Photo by UnratedEbony
Nailah Kettrles, also known as DJ Nolita, is a DJ, producer, rockstar, and creative force from Brooklyn, New York. As an early teen she found a passion for music production and DJing after downloading various programs and teaching herself.
As she gained industry experience, her name began to expand on different crowds and scenes all over. Once she established her platform, she was able to partner up and receive mentorship from DJ Kid Capri. The legendary DJ helped Nolita find management while briefly teaching her the ins and outs of the music industry.
This year Nolita spun at some of the most prominent venues in and outside of New York. Growing as a musician she’s developed a personal genre specialty mixing Hip Hop, House, and Rock Music. Outside of working on different projects, she’s also dedicated to touring with different artists throughout the country. Nolita’s overall goal is to bridge the gap among cultures, sounds and vibes.
What inspired you to begin your profession?
I taught myself how to DJ and produce the start of my freshman year of high school, I sort of just downloaded a variety of DJ and music production programs including Serato, Virtual DJ and Fruity Loops. I studied different genres of music and played around with these programs, teaching myself and memorizing what everything was used for. Once I got it down and created my first mix and got positive feedback, I realized it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and that I was going to build my brand from ground up. People would often compliment me on my taste in music, but ultimately what inspired me the most was the way you can make any sound blend into one another so gracefully, how you can make any transition you want onto the next track and the mix of genres you can incorporate together to create such diverse sounds. I enjoy taking chances with my mixes, and I often attempt to do unheard of things, because that’s the reputation I want to have.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?
All in all one of the biggest highlights, always, has to be all the people that come out to see me. Just the fact that I’ve grown so much as a person and a creator since I started out, I see these huge crowds and people come up to me, congratulating me and i’m just like, wow, they came to see me, these people are rocking with me. I still can’t believe it. I’ve been in the same room with legends both musicians as well as other DJ’s that have told me they heard of me, or have come across my name and till this day everything is still very unbelievable but that’s the girl who went to school to study fashion realized fashion designing wasn’t for her and one day decided to try music not ever thinking like I’m gonna be doing a interview for The Source in a couple of years, it’s pretty sweet. I will never feel like I hit bigger highlights than the last one, in all honesty, does that make sense? I feel like I have crazy expectations for myself. I always want more, so I work harder, get what I want, but then I’m looking for more, constantly challenging myself and questioning myself on what’s next? How can I top my last setlist? How can I grab the attention of my listeners now?
How has your life changed since you began your journey and what are you expecting next?
I have international supporters now, which is pretty life changing to me, I love them. In the near future I eventually want to do an international tour next, I want to show the countries that show me love, the same in return, I wouldn’t be here without the people that support me and spread the word about me. I also want to drop projects with some of the people I really look up to but I know that takes a lot of work, time and dedication and I’m totally ready for it. I’m also trying to do collaborations in other aspects of the arts to show people versatility whether it be partaking in clothing designing, visually directing or creative directing.
What characteristics do you believe are important to have in order to be successful?
One should obtain positive energy always in this industry. There will always be someone or something making an attempt to tear you down and you kind of have to wake up and shift all your energy to any thought that reverts you back to the happiest you. You also have to be self sufficient. Looking for people to do things for you would probably be the worst thing one could do, you have to be able to always have an outlet, be able to help and do for yourself. Being a negative Nancy, and looking for others to do what you can do for yourself could be one’s biggest downfall.
What advice could you offer to those pursuing a career in the industry?
You have to be very dedicated. There are no breaks, I always tell my friends when you’ve finished all your tasks and work pertaining to your craft, find something else to do, think up another project, ask the people what they want to see from you next, literally never stop working. In addition to that, you have to be able to ignore anything that isn’t bettering you as a person because we’re in such a rigid society, everything’s super weird so you have to make your first priority focusing on yourself, you have to have tunnel vision and you have to run with it.
What message are you trying to send the world?
I’m literally trying to show people how far you can get by staying positive. I’m big on spreading uplifting vibes because I used to be a very unhappy person and I woke up one day and tweeted “Good Morning everyone, Positive Vibes.” I tweeted this every day for about two months as a reminder to myself to ignore all and any negativity. Eventually I stopped tweeting it because I would automatically wake up on a positive note, I’m all about motivating people and most importantly showing women that you don’t need anyone but yourself to make your dreams come true.
I want everyone who genuinely wants to succeed and isn’t doing things just for the hype or social media followers, to win. I take my time to use social media as an outlet to reach out to people who follow me and interact with me to tell them to keep moving forward, no matter what. In the beginning of the interview, I mentioned that I came to the conclusion DJing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and that I built my brand from the ground up and go into any situation with all intentions to come out on top.