DJ Shacia Päyne Adds a Dose of Girl Power to Kaya Fest

DJ Shacia Päyne
DJ Shacia Päyne Zanah Marie
click to enlarge DJ Shacia Päyne - ZANAH MARIE
DJ Shacia Päyne
Zanah Marie
For any 4/20 enthusiast, Kaya Fest is a must-do. Created in 2017 by Stephen Marley, the Grammy-winning reggae musician and son of Bob Marley, the event offers a combination of cannabis education and topnotch music performances. This year’s lineup includes Sean Paul, Busta Rhymes, and a special guest performance by Pitbull. For the first time, there will also be a second stage, dominated by female DJs and led by Shacia Päyne, one of the many third-generation Marleys performing at the fest this year.

The stage, dubbed "Constance Bubble," is named for a cartoon character created by Päyne and drawn by a friend. “I guess she looks like me, but she’s always got bubblegum in her mouth covering her face, popping,” Payne says of the character. “She’s a girl that never got to experience the '90s side of dancehall, and she wants to have a party inspired by the '90s.” That’s what Päyne, along with her group of lady DJs, will provide. “We go to parties and it’s really male DJs, right?” Päyne says. “I thought it would be cool to have an all-female dancehall lineup.”

Each artist will bring her own flair and style to her respective set, but Päyne says '90s dancehall will be the theme of the party. “We got to make Constance happy,” she laughs. The group includes DJs with whom Päyne has played in California, where she’s based, as well as Miami’s own She-J Hercules of the radio station 99 Jamz. An MC (the only man on the stage) will introduce each DJ, get the crowd hyped, and help knit the whole event together. MC'ing isn’t something Päyne herself feels quite ready for yet. “Not that I’m shy, but I feel like the mike is a little bit intimidating,” she says. “I feel like that’s just too much for me right now. I like making you dance — that’s how we’ll speak. We’ll speak in movement.”

Now 23, Päyne began DJ'ing around age 18 at the suggestion of her mom. “You know when you’re coming out of high school and you don’t know what you want to do?” she says. “I was definitely into music, but I just did not know where to start.” After moving from Miami to California in her early teens, Päyne had begun taking drum lessons and grown interested in producing. Unsurprisingly, music had always been a part of her life — she remembers her father, Stephen Marley, working on songs in his studio throughout her childhood. “That was our lullaby,” she says.

Päyne is versatile when she DJs, drawing inspiration from not only dancehall but also Afrobeat, hip-hop, and other genres. She’s well aware the world of DJ'ing is male-dominated, though her experiences have been largely positive so far. “A lot of my friends are male DJs, so there’s no intimidation at all for me. It’s all family and they make me feel comfortable,” she says. “I’m superthankful for that.” Still, highlighting female artists from all disciplines, and creating sets that appeal to women, is important to her. “I really play to women,” she says of DJ'ing. “I love to dance, and when I go out, I want to dance, so I give that energy out too.”

Getting people to loosen up, have fun, and dance is exactly what Päyne hopes to accomplish on her stage at Kaya Fest. “This will be my first time having a party in Miami, so honestly, I just want it to go smoothly and I want the look to be right. I want to represent Constance right and make sure you notice that girls run this team.”

Kaya Fest. 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-358-7550; Tickets cost $51 to $300 via
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Suzannah Friscia is a freelance arts and culture journalist based in Miami. She has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Dance Magazine, Pointe, and other publications and earned a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism.
Contact: Suzannah Friscia