DJ Leecy T: Great! Thank you for asking. Enjoying the summer as much as I can out here in Brooklyn.
SheMovement: Brooklyn…Nice! I’m in California. Very different climate, but can’t wait to visit one day. Out of curiosity, how did you come up with your DJ name? Has a nice ring to it!
DJ Leecy T: Leecy is the one of the many nicknames that my family calls me and T is the initial of my last name. DJ Leecy didn't sound complete so I added the T. It just sounded right so I went with it. It's the only nickname I would have considered! Some of them are a bit embarrassing!
SheMovement: I can certainly understand that. Nicknames are tricky, to say the least. So, take us through the moment when you found out that The Source had named you as one of the 10 Female Hip Hop DJs? That had to be an amazing feeling.
DJ Leecy T: I was very pleasantly surprised. It was really late one night and I couldn't sleep. I decided to search my name on the internet. A few pages down I found the article. I did a double take! It was awesome! I found out who wrote the article and immediately thanked them.
SheMovement: That’s so humble of you. Not many people know the value of “thank you” anymore. So, I’m sure that was a nice surprise for the author of the article as well. Kudos! So, in a world and time where most of us gravitate toward careers and interests that were “given” to us, versus what our hearts draw us to, how did your journey from model to DJ happen?
DJ Leecy T: It was early 2009 and I was taking a break from modeling. At that time M-TRI was doing shows before the release of his album“Max Talkin Real Ism”. He wanted to incorporate a DJ into his set. I had been known to play around with vinyl but I was only good at selecting songs. I knew nothing about blending, BPMs, transitions, scratching, etc-you know the most important things that complete being a DJ. I expressed interest in learning how to DJ and the rest is history! He showed me everything! There would be times where he would show me a scratch, go out for a few hours and when he came back I had the scratch. I became really good at blending right away. I would stay in the music room for hours and hours practicing the same thing. About three months after M-TRI started to teach me how to DJ, we did our first show together at Southpaw in Brooklyn. I would DJ parties with him and we would do shows. Soon after the gigs just kept coming our way. Shows, parties, private events, community events, radio, etc.
SheMovement: Wow. Sounds like the two of you make for the perfect recipe. I love it! Now this is gonna be cheesy, being that it came from a movie and all. But I have to ask. When did you first fall in love with Hip Hop?
DJ Leecy T: That's a tough one. I always liked Hip Hop, but I think “Check Your Head”, “Cypress Hill”, “Midnight Marauders” and “Do You Want More?!!!??!” had Hip Hop and I dating. Then I started to dig for more music and the love bug bit me. The beats, the lyrics, the delivery, the flavor, the confidence, how it made me feel. I was always following my big sister around and she's the one who actually introduced me to hip hop.
SheMovement: I can feel your energy as you describe that. It was certainly a courting of sorts that happened between the two of you. That’s awesome. So, tell me this…How has performing internationally compared to performing nationwide? I’m asking because I’ve always heard that abroad artistry is more appreciated than it is here, and that the loyalty is much more in place. Have you found that to be true?
DJ Leecy T: It seems like the crowds abroad just want to hear good music. Doesn't matter if it's mainstream or indie-they were very welcoming. It seems like here you have to win the crowd over, you have to earn the head nods (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). Over here if you're not a known artist, it is an uphill battle. Abroad, if the music is good to them they are dancing, jumping around, having a great time. They wanted to know more about us and our music. You could tell how much they appreciated it, even with a language barrier. At some concerts we met people who had trouble communicating in English but could sing our lyrics! It was very refreshing.
SheMovement: That's exactly what I’ve always heard. I love that type of energy. It seems that it could be a major ego booster for anyone getting their feet wet in the arts & entertainment industry. I appreciate you sharing that breakdown. I could see it resonating with a lot of readers. Is there anything about your journey that you would change?
DJ Leecy T: No. I believe that everything happens for a reason.
SheMovement: True. True. I think you touched on this a bit in the earlier question when you talked about how much you learned from M-TRI, but if you wouldn’t mind…does the creativity match? Or do you find that you all have to battle to come to a middle when doing your projects?
DJ Leecy T: I would say that we are a great match as far as creativity. It's two sets of ears on whatever music we are making. We each have our own point of view and it works well. We don't always agree on everything, but because we communicate well with each other we come to a common ground.
SheMovement: Communication – effective communication is essential to all relationships, so based on the creativity soul-matching and dedication to producing a quality product, I see you guys are going a long way. The Source got it right! Do you feel music is what you were born to do?
DJ Leecy T: Absolutely. I remember my first gig with M-TRI, I was nervous. I was prepared, but I had not DJed in front of people-EVER! I was pacing, fidgeting backstage. We were announced and the second my foot touched the stage, I was home. It was then that I knew being a DJ was what I was meant to do.
SheMovement: What other platforms do you plan to conquer? As far as movie soundtracks, teaching the art of DJ’ng, etc.
DJ Leecy T: I do work with the Hip Hop Culture Center teaching the elements of Hip Hop. I also teach about Djing at camps for young kids. I am learning more about producing as well. On our new album you can catch me rhyming!
SheMovement: That’s awesome. I can’t wait for that! Spreading wings is always a good thing. What is on the horizon for you and M-TRI, both individually, and collaboratively?
DJ Leecy T: M-TRI and I are releasing a new album, “Monday Morning Music” in the beginning of 2015. We have released three singles and videos already. We will be releasing the fourth and final single, “Trading Places” so be on the lookout for that! In anticipation of the new album we also released four remixes from “Max Talkin' Real Ism” to take you back and bring you current. They are on our Soundcloud page (https://soundcloud.com/mtrianddjleecyt). We have been working on more international collabs set to be released soon. To keep up with everything M-TRI & DJ Leecy T check out our website (www.mtrianddjleecyt.com). We will be returning to Europe soon. We really loved it over there. For the longest I have wanted to write a lifestyle blog with recipes, product reviews, etc. I cook a lot of vegetarian food and people are always asking me for recipes. I may add it as another page on DJLeecyT.com
SheMovement: Thank you so much for giving your time to this interview and to the SheMovement! We knew a little about you before, but now getting a broader picture is great. It has been a great pleasure speaking with you. We look forward to following you as you blossom, and now the fans can feel a little closer as well.
For more on DJ Leecy T, check her out on our Artist page