Everyone knows that a party doesn’t jump off unless the DJ keeps the vibe hyped. There is a lot of pressure on the individual holding down the booth. It literally makes or breaks the success of the function or event. Well, this month I caught up to one of the HOTTEST DJ’s in the world to give you a look into the life of a house rocker and party starter. Oh by the way, it’s not a dude. That’s right, the ladies are being represented in this one fellas. Karen Jin Beck a.k.a “DJ SHY” from Glendale, California with Korean heritage, is one of the most highly recognized and sough after DJ’s on the planet. She was the first female on-air mixer at the No. 1 Top 40 radio station in America, 102.7 KIIS-FM in Los Angeles. She spins Top 40, 80’s, pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B and reggae music. She has done it all from entertaining at corporate sponsored events, Red Carpet events, Awards Shows, Concert tours, A-list fashion shows, movie premiere after parties and numerous Casino events. She has also appeared in television, film, music videos and theatrical performances to round out her stacked resume. She’s displayed her talent in places like, Canada, Barbados, Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, the Netherlands, Grenada, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Singapore and in many states here in the US. And let me not forget to include that she is very attractive and highly educated. DJ SHY is living her dream and enjoying every minute of it. Let’s get into her interview by starting things of with a little chant of, “Go DJ, Go DJ, Go DJ !!!”
Tell me what was childhood like for you?
DJ SHY - Loved it! I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and that’s where I believe I developed my creative side. My parents introduced me to music, particularly the piano. Singing and dancing definitely kept me busy. I also remember in Kindergarten when we each had to read a paragraph from a book and instead of just reading it, I would do extra and act it out. If someone tried to copy a drawing I did, I would throw what I drew away and start all over. I had to be different.
How did you get interested in becoming a DJ?
DJ SHY - During college, I was a hostess working part time at the Laugh Factory (a comedy club in Hollywood) escorting guests to their seat. I usually worked on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. One evening I switched schedules with someone so I worked on a Sunday night. Sundays nights are known to be Chocolate Sundaes because the comics were predominately from BET Comic View and African American. It was also unusual from the other nights because there was also a live DJ spinning hip hop. That’s where I was immediately drawn to the whole DJ culture.
Did you get your name from the obvious reason that maybe you are a shy person?
DJ SHY - Actually, the name was suggested from one of my comedian friends from the Laugh Factory. I was the “quiet” one out of my friends there. I thought it was perfect because I do not get on the mic or MC.
With all of the success you have achieved, I know the fellas respect you now. But, was it tough for you starting out in this still male dominated field?
DJ SHY – Definitely! Since back then, there were so few female DJs. There was a lot of doubt and it wasn’t just from fellow DJs but from the crowd as well. People thought I was faking it with CDs. Often, random people would just walk up to the tables and when I turned around to dig through my crates, someone would try to scratch on the tables to see if I was really spinning.
Do DJs hate on one another like artist do? If so, why?
DJ SHY - The one thing that sticks out in my mind was when I spun at a club in Santa Monica. I remember the resident DJ telling me that he’s spun there for several years. I felt like he was telling me this because he thought I would take over his job. I reassured him that as a guest DJ, I would let him spin all the top hits and I would do a reggae set. Unfortunately, 20 minutes before I got on, he decided to spin a reggae set.
I want to let it be known that there are many female DJs out there puttn’ it down. What separates you from the rest of the ladies…and fellas for that matter?
DJ SHY - I think everyone has there own style. From the choice of music they play to the way they transition the songs. I think my style would be my long blends and my openness to other music genres. I like to mix funk, rock, west coast hip hop, 80’s, top 40, reggae, etc. I never turn a request down.
What was your first BIG gig that made you say, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life”?
DJ SHY - My first BIG gig was spinning for Word of Mouth Entertainment on Monday nights at Barfly. An album releases on a Tuesday, so the record label always threw their parties there on Monday nights. Ludacris, Lil John, Too Short, Ja Rule and many others would party there. It was awesome because the DJ booth was set up high towards the ceiling. The only way to get up there is by climbing a ladder. Crowds couldn’t notice the DJ unless you look up. So it was perfect for me starting out. I was a little Asian girl spinning for a predominately African American hip hop crowd. And when I saw them dancing to my music I felt accepted. I was happy that they judged me for my music and that they were happy. This is what I wanted to do.
Share with me your most embarrassing moment as a Dj.
DJ SHY - I recently had to spin at the Velvet Palm Nightclub in Fantasy Springs Casino in Palm Springs. All of the sudden, my laptop on Serato shutdown. I had to stall so when my computer was rebooting, I got on the mic and sang happy birthday for folks celebrating birthdays.
That was quick thinking. Who would be in your Top 5 Dj’s (male or female) of all time.
DJ SHY – 1. DJ AM for his open mind. 2. DJ Eque for her style. 3. DJ SHortee for her scratching. 4. Top Shelf DJ DON P for his mixing. 5. DJ Tiesto for his creativity.
