Citizen Jane Wants to Break the Glass Ceiling of DJ'ingEXPAND
Photo courtesy of DJ Citizen Jane

Citizen Jane Wants to Break the Glass Ceiling of DJ'ing

Miami Beach Gay Pride week wraps up this weekend with star-studded events such as Friday night’s Women Who Love Women at Score. Headlining the event is DJ Citizen Jane, who's not only one of the most popular LGBT DJs in the business but also a hometown girl.

Born and raised in Miami Beach, CJ, as she’s often known, speaks over the phone from a studio while she readies her debut single. It’s a project she’s clearly excited about but is reticent to discuss details.

“I’m going back to my singing roots again. I am currently in the studio producing my own music. I’m working with one of the biggest music producers right now, which I can’t name until it’s out there. But it’s a little bit of a surprise.”

Though she won’t divulge further info about this mystery producer, Citizen Jane says her project should be released by the end of May or early June — the beginning of pride season, as she puts it.

The roots of her sound are entrenched in Miami’s diverse community.

“It is a melting pot of so many cultures and so many musical styles. Even though I come from Cuban parents, and my Latin roots are already there, you have the Brazilians and the Colombians. You have a lot of different cultural music I got to learn from, which influences whenever I DJ.”

Citizen Jane started out in a folk-rock band early in her career, later transitioned into Mana-like Spanish rock, and ultimately settled on DJ'ing.

“I’ve always liked music of any kind. It’s easy for me to play for different audiences — the mainstream, the gay boys, the gay girls. Everybody likes different types of music. The boys like more house music, the mainstream is EDM and Top 40, and the girls like more the reggaeton and hip-hop. I’m able to transition to different genres whenever I play. I love music in general, and I have an ear for that."

"Citizen Jane," of course, is a stage name, one she earned long ago.

“One of my friends came up with it, I believe, in the fourth or fifth grade. She was pretty smart. I don’t know where she came up with that name, but it stuck.”

Although it's not her birth name, she legally changed it to "Citizen Jane" because of the rules governing social media. Facebook required her to use her birth name, she says, but "my followers didn’t know me by my real name. So it became this whole thing, so I just legally changed it,” she says, laughing. “It’s on my license, on my passport, everything.”

As one would expect, she gets the occasional odd look from customs officials.

“Yeah, they go, ‘Ooh, what an interesting name,’ or ‘That’s cool.’ They always have something to say. It’s become a conversation piece.”

Citizen Jane will make good use of that passport this summer when she embarks on sets around the world, including stops in Asia, Australia, and the famed party island of Ibiza. It might sound like the typical DJ life, but it isn’t always easy for women in her profession.

“It’s always a little harder for female DJs. For example, Ultra has never had a female DJ on the main stage — ever. And there are female DJs up there that deserve to be there, and for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened.
“My whole thing is that I want to break that barrier. I want to be that female DJ that’s up there.”

That drive to be considered worthy of headlining slots alongside her male counterparts is a large part of her push toward the mainstream. That doesn’t mean Citizen Jane will abandon her LGBT following. She’s a top act in a niche market and will continue to honor that as a gay woman herself. She comes from a supportive background that has allowed her to grow into the position in which she finds herself now.

“As far as my family, they’re pretty accepting. They’re old-fashioned, but they have been accepting. It is a little hard, especially with Cubans because they’re old-school. But pretty much anywhere I go, I haven’t had any trouble. I haven’t had any discrimination or anybody saying anything nasty. Thank God.

“I go out there, hold hands with my girlfriend. I don’t hide myself. I’m pretty open. I’m pretty open in my own career. I’ve always been. You’ve got to be yourself. If you feel confident in yourself, everything else will come along with it."

You might think DJ Citizen Jane is a contradiction — she says she's not hiding, but she legally changed her name to keep her identity a secret. But think again. Citizen Jane is her true identity, and that's something some people take a lifetime to discover.

DJ Citizen Jane. 10 p.m. Friday, April 6, at Score, 1437 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; scorebar.net; 305-535-1111. Tickets cost $10 to $15 at eventbrite.com.

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