Five Questions With DJ Naz Gurlpower
A staple in Jamaica’s sound system landscape for over a decade, DJ Naz has been steadily building a disc jockey queendom clash by clash. Known as a sound-killer, ‘siren selectress’, party juggler, media personality, recording artiste and mother, DJ Naz has brought her ‘Gurlpower’ sounds to the streets, from east Kingston to west, north and south of the island and overseas since 2009. Her knowledge of the industry is inherited from her family of strong musical icons.
Born Nazaria Taylor to Don Taylor — former manager of Bob Marley – and Joy White, singer of the hits First Cut Is The Deepest and Dread Out De; music and studios, she says, “is a flex that’s always been a part of my life”. Her love only intensified as she transitioned from St Benedict’s Primary and Donald Quarrie High School in Harbour View, where she was raised, as she participated in the beating of desks in the classroom and freestyling the hits of Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot. But how did a schooler’s habit evolve into her means of survival? DJ Naz told The Gleaner that her dreams to enter into the music business began in the field of music engineering. “I had just finished doing my courses in studio engineering when an all-girls sound called Chemical X approached me to be their engineer. Of course, I joined but ended up gravitating to mixing,” she said.
Since then, she has not stopped experimenting with sounds and fostering a sense of belonging for all women and girls who fear what people will say when they step into a male-dominated area. Trust that DJ Naz is not one to back down from a challenge. She’s excelled in many sound clashes, from Heineken Green Synergy and 45 Boom Competition, to Guinness Sounds of Greatness, for which she recently emerged as the winner. Her captivating energy and understanding of sound have seamlessly helped her to segue from behind the turntables playing the beats to in front of the controls making them. Her latest tune, Mad Gyal, shows one side of the iron-willed disc jockey that’s not afraid to speak up and speak out, even if it’s to herself — which she does on the track. With her style, fierce determination and golden touch on the wheels, she is changing the landscape and continues to lead. Here are a few more nuggets of DJ Naz in this week’s Five Questions With.
All your hard work has paid off; you’ve just taken the champion belt for the Guinness Sounds of Greatness competition. What’s next for DJ Naz Gurlpower?
What’s next? Mhm … I’ve always been working, and it’s just more work and going with the flow. Wherever destiny leads me. I aspire to inspire. I am pushing [a] new single, and my mobile dub studio work for all sounds interested in cutting dubplates. I would also love to tour in Europe as a DJ and participate in the top events in that part of the world.
Outside of the woman we see in the music industry, you are also a mother. How do you balance this with your hectic career, and what would you say to your daughter if she wanted to follow in your footsteps?
I have my son Amari and daughter Isabel ... to whom I [have] been playing the role of mother and father from day one. With the hectic lifestyle, it’s just automatic. I do what I have to do with the help of Father God. I don’t know how a man feels comfortable in life not taking care of his own flesh and blood. If Isabel wants to DJ … well, I’m already supporting her by putting her names in my dubs. I’m here to guide her with getting a good education and doing whatever she decides to do musically.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Funniest thing lately, hmm ... I don’t even know. Maybe it’s that all who didn’t rate me start run een now. That funny bad, bad!
What part of a man’s face do you pay attention to most, and why?
I’m not paying attention to any man these days. Man ah problem, but if I was, the first place I pay attention to would be the mouth area. It has to be clean and nice.
What two items would you take with you if you were shipwrecked on a deserted island where all your food and water needs were taken care of?
I’d take a blanket and about four pillows. Just eat and sleep.
If you could repay someone with a good deed, for their contribution to your life or for being supportive, who would that be?
If I had to choose one person, it would definitely be my mother. She have my back from start to finish, and I put her through nuff hell too, but even then, she never gave up. Big up, my mom!