DJ Carisma

DJ Carisma is changing the game…and in more ways than one. The married mommy of one [adooooorable daughter] has not only managed to be a key player in the resurgence of west coast’s hip-hop domination, but she’s done it as a female in a man’s world without being half-naked and using her looks as a crutch. In fact, you’re far more likely to catch the Power 106 DJ in a pair of kicks and a hoodie than you ever will in a dress and some heels, but I guarantee your favorite artist – from Chris Brown to Tyga to YG – will show Carisma a ton more love than you’ll ever see one of these “Instagram models” get.

Fresh on the heels of releasing her debut single “Anyway” featuring Sage The Gemini, Tory Lanez, Eric Bellinger and Mishon, I hopped on the phone with Carisma to chop it up about everything from her forthcoming album (due out this fall on RPM MSC) to balancing being a mom with such a busy career, who she feels are the next big things coming out of the West and more. Hit the jump to find out everything you need to know on the woman Ty Dolla $ign couldn’t wait to show love to and that Nicki Minaj dubbed a “queen of radio.” Oh, and be on the lookout for the Young California x Young New York mixtape coming this month, presented by Carisma, Abby De La Rosa, DJ Amen, Dre Sinatra and Yesi Ortiz on the left, and myself, Drewski, Cipsha Sounds, DJ Juantyo and DJ Enuff from the right.

Marisa Mendez

How “Anyway” came together:

When I first started putting my album together, I hooked up with all of my favorite West Coast producers. The League of Stars were one of them, and they gave me a folder of beats to check out. As soon as this beat came on, it was like, “Whoa, that’s the one!” I really wanted to stick to the R&B format, so I went and got my boy Tory Lanez. He was the first one I showed the song to. He fell in love with it and he laid down the hook. Then I went to Eric Bellinger and immediately, he picked that record. I showed everyone different records and they all picked that record. Eric did his verse, then Mishon did his. Then we wanted to add a rapper, so Sage The Gemini was the last piece of the puzzle. We went to Sage and he laid down his verse and it all came together. The video is on its way. We’re doing a lyric video first with one of my favorite LA graffiti artists, and then we’re shooting the official video in L.A.

What to expect on her forthcoming debut album:

DJ Carisma Presents… is dropping September 29th. It’s going to feature TeeFlii, Ty Dolla $ign, Adrian Marcel, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, Nipsey Hussle and a lot of fly newcomers that I’m excited to introduce to everybody.

What “Young California” is:

We’re like a movement to represent everything that’s new and fly on our coast. We had such a bad reputation with gangsta rap for a while, and it was needed for us to come together to do something positive. Just like I’ve been doing in L.A., DJ Amen has been breaking new artists in the Bay, and one day, he was just like, “You do what I do. Let’s put it together.” There’s at least one Young California member in every radio station in California, and we use it to team up and break local artists. It isn’t limited to music either. It’s clothing, graffiti artists…all the elements of hip-hop. Young California is a platform. It’s been 2 years since we started it, and everyone’s talking about it. Our website has grown. New York is calling, Atlanta is calling, our artists are killing the game. I love it.

How she feels about the west coast dominating radio right now:

I’m so proud of YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Mustard, Kendrick, the list goes on. I’ve known all of them for at least 7 years, some of them even more. It’s so amazing! I feel so proud to see their success. I feel like they’re my little brothers, and the fact that we all joined forces and helped each other and knowing that helped the west coast as a whole, it’s so dope. Seeing them all killing it and getting played in a market like New York – it’s crazy. I’m so excited and happy for everybody.

Being a woman in a male-dominated game:

Being a woman in this business, I saw all of the mens’ egos. I didn’t understand why people didn’t get along, so I wanted to try the opposite. I’m a fun people-person, and I always use that approach with everyone. I feel like I’ve had to work 10 times harder, though. When everyone else sleeps, I have to be working on the next project. I’m not a “model” DJ. I’m not gonna show up in a bikini and DJ for you…that’s not me. I’ll never compromise who I am. Because of that, I had to work even harder and keep it coming, and in the future, I’m gonna have to work 20 times harder just to keep everything going. There’s definitely that division, but at the same time, that’s why the streets love me so much. I’m a girl and I was able to walk into the streets. There’s a lot of gang problems still going on in L.A. and it’s very tied into the music business out here, but me being a woman, I was able to walk into that world and help bring people together.

Her top 5 artists to watch for from the west:

1. L.A. singer/songwriter TeeFlii
2. Oakland singer/songwriter Rayven Justice
3. L.A. rapper Casey Veggies
4. Oakland rapper G-Eazy
5. L.A. rapper RJ

Her proudest moment thus far:

Nipsey Hussle did an interview with Vlad TV not too long ago, and the topic of radio DJ’s came up. Nipsey said something like, “There are people in the radio world that are fighting for the streets right now, like Carisma. Carisma bridges the gap between the streets and radio,” and that meant so much to me. To be recognized for that and especially coming from someone like Nipsey Hussle, I was just blown away.

Cop “Anyway” on iTunes || Amazon || Google Play

And be sure to check out LifeIsTremendez tomorrow for more from my chat with Carisma!