You are a very well educated woman with a Bachelors degree in Finance and a Masters degree in Health Administration. How did becoming a DJ overrule those credentials?
DJ SHY - Growing up in a strict Korean household, my path was already pre-determined for me– doctor, lawyer, accountant or married to one. To please my parents, I obtained a degree in finance and master’s in health care administration, and even started working as a financial analyst for a health plan company after college. Eventually, I took a leap of faith and followed my own dreams. Traveling the world, meeting celebs, being able to spin and be a part of exclusive events certainly beats staring at a computer all day.
Sounds like you made the right decision. How did you get the gig at 102.7 KIIS-FM where you became the first female on-air mixer at the No. 1 Top 40 radio station in America?
DJ SHY - It wasn’t easy. I submitted my demo CD along with my DJ schedule to the music director. I didn’t hear back for six months and I decided to resubmit another demo CD with my updated DJ schedule. Another six months went by and still nothing. Third times a charm, so I submitted again. One day I was spinning at a MAC Cosmetics event. I noticed a blonde girl staring at me spin for quite some time. I asked if she needed help with anything and then she introduced herself as the music director from KIIS. She was there to observe and the rest was history.
Where can you currently be found making the dance floor too HOT to stand on?
DJ SHY - Sundays at MINX in Glendale starting July 13. Mondays at Hurricane Bar in Huntington Beach. Monthly at Velvet Palm Nightclub in Fantasy Springs Casino in Palm Springs. Monthly at the Pines in San Manuel Casino in Highlands. Monthly at the V Bar in the Venetian at Las Vegas.
You’ve rocked the house all over the world. There are too many locations to list, so tell me about your most memorable spot and why.
DJ SHY - It would have to be my first gig overseas in Taipei, Taiwan at a club called Ministry of Sound. I actually performed there with a West Coast artist named Shade Sheist. I was so amazed at how huge the hip hop culture was. They even had bartenders who performed fire tricks with the bottles.
I understand that you have done TV and Film. Give me the names and the actual parts you played in them?
DJ SHY - Most of the time, the role of DJ would be created for me for a nightclub scene.
So, I mostly played myself. Film, I appeared in “Identification”, “Ring of Blood”, “Anna Nicole”, “Float” and “Two Million Stupid Women”. Television, I appeared in “The Underground”, “AZN Excellence Awards 2007 & 2008”, “MTV CHI Rocks”, “The Corner w/Jason Moore” and a few pilot shows. I have also done some theater work as well.
And you have appeared in a few music videos…correct?
DJ SHY - Yes, a lot of videos from Europe.
NIKE has used your services many times over the past couple of years to spin at various events. How did that connect come about?
DJ SHY - A street team manager actually saw me spin at the Laugh Factory. He asked me if I was interested in spinning for a marketing campaign for NIKE. I would have to tour the high schools throughout LA spinning out of a car trunk. Even though I was just starting out, I hopped on it. That led me to other NIKE gigs.
I see that you are no stranger to the Red Carpet. Drop a few names of Red Carpet events you’ve attended or spun at.
DJ SHY - Here are just some of many: Illusions Cosmetics BET Pre-event hosted by Lauren London; AZN Excellence Awards at Royce Hall in UCLA w/Quentin Tarantino, Ron Jeremy, Bai Ling; Kollaboration event performed by Colby O’Donis, attended by James Kyson Lee, James Hong; KoreAm Magazine’s Unforgettable Afterparty w/ Comic Bobby Lee & Actor James Hong; ImaginAsian Center Launch party with Host Carrie Inaba & Actor Russell Wong; Black Eyed Peas Apl.De.Ap’s birthday with performance by Will.I.Am; Dragon Wars movie premiere afterparty; KoreAm Magazine event at the Mercury lofts w/ Kenny G.; Grammy’s after party at the Cabana Club hosted by Lupe Fiasco and Bravo’s “Project Runway” Season 3 Wrap-up party w/cast and crew just to name a few.
Have you put out any mixtapes showcasing your skills?
DJ SHY - I don’t have any mixtapes but I do have a lot of demos. I consider myself to be more of a live DJ rather than a protools DJ.
How do you unwind with such a busy schedule?
DJ SHY - I love to sleep in. Sometimes when I have extra time I’ll call some friends up to go bike riding on the beach, watch movies, go out to eat, check out other DJs, swim, bowl, billiards, amusement parks, etc. If I’m at home I’ll definitely catch up on my favorite shows: Maury Povich, Oprah, Discovery Channel, Cheaters and South Park.
What advice would you give up-and-coming female Dj’s?
DJ SHY - Just be confident in yourself and love life.
Where do you want your career to go from here?
DJ SHY - I’m currently writing an autobiography. My goal is to develop that into a screenplay.
How can the readers hit you up and sample your music?
DJ SHY - Definitely add me on myspace .
You are an incredible woman to have amassed the accomplishments you have in the industry. I thank you for taking the time to share your story with our readers. I wish you continued success in all of your future endeavors. Any final words you would like to leave us with?
DJ SHY - For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.
The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!