DJ Crystal Anasazi hails from New England, but after five years has truly become a Miami legend. We recently caught up with the industry veteran to talk about teaching partygoers in Costa Rica all about our beloved Pitbull, sipping champagne with Christina Aguilera, and bonding with other local DJ’s.
Tell us about your journey from Worcester, Massachusetts to Miami.
To put it simply, it's the fulfillment of a lifelong dream I never knew was possible. When I started DJ-ing over a decade ago in central Massachusetts, I didn't think of it as a career choice, even though I was really into making beats. I just loved to play great music and make mix tapes. Back then, I did the regular 9-to-5 corporate lifestyle but all my spare time and money was spent crate-digging at record stores for unique vinyl. I catered to break dancers and my very first club gig was in May of 2000. While studying audio production in Boston, I also promoted the biggest underground dance parties in New England from Boston to New York. No party was too far for me, which is how I ended up here in Miami at the Winter Music Conference and had a condo lease signed within a week. It's now been five years since I moved.
What have you been most proud of throughout your career?
I'm most proud of my self-awareness and strength. A couple years ago when I was the resident DJ at the Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive, I found myself in a pinnacle moment drinking champagne with Christina Aguilera on the roof at 5:15 a.m., watching the sun rise over the Atlantic. At that moment, I gazed out into the ocean thinking of how surreal life seemed, but I accredit that night of celebration to years of tireless, fearless passion and persistence.
What do you think about the other DJ's on the Miami scene? Is it a close knit group?
I'm friends with a lot of other DJ's on the scene. You'd be surprised how humble and nice most of them really are! DJ Irie, for example, is the sweetest guy and many of the DJ's he represents with Artist Related are also very cool down-to-earth people. The DJ's I know who have longevity, including myself, are completely self-taught and hard working intelligent people. No one is going to hold your hand to make you a star, but if you earn your merits and hold your own weight then you can easily receive mutual respect in the business.
Do you bring a bit of Miami to your international gigs?
Playing in another country is an amazing experience. For example, when I got booked to play at Club Oblique in San Jose, Costa Rica, I immediately started doing research on their local radio stations - out of curiosity. It's interesting to discover how different we are culturally. My first night there, I talked to a lot of locals about music, and was shocked when I couldn't find one person who had heard of Pitbull. So, I decided to sneak in a taste of that Miami style into my set. They loved it! It's great to be able to use music as a way to connect with people in unique ways. Aside from that, the country is absolutely gorgeous and the hospitality was the best.
What does a night with you on deck look like?
Expect the unexpected. I've seen and done it all - small celebrity gatherings, private celebrity receptions, fashion shows, yacht parties, nightclubs, upscale lounges, special theme parties. Music is like fashion; style is only relevant to the moment. I prefer to play house music that's best suited for big clubs, but that doesn't mean that I force it where it's not appropriate. Music that works in a big room is very different from what I'd play in a smaller, more intimate venue. I love having a variety of gigs so that I get to experience playing a full spectrum of music, from deep and funky to loud and crazy. In either case, I can guarantee smooth mixes and an elevated experience.
Any big plans for the future?
Absolutely. At the moment, I'm just focused on writing, singing, and producing original tracks that I can perform live. The album will take a little while to finish, but I have the right channels to get it out when the time is right. My plan is to hit the distribution hard and set up a tour in Europe.
Catch DJ Crystal Anasazi on Fridays at Gemma Lounge, 529 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 305-534-3662 and on Saturdays at B Bar at The Betsy Hotel, 1440 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-531-3934. Visit her website at www.CrystalAnasazi.com
DJ Crystal Anasazi