DJ Saige Is In The Mix: Interview
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Photo by Elisa Grisales
If you haven’t heard DJ Saige’s official remix of Coi Leray’s “Players,” then you’re missing out on the rising NYC-based creative. Here, we got to learn more about the driving forces behind her music.
Let’s start with how you got into the business!
My journey in the music business started off with Funk Flex, who discovered me after being tagged by my friend in a photo of me DJing. (I’ll save
that story for another time.) I quickly learned from a young age about business, nightlife, radio and the importance of the craft. I hustled and observed while being around the pioneers of radio and hip-hop. While juggling nightlife and school, I realized how much I wanted to be an on-air DJ. Thus began my career in radio at Hot97, and I discovered my love for the craft!
In what ways did growing up in NYC influence your sound?
A combination of things incubates my love for music. New York City is a vast culture of different sounds that sparked my curiosity since childhood. I started off at the age of 5, being classically trained in piano, which led me to the world of music and theory. That knowledge was the base of what I discovered in my environment. Being a city kid also meant what felt like ‘having the world at your fingertips,’ and I think it was just that for me. It was having so much exposure to it all so young. Music always felt like my second language, and NYC just enhanced that feeling for me. It’s the birthplace of hip-hop and many other genres!
Manicure by Christina Grant. Photo by Elisa Grisales
You’re a woman in a predominantly male-saturated part of the industry. How do you navigate it, and what changes would you like to see to make it more equal?
Being a woman navigating in a male-dominated industry comes with its challenges. It is not easy at all, but I really love the space we are in right now in music. Social media has allowed us to have more of a voice and take our power back. Women in music are killing it right now! We are dominating,
breaking barriers, speaking our truth and paving the way. It has been so empowering to watch and be a part of. Of course, there is a list of things that need improvement, but we have had a lot of growth within the last couple of years. I also think that if women continue to uplift one another and support each other, we will continue to change the narrative of what it looks and feels like to work in a male-saturated industry.
Photo by Elisa Grisales
How do you hone your ear for music, and what artists do you look to for inspiration?
I have been finding a lot of inspiration in my environment and life experiences, but some artists that have inspired me as of late have been Labrinth, Brent Faiyaz and Ayra Starr.
Can you explain what your creative process looks like from the original idea to the final product?
I have been into digital mood boards lately! They have played a major role in helping me lay out my vision and set my goals. I am such a visual learner and creative, so being able to see it in front of me helps bring the idea to life. If I am making a mashup of some sort, I will map it out or write it, start recording and take it from there (on a good day!).
In light of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, what compelled you to sample from Busta Rhymes?
It’s so interesting thinking back to when I recorded the video of ‘Players.’ I didn’t even have the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on my mind when recording! It was such an organic moment, and I think that’s why it has the success that it does. I saw that Coi Leray had just released ‘Players,’ the original, and I was creating my mashup ideas and decided to put it over Busta Rhymes’ ‘Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See,’ and as soon as I heard it, I was like, ‘Ooohhhh, THIS IS IT!’ I posted it the same night to TikTok, and people loved it. ‘Put Your Hands...’ is such a classic record, and I was always a fan of Busta Rhymes, so putting it together was fun and felt good!
Let’s talk present and future. What is next for you, what projects are you working on, etc.?
Present and future... well, presently, I am trying to remain as present as possible, ha-ha! I have really been embracing the love and support with the success of ‘Players,’ all while working on what’s next. I have been hustling at my craft for some time now, and I think this is just the beginning for me. My vision is always expanding, and I see no limit when it comes to my career. I plan to put out lots of music and work with like-minded creatives and artists. I want to continue to produce and really carve out my name as a producer in the industry. We need more women producers in these rooms! Look out for lots of mashup content, original production, and overall a look into my everyday life as a woman with a passion for music and kicking these doors down in the industry!