By Isobel Van Dyke
ast your memory back to lockdown one, a time when we were thirsty for the feeling of our bodies being vibrated by a bassline - our ears ringing with the thumping of club music. You may have come across a viral TikTok filmed at Boiler Room pre-pandemic, where DJ Jyoty Singh's slick-mix transition from Nelly’s Hot in Herre, to S!RENE’s It G Hot In Mi Bumper, had us craving sticky flooring like never before.
Singh, a 31 year old DJ who is dominating dancefloors across the UK and is pledging to switch up the scene by bringing women DJs to the forefront: “I have a lot of experiences gathered from the women around me - who I get to call part of my community - that’s where I see real problems with the way women DJs are treated. I see real talent being overlooked all the time”, she said, with her goal being to get female DJs the recognition they deserve.
“I see girls getting booked because they look a certain way...people think, ‘I’ll book her because she’s a hypebeast’, or ‘I’ll book her because she’s attractive’”
Singh started DJing four years ago, when her friend DJ, Jamz Supernova convinced her to play her first set at Bussey Building in Peckham. “I bombed my set, I cried in the toilets afterwards and the rest is history - that’s how it all started. I am a DJ but I don’t consider myself a DJ because I haven’t mastered the craft yet”, said Singh.
Since starting out in the nightlife industry when she was 27, Singh has grown concerned with the treatment of women DJs and the inequalities that exist within London's clubbing scene. “I see girls getting booked because they look a certain way...people think, ‘I’ll book her because she’s a hypebeast’, or ‘I’ll book her because she’s attractive’”, says Singh.
“I worry for the girls who are less vocal, who are timid, who have different bodies and different personality traits. I am passionate about speaking up on behalf of those girls”
Whether attending the club, or working in it, women are expected to look the part. Whether you’re a bouncer, a dancer, behind the bar or even the DJ; women working in the UK nightlife scene have to abide by rules that do not also apply to men - including dress codes which in the case of one club still read “we prefer our ladies to wear heels, to look classy and elegant”.
Just as the architecture of our cities have been designed and built through the male gaze, so too have the establishments that make up our streets. Gentlemen’s clubs heavily outweigh the almost non-existent array of women only spaces. Whilst two months ago, women across the UK boycotted nights out for fear of being spiked, launching the ‘Girls Night In’ campaign in protest. The campaign caused controversy in its own right, sparking the debate around Boys Night Out vs Girls Night In, and how it’s always the women expected to have a quiet one.
Even when it comes to queer spaces - where nightlife is such an important part of our history and culture - there are 50+ gay bars in London centred towards cis gay men, with only one permanent bar in the entire city for queer women.
Arguably the biggest factor in choosing where to spend a night out is the music genre, which limits women again, due to the lack of female DJs being supported and booked by venues - sadly, the average ratio of female to male DJs in the lineups of clubs and festivals equals one to 12, according to statistics and research collected by the editors of Djane Mag.
Women DJs have to tick the right box to get booked for an event, and sadly, ticking the right box in the eyes of a male club booker often comes with consequences. “I call it ‘the usual shit’ - which is sad that I call it that - but of course I’ve had the ass-grab before. It made me realise that if this is happening to me, I can’t imagine what’s happening to my other girls - in positions less privileged than me”, says Singh.
Singh got into DJing later on in her twenties, which meant she had the confidence to be more vocal when these instances occurred. However, she worries for the girls younger than her that are trying to make a name for themselves: “I worry for the girls who are less vocal, who are timid, who have different bodies and different personality traits. I am passionate about speaking up on behalf of those girls”, she says.
DJ Jyoty Singh worries for young girls trying to break into the London nightlife scene
By Isobel Van Dyke