DJ Suga Shay: The Dubstep Diva.
It’s a rainy Friday evening outside PYT and DJ Suga Shay sits, perched on the high end of a bean bag chair. She sets fire to her Marlboro Light and blindly searches for the ice-laden Michelada, a cervezas preparadas, at her feet. As she swirls the drink with a straw, her glitter-coated, oval-shaped fingernails make her look refined and mature.
At first glance, Suga Shay appears to be a pretty girl who blows bubbles with her gum and LOLs after every sentence. And that’s exactly her.
Shaina “Suga Shay” Robinson is a self-proclaimed weirdo who loves Jameson whiskey, cigs and the night life. Though only in the game a short while, Shay, 23, is the dubsteb “it girl,” one of the most rockin’ DJs in a scene loaded with talent.
“DJing is perfect for me,” she admits. “I suck at getting up early.”
Raised in a single-parent home in Germantown, Shay describes a childhood of options: life in the city vs. life in the suburbs; music vs. art; hip-hop vs. alternative; and neo-soul sister vs. punk princess.
She loved it all.
“I’m like a rock star,” she says, fluttering her eyelashes at the idea of sticking to one thing. “I’m into what I’m into.”
This youthful whimsy and zest for life is part of her appeal. Quite frankly, the only box she’s worried about fitting into is a Serato box (which was one of her first major purchases once she became an official DJ less than two years ago).
Her sudden popularity parallels the blastoff of a rocket ship. The spark came when she befriended producer Mel “Chaos” Lewis. She then met DJ PHSH, who gave Shay her first lesson on the turntables. Dirty South Joe and DJ Regina Gun$ Garcia took Shay under their wings. They formally taught her how to spin and then set her up with gigs, launching DJ Suga Shay’s career. Luckily, DJ PHSH also introduced her to dubstep, the synth-heavy, UK spawn of reggae and dub. She was immediately hooked on its heavy bass and deep moodiness. She promptly amassed an impressive collection of music.
It only took one kick-ass gig with Isreali DJ Borgore and time spent hosting a dubstep webisode series to make her name synonymous with the genre. Now, Shay’s in a rarified orbit: gigs up the ying-yang, including club residencies, and she’s shared lineups with mega DJs like Diplo.
Time moves fast for her and she knows that she can’t stay footloose and fancy free forever, though it’s obvious that hurtling through space gives her a thrill. Her short term goals are simple enough.
“I want to command a stage,” she asserts.