The power of one woman can be phenomenal. But when New York’s four hottest female deejays come together wielding the power of music, it’s an unstoppable force! I’m talking about The Ladies of UBIQUITA: Reborn, Moni, Selly and shErOck, managed by partners Kim Knox and DeShawn Ward-Maxwell. Thanks to this amazing duo, New York has been introduced to the movement called UBIQUITA and we haven’t stopped thanking them since.
Holding many titles, UBIQUITA has now transitioned into a lifestyle brand and production company that will be creating content for concert and tour production, theatre, TV and film in addition to consulting with major brands who wish to cater to multicultural markets. They are currently developing their first concert series in South Africa in addition to touring the party nationally and internationally.
In the very immediate future, UBIQUITA has teamed up with Clutch to bring you The Queen’s Daughters: Celebrating Women Who Rock with a Touch of Soul: Honoring the Musical Legacy of Labelle, MAY 10th at the Grand Ballroom, Manhattan Center, 311 West 34th Street, NY, NY. With live performances by Shelley Nicole’s blaKbÃ¼she, Tamar-Kali, and JOI and sounds provided by THE LADIES OF UBIQUITA DJ’s Reborn, Selly & shErOck- this is a show not to be missed!
Clutch reached out to Kim Knox and the Ladies of UBIQUITA to get an inside peek at how they started and their love for music.
Q: What inspired you to start UBIQUITA?
KIM KNOX: UBIQUITA was actually one of those magical things that just organically came together. My business partner Deshawn Ward-Maxwell and I met on the spoken word circuit back when we both used to perform. He has always been a promoter in NYC (Baby Phat/ Low Profile)and we collaborated on an event that he was doing at the time featuring a new cute female DJ on the NY scene named DJ REBORN!! That event went really well and we then started to brainstorm on creating a party that would play around with the duality of gender roles featuring women in these key positions. In addition we wanted to create a space that was “the urban alternative for the soul” featuring the artists we love, the music we listen to and appealing to the taste-makers that we are. We chose the name Ubiquita which is latin for ubiquity…being global and omnipresent in the creation of environments that cater to the urban creative professional. We wanted the party to have a twist so we made it an all-female DJ residency…one of the first of it’s kind in NYC!
Q: You represent the hottest female DJ’s out of NY, in addition to throwing some of the hottest dance parties and events. Have you had any difficulty negotiating in a business that’s male dominated?
There are always those kinds of pitfalls in doing business as a woman. All you can do is make sure that you remain professional and consistent in your business relationships. My core team of people has been predominantly the same since the beginning which is now over seven years ago. I find that the game is not as male dominated as you might think, anymore. It’s a little more even in that women are popping up in all kinds of key positions throughout the entertainment industry.
Q: What advice can you give to entrepreneurs who’d like to break into event planning?
Maintain good contacts with people who can execute every possible aspect of an event. (PR, design, venue, photographers, caterers, production etc. …all the folks that can help to create a flawless image for an event.
Q: How does it feel to be one the top female DJ’s in New York?
Wow, thank you. It is an honor to be considered a DJ that folks seem to enjoy and support! I love being a woman doing this work because it is important to me to represent as a skilled DJ in such a competitive field.
Q: How difficult has it been coming up in a male dominated industry?
There have been some difficulties but honestly I have had more success and joy doing this than problems. Of course, I am critical of the sexism that I have experienced and that does exist but any woman that can prosper on her own terms in a male dominated industry is already something to celebrate.
Q: Are you working on any current projects? And what are your goals for the future in terms of DJing?
I am youth program director at a DJ/music production school called Dubspot, so I am there a lot. I also teach a workshop for teen girls that explores DJing, creative writing, lyric analysis and collage making. Also, I really want to spin a lot more overseas as well.
I have been working on some more sound design work as well as a play and I am really determined to compile a book and a documentary in the near future.
Q: Why and when did you begin DJing?
It was by sheer accident. I put myself though college working in a record store many moons ago. The equipment and music purchases were very discounted for me. After collecting the toys, I used to play music for my family or at my house parties when they were away. I felt like a “legend in my living room.” My ex suggested playing music out. I laughed at the thought but later realized that perhaps he was right.
Q: Have you played anywhere abroad? And if so, where?
Sure. I have had the pleasure of playing in London, Zurich, Spain and Italy and would like to expand my repertoire of experiences abroad to Asia, Africa and anywhere else that is willing to take their hands off of the radio.
Q: If there were five pieces of vinyl that you couldn’t live without, what would they be?
1. Soul II Soul “Keep on moving”,
2. Rufus and Chaka Khan “Rufusized”
3. The Dubtribe Sound system 12” of “Do it Now”
4. Fela Kuti “Expensive Shit”
5. Mariah Carey “We Belong Together” (Just kidding )…. No really, Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the key of Life”
Q: What genre of music do you most enjoy spinning?
I enjoy playing all kinds of soulful music, whether it’s jazz, Afro, Latin, funk, hip hop or house. The music has to evoke emotion and inspire at some level.
Q: What has been your best DJing experience so far?
My best DJing experiences happen when I’m playing in a different city or country because everything is unexpected: the crowd, the club, the sound. There is always a good amount of anticipation, which adds to the excitement. My best experiences include playing my London debut at Gilles Peterson residency, spinning in Japan at an MTV/Puma party with Doug E. Fresh, playing on a small island in the Philippines with a great group of people and DJing for an amazing, dancing crowd in Oakland.
Q: When you are not DJing, what do you do in your spare time?
I teach kids in an arts after-school program and I work on music with the production collective, GAEA. We work on original music and remixes. I also write and take photos for a couple of music columns.
Q: How did you choose your DJ name?
My DJ name was supposed to be erOck* but someone in the universe has already been jamming to this title so i decided since my journey was a unique one along with numerical and personal meaning that DJ.shErOck* was the perfect fit.
Q: I’ve seen you spin on several occasions. Not only is the music HOT but your gear is fabulous. How would you describe your personal style?
Thank you! Basically I’m a post.punk.retro.rainbow.bright.shine.
Q: If you had to pick a record/song to be the soundtrack of your life so far, what would it be?
Wow, this might be the hardest question for any DJ/music lover. One song that forever lives with me is “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson, and the album that has really moved me these days is Charmed and Strange by Yoav!!!
To purchase tickets for The Queen’s Daughters: Celebrating Women Who Rock with a Touch of Soul please visit www.ticketmaster.com