/  03.15.2022

Since starting her deejaying career in 2018, Chicago’s own DJ Simmy has already performed at one of Chi-Town’s biggest festivals and experienced a missed opportunity most would dream of

“Literally, a week before I was supposed to [open for Doja Cat], the pandemic happened and they canceled it. I’m still sad about it because she’s legit my favorite female artist right now,” DJ Simmy told REVOLT.

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the up-and-comer dishes on performing at the same festival as Gucci Mane and Playboi Carti, dancing on stage with Doja Cat, and wanting to unite the Chicago music scene. Check out our interview below.

What was it like to deejay at Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash Festival?

This is pretty crazy. I was working at my normal job, and I saw they came to do their festival again. I was persistently calling and reaching out. They were a bit irritated with me, but I reached out every Monday at 10 a.m. I thought they were not going to put me on the lineup because I was being so annoying, but they released the flyer and my name was on it. They liked how I was on top of it. It worked out. It was the first performance, and I was on the stage where all of the locals performed at. So, it wasn’t that big of a crowd, but I gave the same energy I would if it was a bunch of people. It was nerve-racking because I didn’t know what to expect and had never been to a legit festival before. The fact that I was performing at a festival was mind-boggling. 

Were there any Summer Smash Festival performances that stuck out to you?

Playboi Carti is one of my favorite artists, and he was there when I performed. It was an incredible performance. Gucci [Mane] was there, and I really pushed by people to get to the front to see Gucci. Nobody was really caring to see him, so I went to the front to see him. Carnage is an EDM DJ and producer, and it was exciting to see him. He brought out G Herbo. I didn’t expect an EDM producer to bring out G. Herbo. That was the highlight of the day. 

The pandemic shut down live shows in March 2020. Didn’t you deejay at a Dojo Cat performance in Chicago around that time?

I’m still sad about this. Literally, a week before I was supposed to do that, the pandemic happened and they canceled it. I’m still sad about it because she’s legit my favorite female artist right now. What goes around comes around. Maybe I’ll get that chance to open for her in the future. A few years ago, I actually met her. I got pulled on stage to dance for her. 

You were dancing on stage with Doja Cat?

(Laughs). I hate to be this person, but I feel I was one of the first people to know about Doja. When I went to her concert, I had my little cat ears on. I told all my friends to come. They didn’t want to come, but they did come. I was the only person in the crowd who knew every song. I guess one of the people who work for her said, ‘You have to come on stage while she performs ‘Mooo.’’ So, we were just dancing together. At the end of the concert, she told my friends, ‘I could tell you were dragged here.’ Now, she’s super big. It’s crazy. This was at Chop Shop in Chicago [on October 6, 2018].

 

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What is the most memorable show you’ve ever done?

I have two. I did an EDM show a few years ago, and it was super dope because people don’t know that I know a lot of EDM music. They label me the ‘Trap Queen,’ and they book me to do hip hop shows. When I did that show, I was getting love from a different crowd. With EDM, when the bass or the music drops, they turn up. Hip hop crowds can sometimes be hard because you have to play the right songs to get everybody hype. The second one was this past January when I opened up for Veeze, a Detroit artist, at The Forge in Joliet, Illinois. That was super cool. I never deejayed on a stage with that many people looking at me. I had to keep them interested in what I had going on. It was an adventure, for sure.

Tell us a little bit about how your shows go.

A lot of people say I play the music they haven’t heard in a long time, or I put them on. I have a way of playing music that keeps people going. I play for everyone. If you do come to my set, you might hear a song that takes you back to a time — a nostalgic song. 

How do you approach connecting with artists?

Everywhere I go, I try to make some connection with the artist. That’s why I am where I am now. I try to send them beats around the time we meet so they know we’re locked in. When you’re just online saying, ‘I want to send some beats to you,’ they don’t know who you really are. But when they see you in person, they’re like, ‘Oh, she’s for real.’ I try to connect when I meet an artist in person. 

 

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Who are some up-and-coming Chicago artists that you’ve seen live?

I’ve seen Pivot Gang with Saba and all of them. They’re super talented. Solo the Dweeb is very energetic. Heavy Steppers, they’re from out west and have a lot of energy. Then, there’s this R&B singer named Jaas. In the next year, she’s about to be on top of the R&B game because her music is so raw to me. Camp Militia is another one. Their sound is super raw. They remind me of ASAP Mob. They’re affiliated with Valee. I’m actually in the works of working with him on music. 

What do you remember about Valee’s live show?

I love Valee’s music. He’s affiliated with Camp Militia. I love the underground scene, and I love to hear music I don’t hear on the daily. He always keeps the crowd hype, and he has raw beats

How would you describe the live music scene in Chicago in regard to hip hop?

There are two different sides. You have your high-energy hip hop artists that are real trap. I know Smino isn’t from here, but he’s Chicago-affiliated — and part of that other side with Pivot Gang and Chance [the Rapper]. That’s the real hipster side. I feel both sides have different venues to perform at. There are a lot of high-energy artists performing at clubs and parties. The hipster side is at a lot of spots downtown. It really depends on who it is. But, I do feel it is divided. I always want to focus on them together. I think about putting on a show where I can combine the two worlds. 

How much do you prepare for your live shows?

I prepare a lot for my live shows. I hate that I stress a lot and get nervous because I care about my work so much. My process starts two weeks early. I gather songs I hear when I’m in the car or ones my friends send me. I do a lot of research. I’m nervous when I talk in the mic when there’s not a huge crowd. If it’s a big crowd, I can talk. I’ll have to write down things I want to say not to freeze up. So, there’s a lot of preparation. 

What do you have coming up for 2022?

It’s a secret. There’s a lot in the works. I am really trying to focus on my TikTok presence in 2022. I have a Foot Locker collaboration coming up in two weeks. That was one of my surprises. I’m just looking to book more gigs.

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