THE DJ HVNLEE INTERVIEW
What's the story behind your name?
So people are always assuming that all women are super girly and I wanted to play on that in an ironic kind of way with Heavenly. A little while after I needed a logo and a friend of mine was sketching designs for me and he somehow came up with HVNLEE, which was perfect because my last name is Lee. I loved it and ran with it ever since.
Are you from Philly originally? What does the local music community mean to you?
Yup, North Philly born and raised. The local music community means so much to me, not just as a DJ, but also as an overall music lover. The Philly music community is constantly expanding and evolving, but still stays true to its roots with those niche parties and spots that keep older eras and genres alive. It’s a lot of old school and new school being played all over the city which is good to see and always fun to enjoy.
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new mix?
I draw inspiration from music that I’m currently listening to, to records that I always have on repeat. Whether it’s a 70’s funk record, to New School R&B tunes, or even Indie Electronic. Different styles of music have so many similarities and I love pulling out those similarities and putting it together to create a dope mix.
What are some of your favorite types of events to DJ? Do you hope to spin at more events in the future?
My favorite types of events to DJ are the ones where I can really take the crowd on a musical journey with me. I love when I can fully dive into my music selection and not have to worry about requests or people only wanting to hear a certain type of music all night. My party, HONEY, has allowed me to create a safe space for people, but for women and femmes especially. I was intentional about curating a space where female artists and DJs are in the forefront and making waves.
Tell us about your most recent, or your favorite, mix or playlist you've created.
Actually, my favorite mix I’ve created so far is a promo mix I did for the All Love Block Party promo. It’s draws inspiration from The 70s (which is my favorite genre), and 80s. And has a bunch of cool remixes and Kaytranada edits with a little afrobeat flavor. It gave me an opportunity to mix some of my favorite genres together.
Have you faced any prejudice as a female in the creative community? How do you deal with that?
Unfortunately, I’ve definitely had to deal with this quite a few times being in this industry. When I first started DJing, I didn’t really know how to deal with or handle it,
now I think I have a better grasp and understanding of things. Many times people see women DJs as a gimmick for events, so I am creating a lane for myself and other women in the industry so that we’re never in a position to deal with small minded people. I want to change things not only for myself but for other women that come after me. My ultimate goal is to see more women spinning at events where we are valued and respected for our skills and talents.
Do you have any upcoming music drops or events coming up we can look forward to?
My monthly party HONEY is coming back up August 16th and I can’t wait! I feel like I started this party at just the right time, women are running things right now!
What's next for you?
Production is definitely next for me. It’s been a goal of mine ever since I started Djing. I’m constantly inspired by music everyday and I can’t wait to add my own spin to something.
IG - @djhvnlee & @thehnyparty
FB - DJ HVNLEE