DHP: Donna ,where were you born and raised and how old are you now ?
Donna: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NewYork ....years ago!!
DHP: How long have you been deejaying and how did you get into it. ?
Donna: I've been spinning 19 years. My brother and I would often go to Empire Skating Rink to hear Tee Scott & Big Bob spin. They used to wear me out. I loved that someone could make music continuously flow without interruption. At that instance I decided I wanted to learn how to spin. I would go in the booth and talk with them and watch what they were doing. Thanks to their kindness and willingness to share knowledge
I soon learned how to deejay. Also a million thanks to my brother J.R. for believing in me and going out and buying my first set.
DHP: How would you classify your style of deejaying ?
Donna: I can't say that I have any particular style. I love all types of music. If it moves me I'll play it for the crowd to see how they react.
DHP: Donna, what is your personal definition of House ?
Donna: I don't have a personal definition of House
DHP: Who are some of the DJ's past and present that you respect and have influenced you the most?
Donna: Dj's Tee Scott, Big Bob, Andre Collins, Timmy Regisford, Merlin Bob, Tony Humphries, DJ Disciple and Bruce Forrest are the guys that influenced me most in the past and I hold in high regard. I was fortunate to hear them live for many years, spinning all types of music. Today's are Joe Clausell, Ozkar Fuller, Kim Lightfoot, Keith Porter, Phil D ,Charles Gatlin and Master Kev.
DHP: Who are some of the house artists\producers that you are feeling right now?Donna: At the moment, I really love the productions of Blaze, MAW, Tony Humphries, Dj Spen, Joe Clausell ,Kerri Chandler, Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Dennis Ferrer and Glen Underground. Their product is consistent and can stand the test of time. I can reach in my bin ten years from now and play one of their songs. Artist wise, Kenny Bobien hands down.
DHP: Are ,or were there any artists, that are not considered to be house, that have inspired you?
Donna: This is a tough question, there's been so many. I'll try a few - Earth, Wind & Fire, New Birth, Emotions, Sylvester & Two Tons of Fun, Aretha Franklin, Stephanie Mills and Marvin Gaye.
DHP: Please tell us about one of your most memorable nights at a club, where you were the DJ and also when you were just part of the crowd.
Donna: My most memorable night spinnin was for N.Y. Pride 1995, and Martha Wash was guest performer. It was packed and she tore it up. I was blessed to be on the bill with and a legendary diva. After the show she came to the booth and the first thing she said to me was, "girl you look to young to be playing Classics like that", and we both laughed. She was cool. Part of the crowd moment was at the Sound Factory Bar, Louie
Vega was playing and Double Exposure and Loleatta Holloway performed. The energy in that room was breathless. Louie was killing us couldn't leave the dance floor. When Double Exposure came on I lost it! The next day I had no voice! That's one club I really miss.
DHP: If you were fortunate enough to hear Larry Levan , Tee Scott and Larry Patterson at some of the historic clubs in NYC/NJ please give a short commentary on what it was like to experience them live? If you actually deejayed with them let us know about that too.
Donna: I only heard Larry Levan live once @the Choice back then. I listened to Tee at the Rink and when he was at club Better Days. His playing had the crowd stompin the floor out in BD. I used to pray that old floor hold up under the madness. Hearing him in the Rink was mind blowing because the system was awesome. You could hear it blocks away. The line to get in there was crazy. Tee was one of the pioneers to spin a wide
genre of music and it made me appreciate music I probably wouldn't have listened to. His mixing, selections had you hanging on a thread. When the night was over I'd already be thinking can't wait til next Tuesday night. Tee was a master at mixing live
instrument recordings. That skill as a DJ is hard to duplicate and you definitely can't mask it. Most Dj's have to practice for years to obtain such talent. Tee had it naturally and that's what made him one of the best producers back then. Just an important memory I had and what made him stand out amongst the other elite. I'd rather go roller-skating and listen to Tee instead of going to the Garage or other events that were happening at the time. I chose to go to Better Days also because of Tee Scott, Andre Collins @ Bruce Forrest spinning together. I had the opportunity to listen to 3 of my favorite Dj's in the same room.
DHP: Please comment on the current house scene in NY (clubs and radio)?
Donna: The house scene is holding its' own. With the Shelter party in hiatus we
have to wait to see what happens next. That was the only large capacity, consistent party where you could go to hear today's and yesterday's tunes played feverishly. Eman's Bang the Party and Filter 14 is still going strong . There are a few others, but I got spoiled at the Shelter parties. Expansions in Bklyn and the Warehouse in the Bronx are also contributing to keeping the house scene alive. Radio is another story. Until
record companies sign & promote other genres strongly other than Hip-Hop we have to suffer through it. Thank God for 105 FM. DHP: What about the ideal of House, where it is supposed to be one nation under a common love of the music, where Latin's, Blacks, Whites, Gays, Asians etc. can all party together in peace. Is the scene in NY like this or is there segregation in the clubs?
Donna: I don't think there is segregation. There's a mixture of races, genders and sexualities in all the parties. I haven't witnessed any discrimination as of yet.
DHP: A lot of older heads in NY/NJ are not happy with the historical accounts of the NY/NJ House scene that have been printed . Interviews with key people who were part of the scene was not done. Any comments on this ?
Donna: Maybe the people collecting data on the historical parties should look beyond the obvious legends. An historical event can't be told with out involving all key persons. We're just getting a clip instead of the film. For example, Dj's like Don Welch, Big Bob, Grand Master Flash and Chuck Chill Out just to name a few were instrumental in helping start the party scene here in N.Y..
DHP: What has it been like being a woman DJ in a male dominated business ?
Donna: I haven't experienced any negative vibes. Most people are in awe when they find out it's a woman making them act up.
DHP: If you have experience playing overseas what has been your favorite country to play? What country would you like to play ?
Donna: I haven't played overseas yet, but have been offered to spin in Belgium, Italy and Germany over the past few months. Details are being worked out and I look forward to going.
DHP: Donna have you tried your hand at producing any music.
Donna: I'm working on a remix now, it's almost finished.
DHP: Where can people come and here you play these days?
Donna: I spin at the Warehouse in the Bronx for promoter Mike Stone and Charles Jackson and still hold residencies for Tre's Promotions formerly of Bklyn Cafe.
DHP: Now what does the future hold for you ?
Donna: I hope to be producing & remixing more often.
DHP: I know its hard but what would be your ten favorite records of allt ime?
- My Love Is Free
- Love Is the Message
- Love Has Come Around
- Express Yourself(Gospel Version)
- You Are My Friend
- Wild Flower
- Girl You Need A Change of Mind
- Was That All It Was
DHP: Any final comments or words of wisdom to share with the other heads out there ?
Donna: As a Dj if you love it keep doing it-As a patron keep dancing. God bless. Thanks to my family, friends, promoters, patrons, the DeepHousePage Family and Tony & Frank Cano.
Big thanks to Dj Oji & Pope for inviting me to do their underground radio show.
Shouts to my Dj peeps Andre Collins, Trini, Missy B, MK, Kim B, Storm, China, Tyrone Francis, Allen Jeffrey, Ben Johnson and Lisa Darden.
DHP: Donna, how can people contact you ?
Donna: My contact is DjDonnaEdwards@aol.com
DHP: Donna thank you for the interview!! The Deep House Page would like to wish you much success in life and all your future projects. -Gman