“I never thought I could be a full-time DJ or earn six figures a year being a DJ. That is a massive accomplishment for me. The kids picked on me growing up for being eccentric and different. That ‘different’ is my asset today. I was creative and I think that’s what’s made me successful.” – DJ June
Deep in the concrete jungle where fashionistas thrive, dream chasers seek and the streets make you feel there’s nothing you can’t do, and the lights of the vast city skyline inspire and stay lit for party-goers around the clock… small-town girl DJ June found herself immersed in the incredible NYC nightlife in the early 2000s igniting her rockstar quest.
Over the last 16 years, DJ June has used her natural knack of sound styling to fill many NYC places and events with good music vibes. In her early years, June led a team with Paper Magazine and Nylon, becoming one of the first hosts and bookers at Manhattan’s Studio B, and took on the role of Director for Club and DJ Marketing at Muse Box. She was invited to spin parties nationwide and held a yearlong residency at Los Angeles’ revolving party, Big Redd Machine. Some of the elite clubs she DJ’d at included Rex Club in Paris, Cielo, 205 Club, the Lotus, the DL, the Delancey, and Beauty Bar.
Today, June is a high profile private event DJ, all-around creative entrepreneur, nature lover and fashionista who works with some of the best NYC entertainment companies. She performs about 200 events a year, everything from Sephora to a kids birthday party!
June grew up in the tiny town of Scio located in Western New York, where only one stop light, one gas station and one central school can be found. June’s craving to be in the “spotlight” started early on. “I always wanted to be a rockstar, I loved performing and putting on shows for my family. I originally wanted to be a model, I was obsessed with models and fashion. I used to “pose” for my family and put on fashion shows. That morphed into wanting to be a rockstar when I found music, especially alternative rock music of the 90s, I loved Shirley Manson from Garbage, Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love and Hole, Veruca Salt, etc.,” recalls June.
A few years after receiving a Bachelors and Masters degree in Photography in college, June started a vintage clothing business and became a promoter in NYC. June admits that being a DJ never crossed her mind and feels she didn’t really make a decision to do it. It was her DJ boyfriend at the time who persuaded her to try it out with him. “I was terrible at it for a long time. But what I loved about it was putting together the playlist and curating an atmosphere. I loved styling the music for a place or event and I was good at it. I call myself a sound stylist more than I do a DJ. That’s what sparked my interest. AND I always wanted to be a rockstar and didn’t have any musician talent, so I’m sure I was also drawn to it as well for that reason. And I loved the clubs, dressing up for it, and music. ” says June.
As a successful promoter June became the co-founder of NYC’s high voltage Soul Pusher party. “My first DJ gig was at my party called SoulPusher at the Delancey in New York City. Two turntables and a shitty mixer. I was wearing my boyfriend 1970’s heavy headphones. I had a sequence headband on and looked like a hipster flapper from the 20s. Our party was packed with wall to wall people. It was a huge success and I loved the energy. But when I realized that I was hooked was when I was working at a big club in Brooklyn called Studio B. Green Velvet was DJing and I stood next to him watching him all night. I was obsessed with him and in a trance all night. That’s when I knew that I wanted to continue to DJ,” says June.
DJ June says she then got lucky when she met Georgie Seville in the early 2000’s, who was a part of the famous Motherfucker team who put on some of the best parties in the city and became her mentor. Once she started partnering with corporate sponsors and high profile DJs, her parties exploded and she started sharing the stage with celebrities including Steve Aoki, Stretch Armstrong, Ed Banger Records Crew, Diplo, and A-Trak.
Eight years ago DJ June’s career took a turn and she started DJing weddings, private and corporate events for an entertainment company. She found herself DJing so much she made the decision to close a clothing business that she owned and went full time. “I call this the job I couldn’t get away from. I quit so many times and then someone would call and offer me a gig that was awesome,” admits June.
DJ June’s diverse DJ background over the last 16 years has certainly filled her DJ memory bank with unforgettable experiences, but when asked what her most memorable event was, she shared two. “There’s a tie – One night in Brooklyn I spun the back room of the bar. The two resident DJs were these popular twins that had a huge following and threw wild parties. They had me be the special guest on their birthday. People started crowd surfing when I played Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit.’ I was dripping sweat with these two guys on either side of me and the place was packed wall to wall with kids going wild. The second was a similar party in San Francisco that I was flown out to DJ at from NYC. I was a special guest. The turntables were on a plank of wood suspended from the ceiling on a stage. People were jumping up and down, losing their shit so badly that the turntables were swinging back and forth and I could barely mix from one song to the next. These moments were incredible. The energy in the room and people having so much fun. I can’t explain it, but I’ll never forget those moments.”
During her DJ career and the mound of incredible experiences, staying humble and expressing gratitude have kept her grounded and appreciative of her journey. “Saying yes to gigs that I think maybe are ‘beneath’ me or ‘cheesy’ has made me prosperous and give me some experiences that I’ll never forget. I was interviewed for two months as a possible DJ for the National Wildlife Foundation annual Gala and when they chose me, I cried. I try to practice as much humility and gratitude as I can for such wonderful experiences that I didn’t think I would ever have. I believed what people told me growing up – that I was weird and different and that made me feel like I couldn’t do anything. But through being around other people like me, having an encouraging support system, I took small steps to get here,” says June. And with any career, challenges always arise. DJ June says her challenge now is how to stay authentic while doing private events and keeping up with current music. “It’s hard to stay true to who you are when you have to stay within the boundaries of someone else’s playlist. It’s challenging and scary for me to push the envelope at private or corporate events even though I’m encouraged to do so. I don’t sometimes out of fear that I will upset the client. I feel like I’ve lost my edge a bit and I’m trying to get that back,” she explains.
Apart from being able to tear it up on the decks and drop mind-blowing sets, DJ June has other proud achievements. “For 11 years I had a vintage clothing business and was a vendor at the Brooklyn Flea every week for that time. Last year I became a certified recovery and life coach and am working on launching my coaching business. I’ve been sober for 14 years and my dream is to help women build self-esteem and confidence. Every hobby I’ve ever had I’ve turned into a job. Lol. But I currently love hiking and being in nature as much as possible,” says June.
From an oddball-skinny-creative-wannabe rockstar kid to a six-figure full-time Sound Stylist, DJ June is a pure visionary role model. “Stay humble and prosperity will come to you. Doing private and corporate events taught me how to act professionally. It taught me that I had to take this job seriously. Also, mentors are key to being successful. Also, when I focus on being of service to others, my events always go well,” expresses June.