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Meet Kiana Gabriel of DJ Kianarama in San Gabriel Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kiana Gabriel.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kiana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up as a military brat, so I found myself changing interests a lot. When I was young, I used to do cheerleading, gymnastics and all different kinds of dance and eventually settled with Hip-Hop. I danced with a team called Undeclared and later Emanon when I got to high school (shout out to my dance family for still giving me opportunities now). Once college hit, I started going to concerts and I’d hear djs play, and I’d just think to myself, ” I can do that, and better too.” I was working part-time at a sushi restaurant and my coworker Nick was like, “Hey Kiana, you like music, why don’t you apply for Academy of DJs?” Next day I applied and completely forgot about it. A month later, I get a call saying I was accepted into the program and it basically changed my life. I was about to graduate from CSULB with a Fashion Merchandising degree but wasn’t too happy with my field. I had done a ton of internships/ had multiple fashion-related jobs and I hated it.

Still can’t tell if I hated the companies I worked for or just the LA Fashion scene in general, but was damn glad I found a career in music thanks to Academy of Djs. I started djing in clubs/ bars in OC as well as Downtown LA regularly and got hired for private events often as well. The biggest name I’ve open for so far was Jeremih and it was definitely a surreal experience! When I wasn’t djing, I was doing lash extensions or serving in another restaurant, the hustle definitely didn’t stop. I mean it stopped now because of COVID. But I mean I still dj for livestreams and continue to make mixes to share on Soundcloud for the time being.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve definitely been fortunate with my dj career. I’ve been approached or given almost all of my gigs because of referral or someone saw me at a show and wanted me for their party. Every gig is a learning experience though and even if you think you’re prepared, there’s almost always a new curveball thrown your way. May it be lots of song requests from drunk guests, not having the right cables, or your laptop overheating, it’s a job that keeps you on your toes and it’s rewarding to see people enjoy themselves from the music you’re playing.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My main business is djing. My DJ name is Kianarama and I’ve been called that since the beginning of high school by my friend Dustin and it just stuck with me. I usually get booked for gigs that want more older R&B/ Hip Hop music. I love playing early 2000s and 90s R&B the most; getting people to sing their hearts out and remember songs they forgot about.

I like to play an artist’s 2nd most popular song. For example, if Ciara is the artist, I’ll play Goodies over 1,2 Step.

My side business is doing lash extensions. My lash business is called Kiki’s Lash Service, which is a play on Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service. I got lash extensions one day and was hooked. I kept reading about it, watching videos and just wanted to do them as well. I have two certifications right now and I’m looking into applying to an esthetician school so I can be licensed.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
That’s hard to say now that COVID hit. It definitely seems like there’s gonna be no such thing as djing like before. Who knows when we’ll be able to get in close spaces again with lots of people and FEEL SAFE too. But people love to be entertained though so maybe live streams will become more popular or somehow there’s a way to implement social distancing with bigger crowds? I definitely feel like once COVID is under control though, lots of new venues and clubs will be opening up and packed with people! So I’m excited thinking about the future and the time I’ll be able to see people enjoy the music I’m playing.

As far as the lash industry goes, it continues to grow thanks to science. The products coming out to help retention, reduce irritation and even just the lashes themselves are becoming better every year. I don’t believe that lash extensions will just be a trend, but a staple in women’s luxury services.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Micah Decena, David Chad Yu, Dustin Shepard

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