first gigs at a pool party, I knew that I had found my true calling. I began playing more regularly while gaining experience and knowledge of the craft. I was recording original music in the studio and working as a DJ at night, which led me to producing. My goal was to be able to produce my own music, sing on my tracks and DJ my own music. I have conquered that goal and continue to strive to become the best version of myself as a musician. It’s been a long and challenging road, but it’s all been worth it. I feel beyond blessed to do something that I love and even more blessed to share that passion with others.
Has it been a smooth road?
I love the quote, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”
This quote is an accurate description of my DJ journey, and my persistence and resilience were also the key.
This journey was anything but a smooth road, but I am grateful for the roadblocks and obstacles.
It was tough starting off. Trying to persuade bar and club managers to give a DJ they had never heard of an opportunity was a challenge.
In Miami, I hit a wall and there were times I thought of giving up. A DJ friend of mine in LA told me to move out to LA and try to pursue DJ work on the west coast. At that point I thought, “I have nothing to lose, I’m going to do this.”
It was a struggle to pick up gigs for the first year and then I started to slowly gain traction. Over time, I gained residency’s and playing venues I absolutely loved all over LA. In my experience, I discovered that the DJs here in LA were supportive of each other. I had not experienced this type of DJ support and am beyond grateful for those friendships. I now have the support from my friends, DJ Jernell Geronimo, DJ Jon B, The Hitchcock Brunette, DJ Miss Ninja, DJ Inai, DJ Moniq, DJ Research and more.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a DJ that likes to connect with the clients and the customers to create a memorable experience. I play every genre of music and tailor my music for the crowd, venue and event that I am performing for. I bring professionalism, diversity and creativity to every gig to set the perfect environment for the event. Plus, I have pink hair, who doesn’t like pink hair?
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The industry and technology are constantly evolving. Now more than ever due to COVID, DJ’s experienced an abrupt halt in their careers. With nightclubs and venues closed, DJ sets have moved to live streaming on various platforms. I think the pandemic opened up different avenues for live music, although they may not be as financially satisfying for the artist. There’s no telling when it will all end or what live music will look like soon. As for now, live streaming has become an integral part of our lives and could evolve into something even greater over time. Although, I feel there is nothing else that can compare to the energy and connection of a live performance.
Baz Here, Alan Davis, Isaak Flores, Luis Lucas