DJ Citizen Jane is one of the most badass, gorgeously talented, hyper-ambitious, wildly-successful LGBTQ DJs in the United States. She slays circuit parties, lesbian parties, festivals and teeming with queer, mainstream and heteronormative audiences alike. She’s fierce.
And Citizen Jane isn’t just fierce because she’s got an intense following (both and social media and in the music industry) but she’s fierce because she’s the real deal. Her desire to play music is so deep-rooted within her, that’s its palpable to her audience. Her authenticity and genuine passion for the art of DJing is increasingly rare and shines through her sets.
You’ve probably seen Citizen Jane at a Pride Party or music festival (or you at least follow her on social media, babes) but chances are you don’t know the fierce force of nature behind the DJ booth. But hey all of that will change, because today, we have an amazing, in-depth interview with Citizen Jane in all her glory.
GO Magazine: So tell us your story? Where are you from and what was your childhood like?
Citizen Jane: I was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida of Cuban parents. My childhood memories are compiled of music. I come from a family of musicians so I grew up surrounded by music. I remember as a kid pretending to be a radio host and making my own mix tapes. I play an array of instruments, guitar, piano, bass, banjo, drums, cajon you name it…and all self-taught.
GO: At what point in your life did you realize music was going to be your career? When did your passion for music first start burning inside of you? Did you think you could make a money off of music?
CJ: I think I was born knowing that music was going to be part of my life… I remember at the young age of 2 already whistling radio tunes all day long. People were amazed that a 2-year-old could whistle tunes like that! My passion for music was always there. The flame has always been burning inside of me. I always did music whether it was with my band as a singer or performing as a DJ. But it wasn’t until one day that I was sitting in my office at work thinking and I said to myself “I need to take a leap and really set the world on fire. I need to follow my dreams and do what I love!!” That’s when I decided to leave my very successful job of 10 years and take my DJ career fulltime to another level. I’ve been doing it full time for 5 years now and it’s been GREAT!!
GO: What was the first project you worked on that you felt proud of? Is it something that you’re still proud of or do you look back at it and cringe?
CJ: The first project I was proud of was my first CD released with my band. Of which, you can still watch the hit single music video on YouTube under Citizenjane “Amor, Expression Y Tu.” It was in Spanish. I look back now and it was a learning experience. But it took a lot to put it all together songwriting, composing and everything else that goes with it! As well as the Reality TV Show that I starred in Telemundo network called “Letra y Musica” that was also a huge accomplishment for me.
CJ: I would have told myself to take this leap and risk and just follow my dreams. Instead of doing it part time and have a daytime job I would tell myself to go for it and do it full time.
GO: What advice would you give young women who want to make it as a DJ?
CJ: I would tell them to be ready to work hard and hustle. If this is really what you want to do, “Go for it!” We need more women out there breaking barriers. Even if they turn you down sometimes and tell you that you can’t do it, just keep on going and don’t stop. For every ten doors that close one will open and it will be that one that counts.
GO: Have ever encountered homophobia in your career? If so, when and how did you (do you) combat it?
CJ: I can’t say that I have encountered homophobia in my career but I know people that have. There is still a lot of work in progress. I always say that “Music makes people come together” no matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. So we have to continue using music to heal the world and make it a better place.
GO: Where do you go when you’re feeling discouraged or depleted?
CJ: I like to drive with my windows down and sunroof open and listen to all my favorite songs that I have compiled in CDs that I keep in my car, surround myself with my dogs and family or just work on new music. But what really gets me back on track is my fans. Seeing them enjoy my music at events and dancing and forgetting their problems makes me feel GREAT!! That gets my spirits up every time!!
GO: What are the biggest challenges in the music industry right now?
CJ: I would have to say that it has become even more shallow and commercial. They focus more on how a person looks and the image that sells as opposed to the talent. I know a lot of people out there that are super talented but they can’t break through because they don’t seem to meet the criteria of what the music industry thinks is the right look.
GO: What projects are your currently working on and please do tell us all about it!?
CJ: I am currently working on producing some of my own songs of where I will be singing and also having guest singers as well. I’m going back to my singing/songwriting roots and remixing them into dance songs. I want to bring in a little bit of my personal side to my music so they can get to know me better and can relate with the songs. I want my audience to know that we are all in this boat together.
GO: How do you strike a work-life balance? How has traveling the world as a successful DJ impacted your interpersonal relationships?
CJ: I am all about work, life, balance. It is very important to me to maintain my sanity. I make sure to fit in quality time with my family, my dogs, and myself because I also need quiet meditation, alone time for me. Whenever I travel I make sure that I get at least an hour or two to do something FUN and enjoy myself. I believe in the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard.”
GO: Where can people find you?
CJ: People can find me on: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat: DJCITIZENJANE, YouTube – Citizen Jane and Twitter. I love communicating with my fans!! They are a huge part of my life and music career. I wouldn’t be here without them and their support. I invite everyone to write to me. I always write back even if it takes me a few days to get back to you.
GO: What is the most powerful thing about working in music?
CJ: The most powerful thing is getting my music out to the masses. Performing for large crowds and seeing everyone respond to your music. The fact that I can reach thousands upon thousands of people with my music and touch them in some way is AMAZING!!! I love to help people and make them feel good. In this world, we are living today: MUSIC MAKES THINGS A LITTLE BETTER.
GO: And lastly, what is your favorite place to perform in the world and why?
CJ: Everywhere that I perform leaves an imprint in my heart because of the special connection I make with the crowd. But performing in Australia was just EPIC!!! Having the opportunity to not only perform but Headline on the other side of the world at the most iconic event Sydney, Mardi Gras in Australia for over 45,000 people in attendance just totally blew me away!!! It went totally beyond my expectations!!