Written by Tony Lowe
Photos by Tony Lowe
DJ Selina Style is that quiet girl that is hanging out at the bar. Then she hits the decks and everything changes. She’s full of energy, all over the place, and smashing your eardrums with an incredible euphony of sounds that you never thought could go together. That inescapable sound has kept people dancing in clubs that in others leave something to be desired in our music. DJ Selina Style is the new sound that everyone has been waiting for.
Let’s start off with an easy one, what’s Candy Bar and what is your part in it?
Candy Bar is a weekly queer night at LIVE Ann Arbor, held every Thursday night. The best description of it that I’ve heard is “family night… only on the Island of Misfit Toys.” Some nights we’ll have a costume theme, other nights we’ll have Drag Wars (our monthly amateur drag showcase), and we’ll regularly bring in special guests to perform as well.
As for my part — I’m responsible for the sound of the night, which is a lot of fun because it means every week I get to do some crate digging to fit the week’s theme. And since November, when our party’s founder took a break from promoting, I’ve helped our hostess Deja D. Dellataro with some of the planning and promo stuff as well.
And I know your partner-in-crime, but I’m not sure everyone else does…
Deja! She’s the very best partner anyone could ask for. I basically have to describe her in superlatives, because anything less is an understatement — she’s got serious makeup and costume chops, fantastic taste in music (our tastes are similar, so I might be biased here…) with the dance moves to back it up, and a magnetic personality. From the first time she came and guest-hosted, I knew that she was the only person suited to step in when our previous hostess, Andi Drogenous, headed to New York for the next step in her own career.
It’s hard to pick a favorite thing about her as a performer, but I think that my favorite is that it is crystal clear that she loves the crowd just as much as they love her. Even when she has some fun on the mic and playfully teases someone, they’re always in on the joke with her rather than the butt of it. That’s not easy to do, but she always makes it look effortless. Without her, Candy Bar would be a shadow of what it is today.
What events happen over at Candy Bar? What’s coming up?
So, like I mentioned, every month we have an amateur drag competition called Drag Wars. Calling it “amateur” is almost unfair, since several of the queens who first performed there are now competing in pageants and performing all over! We usually have a throwback party each month, where we focus on music from a certain time period and usually have a costume contest or time-appropriate game for everyone to play.
Coming up this month, I’m very excited that on March 19th we’ll be hosting Kandy Ho from this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Every one of the special guests we’ve had visit from RPDR have been amazing to see, and since she’s visiting just a couple weeks after the new season starts I know people will be excited.
Next month on the 29th, we’ll have a visit from another of the current season’s lineup, Sasha Belle. I’ve loved checking out the promo videos from the show and YouTube performances for both these ladies, so it’ll be cool to see them do their stuff live!
Where do you or have you performed and what is your style?
For the most part, I play in Ann Arbor and Detroit right now, although I’ve gotten to do a little bit of travel as well. Aside from Candy Bar, I’ve started playing for a new party in the city called Hardtop. It’s held at The Shelter at St. Andrew’s, which is like a dream come true for me — every time I’ve gone to a show at St. Andrew’s, I dreamed about getting to play there, and now I get to! I also co-host The Decadence Project at Necto in Ann Arbor, which is where Ayinde Audio and I play a little bit of everything that makes you want to dance.
That’s kind of my style in a nutshell — I love music in just about any genre as long as it makes you move, and I love trying to find unexpected overlaps. Like, when a rock guitar riff and a Timbaland beat combine to make a new sound together, that’s what hits my sweet spot. I’ll play everything from Aretha Franklin to Azealia Banks in a set, and every night is a little different based on what the crowd is feeling. Growing up during the golden age of hip hop, I always loved how samples from one song would get turned into something totally new, and that’s kind of what I hope to do live when I play.
Do you have any big career goals for the future?
I’m relatively new to the DJ game, but I was always the person at a party who wanted everyone to stop and listen to some hot song that just came out. So just getting to here from where I started a few years ago has been a wild ride, and right now I want to keep hustling and see where that takes me. Music gives me life like nothing else can — when I see a room full of people that walk into the club stressed out from work or school, and walk out after a few hours of dancing sweaty and smiling, it’s incredibly rewarding.
My goal is to continue focusing on music — lately I’ve started dipping my toes into the water with producing my own stuff, which has been interesting to learn. There’s a lot of music theory behind DJing, and after you chase that sound you love for long enough, you get an itch to try your own hand at it. I’d also love to do some more touring, and producing is one of the best ways to step up in that arena.
Being in the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor area, are you involved in anything in the campus life, outside of the nightlife of course?
Well, next month I’m spinning for the SPECTRUM Center at their Lavender Graduation ceremony. SPECTRUM Center is the student group for LGBTQIIA-identified people at U of M, and they’re hosting their own graduation party in April, which should be a lot of fun. And I help out as an adult mentor at the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor, which is a teen center doing a lot of cool work for local youth. They have a variety of groups based on identity or interest for teens to find community and explore their artistic passions, and I would have *loved* to have something like it when I was in school.