Interview with DJ Elvira Dominguez – New York, NY

Elvira DominguezJJ: What inspired you to become a salsa DJ in an area that seems to be dominated by men?

ED: What “inspired” me to become a DJ, was to hear the same music over and over again at the night clubs that I went to in London when I lived in England 7 years ago. I became a salsa “fanatic” then; when at that time I met some of the best dancers in London (“Special” Tee and Robert Charlemagne) who inspired me and hooked me to the dance, starting to go out almost everyday of the week.

At that time Latin Business was dominated by men, but things have changed, and are changing as we speak. Actually they are a lot of influential and talented women out there, doing a great job, as good as or better than many men. I do not think good taste, professionalism, hard work or charisma can be defined by genre. “If you are good you are good, if you are bad you are bad” (regardless of your genre).

JJ: How long did it take to gain the respect of your peers and the salsa community?

ED: I have always been respected by other DJ’s and people in Latin business, since the very beginning until this day or at least that is what I think and I have felt all these years. As I said before, people respected and respect me because of my job, and for what I have done and for my contribution to the Latin business. In a few occasions when I arrived to play in a club or an event, someone seemed surprised that I was the DJ, thinking (I guessed) that I could not be good, just because I was a woman, but as soon as I played they smiled and enjoyed the music.

JJ: I have experienced “music by DJ Elvira.” This experience consists of hearing slamming’ song after slamming’ song. Unfortunately when a “Salsero” hears a great song, no matter how much they may need to rest their aching body, they just keep dancing. How many people have you hospitalized, as a result of your awesome music selection? What characteristics must a song possess in order to get added to a DJ Elvira play list?

ED: (LOL) I do not think I have hospitalized anybody “yet”. I think the opposite, I have cured some people of their everyday stress, and when I experience that, makes me very happy. In regards to my playlist, the answer can be long and technical or very short one; I chose the short one, I play “Music from the soul” (Salsa dura).

JJ: You have DJ’d in salsa events throughout the world. Is there any particular place the you love to DJ? Any particular place that provided a very memorable experience?

DJ Elvira DominguezED: I love to play anywhere, where there is at least one person that appreciates good music. There are many places, many wonderful experiences, and many great people with whom I shared the love for the music. I might say that it has been a great experience all along.

JJ: Is there any noticeable difference between spinning salsa domestically vs. internationally?

ED: In the last years the salsa seen has grown greatly in “non salsa places” (places where normally salsa was not always popular, opposite to places were salsa music and dance has developed and or lived since its beginning, (including New York, Cuba or Puerto Rico among a few others). When I first started to play, it was hard to find in “the non salsa places”, good dancers and/or people musically educated.

But nowadays things are different. More and more people around the world are getting bitten by the “salsa bug” and many are learning fast about the music and the dance. For me it is always exciting to go to a new place, because I know I will see and/or hear something different; maybe a dance move I have not seen before or a song I have never heard before.

JJ: Is there any advice that you would like to offer to aspiring women who would like to succeed as DJs or in other male dominated areas of salsa?

ED: My advice? Keep it real!(lol) Support others in the business, do what you really like and remember to have fun while you are doing it.

JJ: Any additional Comments:

ED: I would like to encourage people to support salsa events, promoters, DJ’s, dancers and musicians. In general people are not aware of the hard work that these people do to maintain the salsa community “hot” and going. Sometimes we take for granted musicians, DJ’s, dancers and promoters, and sometimes we do not support each other as a group, and that it is a shame.

We need to buy more music and support musicians; we need to be aware and recognized the important role of a DJ, we need to spend more money at events and recognize the endless efforts of promoters to bring salsa to our community and at the same time we need to recognize the immense hard work and hours behind the walls the dancers spend to put a show every time they are on stage or on the dance floor. And most important…Have fun while we are doing it!

DJ Elivira Dominguez