She's Ready to Change the Narrative of Female DJ's.
Dahlia Keisha Palmer, better known as DJ Rosegold has mastered the art of harnessing the Power Within to Shape her Reality and Fulfill her Dreams in the music industry.
INTERVIEW BY ANGEL NEAL @ANGEL_STYLISTBEHAVIOR
Tell us about your Canadian and Caribbean roots in your background, your upbringing and your introduction into the world of music.
I was born in a suburb outside of Toronto called Mississauga. People mostly know that as being the place where the artist PartyNextDoor is from. I was raised by a very Jamaican family. My dad was in music for a very long time, while still is, but definitely more heavily back when I was a kid. We would spend our summers in Jamaica, going to studio sessions with him. So I was always around music. My brother got into music before I did. His name is Chillaa. He's a producer, he's worked with a whole bunch of people, all over Jamaica, Canada, the states, like all types of artists. And funny enough, I got into music because music started becoming more prevalent in my household physically. Because my dad would bring my brother to the studio all the time. My mom decided to build a recording studio in our basement. It wasn't until 2017 when I was in my second year of university, that I ended up actually getting into music for real. I was in school at York University in Toronto to be a French teacher. That's what I wanted to do my whole life. I had DJ games on my phone that I would just play for fun, and one day I decided I was sick and tired of school. I decided I didn't even know if I wanted to be a teacher anymore. I was just having one of those moments. I wondered if I could get a real Dj controller and actually, DJ. So I did and that's really what started my career.
What are your plans for Rosegold University?
Rosegold University is actually a concept I came up with after I dropped out of university. It was kind of like a pun, like, Oh, I dropped out of university. Now I'm creating my own school. So I first started doing networking mixers in Toronto that were a part of my brand. I wrote a book during the pandemic that also sold out. I recently created an EP that's available only on Audio Mac and SoundCloud because it samples reggae music, called Rosegold University Homecoming. So this was just an introduction to the things I want to do with RU. The next EP that's dropping soon is called Sorority, and it's going to be an all woman album. The first song from that project is coming out very soon. I basically wanted to create a space through music for women to be able to come together and collaborate and create a one of a kind project. Similar to what you know, we see DJ Khaled,Metro Boomin and Calvin Harris do. All of them have done such a great job of creating producer projects and collaborative projects. I just haven't seen it done by a woman on that scale yet. And I want to be that person because I feel like there's space for us to do that. So a part of the whole brand are my sorority house activations. I did my first one at South by Southwest this year, I have another one coming up at South by Southwest next year. So they're an all women concert and a show and an experience where you walk in, you can take yearbook pictures, it's a whole vibe.I'm really excited to keep growing the brand and to hone in on it. And I’m really excited to start releasing music because I've been working on it for a very long time.
Have there been any barriers you've experienced? Or if you still do experience just in general as being a female DJ?
I get asked this a lot and there's nothing that ever really comes to mind out the gate. I will say that I've definitely encountered things like, you know, me, trying to get opportunities for myself and going to network and putting myself out there and speaking to men in the industry and them having a completely different agenda. But I mean that that can happen when you go to the grocery store or anywhere.
How would you define the job and describe the influence of the DJ?
I would say it is a lot more than pressing buttons. I actually saw a tweet today. One of my friends who's a DJ, DJ Hella Yella, he's from Austin. He actually was one of the first people to ever put me on a South by Southwest show. I can honestly say, South by Southwest has literally defied my career. So shout out to Hella Yella.But basically, it was a tweet that said, “ DJs have to do so much more than just show up to a party and play music.
Like there's hours of preparation behind it.” Just think about it, a regular person may go to work and get a lunch break, they walk away from their desk at any point. But as a DJ, you may get gifted alcohol, usually no food and you have to pay attention to the whole crowd. The actual real art and DJing is being able to read a crowd, that is the main thing, because no matter how much you prepare for a set, you could show up to the party and it's a completely different vibe. I think reading a crowd is really the hardest part. Contrary to popular belief maybe nine times out of 10, when I'm going to DJ somewhere, I'm actually not sitting in front of my computer before my set and planning it out. Because I mean, my crates are so organized, that's another really big thing, and making sure that all your music is in order, making sure your music is up to date. There's so many different components to it. The main thing that I think has allowed me to get the opportunities that I've been able to get has been me applying the business aspect to my career. But just because you didn't go to university, and take business courses doesn't mean that you can't now learn how to do those things. So that's something that I always encourage people to do.
There are some amateur Djs today that create a playlist and literally just plug a usb into a system. How do you make use of technology in terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity?
What do humans excel at? What do machines excel at? That’s a really good question. I think humans excel at our ability to switch up the vibe when necessary and create a personalized experience. A machine can’t read a crowd, you can’t look at people’s facial expressions, and figure out if they’re vibing or not, that is something that a human has to do. And also, one big thing between putting on a playlist versus being an actual DJ is doing a live mix and knowing just how much of a song to play. I’m Jamaican, so I’m gonna use a dancehall reference, the way Dancehall DJs play, and the way we consume music is kind of like Jamaicans even just everywhere in the Caribbean, like Soca Music and things like that, too. We only really know the first like, 45 seconds to like a minute of a song, right? Imagine you’re at a party, you’re super high. And then it comes to the point where you’re like, I don’t even know what comes after this. I don’t know what verses after I don’t know if the song ends. I don’t know anything because I only know up till this point. And then you hear the song keep playing. And then it keeps going and then it keeps going and the vibe just keeps going down and down.. I think that’s the benefit of a DJ and that’s what sets a DJ apart from technology is we know when to stop a track, and even when cutting to different parts of the song is necessary. For example, Sicko Mode by Travis Scott, naturally DJs will play the beginning of the song and then jump to verse two, which is when Drake comes in, you know? So certain things like that are where that separation needs to occur.
Read the full interview in the Fall issue of Disrupshion Magazine , here. Also you may keep up with all things DJ Rosegold via her Instagram.
Where can we follow you?
You can find me on all platforms @djrosegold.