Creating community with Philly's DJ Aura - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

I’m a big fan of supporting local artists in the Philadelphia region, and that doesn’t always mean rappers, singers, producers, and musicians. It also means the DJs who I always feel don’t get enough credit. I’m happy to bring another DJ in this city who has been a big part of the Philadelphia community in terms of DJing: DJ Aura. She’s been at a lot of events such as All Love Block Party, International Bounce — and if you’re from West Philadelphia, you’ve definitely heard her spinning at community events and places like Dahlak Paradise Restaurant.

In our conversation, we hear about the style of music that made its first big impact on Aura — bounce and house picked up during her time as a military kid living in New Orleans. We hear how she got into DJing once she moved to Philadelphia, and two of her major projects: GTown Radio’s Places and Spaces, which she co-hosted and co-curated for five years, and more recently the Bless Up party, which returns this Friday night, February 17th at 700 Club in Northern Liberties.

Get tickets and more information on this weekend’s Bless Up event here, listen to my conversation with DJ Aura below, and read some highlights from the chat — which also includes a few of Aura’s favorite songs.

DJ Aura on XPN Local

Big Freedia – “Gin In My System”
Dajae – “Brighterdays (Jabair Quarantine Goodies Mix)”
Gil Scott-Heron – “The Bottle”

…on moving to Philadelphia and getting started as a DJ.

I didn’t start DJing until I graduated college. But it’s an interest I’ve always had. I’ve always loved music, I would make my own mixtapes. “The Top 9 at 9.” I would have several tapes and stuff like that. I would spend my allowance on CDs. I’ve always loved music, I can’t really sing, and like everyone born in the 80s, you thought you could rap at one time and then you find out that you can’t. [laughs] I feel like DJing is the perfect place for me because it allows me to be the life of the party without being the center of attention and that’s perfectly fine for me. That’s my lane, that’s the pocket I want to be in.

…on the first time she got behind the turntables.

When I started playing, Serato had just become a thing. And in my mind, I was going to keep records alive. And carrying them jawns, carrying crates up and down stairs got real old real quick. The first time I bought my own records, I played a mini-set at The Gathering at the very end. I did some traditional hip-hop, and being able to see how music affects people and how it dictates the vibe. I knew I was hooked, I gotta figure out how to keep going.

…on she wants to see for the Bless Up party moving forward.

I want to continue to bring in great DJs. I want to continue to create this space where folks feel free, folks feel welcomed. What partying is for me or what nightlife is for me is not bottle service, it’s not dress codes. It’s the music, it’s the people. I’ve got a wish list of guest DJs, but I want us to become bigger and stronger and maybe get a little grown and sexy with it, some rooftop in the summer. And edits, remixes, I want to put out a Bless Up EP.

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