Tucked on a tiny street in Germantown is G-Town Radio where, on any given Sunday, Shawanda Spivey morphs into DJ Aura and sits on the hostess side of things to interview local acts and up and coming names for the internet airwaves. Places and Spaces, Aura’s online radio show for 1.5 years, is one of the major channels through which this talented, underground deejay showcases her varied music tastes as well as her love for the art of mixing a well-balanced groove for her listeners.
Aura has been in the deejay circuit since 2006 when she first took on spinning at local parties after graduating from Temple University. I initially heard a mix from this lady deejay via a link to her “A Taste of Power” mixtape on Soundcloud. With music from local producer, Suzi Analogue and Philly deejay, Jazzy Jeff and further laced with indie hip-hop tracks heavy with electronic beats and girl-power raunch (like my personal favorite, Likwuid’s Camel Toe), “A Taste of Power” maintains a chill flow that is both nostalgic and worldly, demanding a bounce and head nod from listeners who appreciate a deviation from the radio norm.
A self-proclaimed music snob whose music tastes tend to gravitate towards more soulful house and indie grooves, she admits she can’t always be a “purist” and will occasionally indulge in some “guilty pleasures” and radio ratchetness to please her crowd. A closet fan of popular hip hop artists Drake, 2 Chainz, and working on Trinidad James, Aura’s ability to incorporate popular urban music in her sets enables her to create what she considers a well-rounded party for her audience.
To keep abreast of what’s hot, Aura says she still listens to the radio, surfs music blogs, frequents clubs and learns from watching other area deejays. She gives props to the radio jocks, DJ Damage and Diamond Kutz and says that her favorite time to listen to their on-air sets is during holiday weekends when good-time hits from the New-Jack 90’s all the way to the trap-music present are plentiful and the parties are nonstop because of it. She also tips her hat to fellow lady deejay, AfroDJiak (also featured in this series), who helped her get started by taking her to Armand’s to show her what she needed to build her music biz.
In addition to her mixtapes and radio show, you can also find Aura on the nightclub grind. Whether it’s pumping up the volume for real hip-hop heads or turning up dancefloors for divas in drag, Aura is ready with a Mac packed with rhythmic crowd-pleasers. When talking about some of her favorite folks to spin for, she includes her friends in the Gayborhood. With experience spinning for such parties as STASH at Woody’s, Sexy Beast at The Treehouse, and a variety of shows at TABU, paired with deep respect for the community’s appreciation for good music, Aura jokingly coins herself as the “black Lady Gaga.”
“It’s fun…I mean, music is such a big part of that community. Music, dancing, vogue-ing is, like, such a big part of the culture. Like when people come out to a party [in the Gayborhood], it’s understood: ‘I’m ready to get down.’ And they know their music, you know—and I like that because I like a challenge,” Aura dishes when talking about how she keeps the party poppin’ at the bars between 11th and 13th Streets.
Want more Aura? Follow her @DJAura360 and def check out Places and Spaces every Sunday from 6pm-8pm at GTownRadio.com. You can also check out her latest mixtape “Electric Gems” on Aura’s Podcast. Lastly, look out for Aura’s follow-up to the mixtape of femme classics with “A Taste of Power, Part 2″ coming soon. But this Friday night, join Aura as she celebrates her birthday by spinning the opening set at Silk City‘s monthly MIGHTY# party and spreading the only love you’ll get from this motley crew of Heartbreaker deejays.