Education: Some College. Hoping to obtain my bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering by December 2010. DJing started off as a hobby and a way to get extra cash. Being an engineer has more stability, as a career.
Where are you from: Being the daughter of an Air Force sergeant, I have moved around a lot. I was born in Germany, then moved to the Midwest, and settled in the east coast after a few more years. To end confusion I usually just say I am from Laurel, MD. My family lived there the longest and I was raised there, for the most part. My parents are from the south and most of my relatives hail from Kentucky, Texas, Illinois, etc. So, I am a bit of a southern gal.
What made you start DJing? (what age did you start) Like I said earlier, I started DJing as a hobby. I had been into music all my life. I started playing trumpet in elementary school; then, I moved on to saxophone in middle school. In high school, I joined Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Drumline & Pit, and Indoor Drumline. I played Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Saxophone, and I played as many percussion instruments as possible. I love the marimba the most but I enjoy the Djembe second.
However, I digress. By the time I got to college, I had a great love of music but didn't have time to get involved as much as I did in high school. I spent the first half of my freshman year mixing iTunes and YouTube songs for late-night get-to-gethers. I saw an ad to DJ at a bar, RJ Bentleys, in College Park and I called it. The guy really liked my taste in music and I started at the end of that week.
I used all my DJ money to buy my own equipment and I learned how to read a crowd, what to play, etc. through experience. Thus, DJ Diamond was born.
Who are you influences? Living in Laurel most of my life, I would have to say that DJ K-Swift had been the greatest influence. She started DJing at this radio station in Baltimore called WERQ 92.3FM. Her creation of club music was unique, inventive, and extremely creative. She would pull quotes from movies, stand-up comedy shows, even the openings of children's shows. She was a trailblazer, to say the least. Unfortunately, she died at a young age.
Although she wasn't a DJ, I would have to say that Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez was an inspiration to me as well. Her lyricism was an inspiration and comparable to not the men of hip hop but the best male MCs.
What’s your feelings on the state of female hip hop? Unfortunately, the state of female hip hop is generally non existent. The only popular female out right now is Nicki Minaj, and she is popular only because she is alone in her category. There are many underground female artists who refuse to go commercial and thus aren’t getting their rightful opportunity. Kid Sister has been out for a while and she hasn’t gotten popular. Even Keys from Baltimore clearly has more talent. All in all, hip hop is misogynistic and sexist. So, I don’t expect too much to change.
What are you goals in life? I plan on having a successful DJ business. I consider success to include expansion, popularity, and funds. Hopefully, once I grow my business, it will be able to run on its own. I would like it to be the most influential business on the east coast, providing entertainment for nonprofit organizations as well as for businesses and corporations.
Tell us something about you no one knows? Well, this is a tricky question. It’s hard to answer without revealing some deep, dark secret. I would have to say that no one knows my former obsession with the Trapped in the Closet series. Even at work, I listen to Chapters 1 through 22. There is a rumor that there are more chapters out there, but I have to talk with Robert if that is true.
What would you tell young girls trying to follow your lead? I would tell them STOP. Don’t do me, do you! Sike!! I would tell them that they should always follow their heart. Only you know what you really want to do. Anything is possible, as long as you are driven and decisive.
What do you do for fun? In my spare time, I take on a lot of sports. In the school year, I play a combination of Co-ed soccer (intramural champs whoot! whoot!), flag football, gymnastics, and now Vietnamese mixed martial arts (Hiep-Tinh-Mon).
Who do you keep in rotation on the iPod? Unfortunately I do not listen to my iPod. The issue that I have is I love music so much, I would not listen to anyone or anything else. In addition to blocking out the world, I would turn my music up really high. Thus, I didn’t get too much accomplished in life and I was losing my hearing. If I could listen to a selected group of artists, it would be Lauryn Hill, Amy Whinehouse, Jay-Z, and some K-Swift club mixes.
Top 5 female artist of all time and why? This is hard!
1. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of album made me a better person.
2. Amy Whinehouse – Her Album Frank is a jazzy, soulful album that was never released in America. Her lyrics bring me to tears
3. TLC – When I first heard Fanmail all the way through, I had to go back and buy every TLC related song ever.
4. Solange – She never gets enough credit in my book. She is super talented, and has always done a lot of writing for both Destiny’s Child and her sister.
5. Whitney Houston – Since we are talking of all time, Whitney is classic. Better than Madonna, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Mary J Blige, Toni Braxton, all of them. She may has had drug problems but that score from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack with Mariah Carey got me!
Top 5 male artist and why?
1. Michael Jackson – For obvious reasons. He is the only person in the world to go “diamond.” I had been imitating him since ABC. I knew the dance moves to every video he had ever put out and I still cry like a baby if I reflect over his life too much. He touched me deeply.
2. Notorious B.I.G. – He made me want to shoot someone. Like seriously, I was a thug. I wore gang affiliated colors and cussed a lot. I almost bought a gun and knife. I was so gangster.
3. Jay-Z – Better than anything or anyone alive. He is extremely unique and original. He started this whole “not writing while recording” thing. It’s not freestyle. He simply writes his lyrics in his head.
4. Big L – Under rated and forgotten. It’s a shame.
5. Boyz II Men – I don’t know if this counts but they will be getting me pregnant in the future. And there is nothing I can do about it.
What underground or not well known artist do you listen to? I try not to listen to underground artists because I get so angry when they don’t make it. I take it personal. A few artists I refuse to give up on are IllProphet, AI Love You, Gordo Brega (is the truth), and Muggsy Malone. I support DMV artists because they are the BEST.
Is it a competitive field your in and why? I am definitely in a competitive field. Since the creation of iTunes and DJ hero and all of these DJ like devices, many people believe they can simply play music and be a DJ. They do not understand the craft. What’s worse is they do not know what to charge. Thus, a bar would allow someone to play their iTunes list and pay them $20 for the night. Also, the business is very shady. Businesses sometimes don’t see the advantage of having a disc jockey over a jukebox. Generally, they prefer to have a male. Not because men are better but because it is a traditional male role. There is actually a lot of drama involved in the business.
What is the best advice you have been given? The best advice I have been given is by a female in the infamous Core DJ group. She said that I have to take myself seriously in order to be taken seriously. The business is a lot of fun and many people take advantage of its hectic party life and endless bar tabs. However, those that do abuse their privileges often lose their jobs or can’t find anyone else to hire them. The best thing to do is be professional at all times.
Thanks again for the opportunity, Diamond
Schquita Goodwin, Disc Jockey
RJ Bentleys Restaurant & Bar
7323 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740
(240) 393 - 8221 (cell)