Spotlight on the Lady: Tracy Young Carries the Female Turntable Torch

by Natalie Raben
04.17.2012

How many women were included in DJ Mag's Top 100 DJ poll of 2011? Ten? Twenty? Fifteen?

Zero. 


ZERO? Now that's just not going to fly. So how and why did EDM become so dominated by boys on the frontline? And why aren't the women that are dropping beats and laying down tracks receiving the credit that they equally deserve?

To right these gender wrongs, we're launching our Clubplanet 'Spotlight on the Lady' series. We'll be taking to female DJs and producers who play in the same disco sandboxes as Tiesto and Axwell. We'll also be speaking with female vocalists to understand firsthand the paradox of having a voice in this industry. To kick things off for this series, we hit up the MIA at Biscayne party during WMC, which featured beats by Tracy Young and performances from , Maniacalm, Nadia Ali , Sylvia Tosun , Kim Sozzi and Jes.

Before she hit the decks, we caught up with Tracy Young, a 21-yr EDM industry veteran, who introduced herself as a tech-house DJ, NOT a circuit DJ, as rumor would have it. We also learned more about her relationship with Madonna and were taken on a trip down memory lane to the ye olden days of the Winter Music Conference.

CP: We know that you do a lot of circuit parties, is that your main focus?

TY: I'm a tech house DJ. I just figured that out.

CP: How did you find that out?

TY: Somebody told me.

CP: HA

TY: You know people are like, "Wow, what records do you play?" and I would name the records and they're like, "Tracy, you're a tech house DJ," and I'm like "Okay, I'm a tech house DJ."

CP: We take it this wasn't your psychic?

TY: No.. I've kind of always leaned towards the European sound of things, mixed in with an American-type sound. I just like a good record, if it's cha cha or circuit or tech house or pop, like I just like playing a good record. Where we are with dance music is a great thing. It really is you know, you hear it on the radio, we're getting the respect that we deserve. 

CP: Go EDM! So dance music is the topic of the moment and we're here in Miami for WMC. How have you seen WMC change over the years? 

TY: I've been coming since '93, and it was a very small thing and now it's just…sometimes I think it's too big. It used to be is a bunch of DJs getting together at the Fountainbleau pool and trading music and talking about music…There was always one party a night, and it was literally like David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Louie Vega - very legendary - it was very American. 

CP: Do you feel like it's too diluted now?

TY: No I don't think it's bad like it's just different and it's still good - like anything that goes popular, you know. It was very underground before but dance music being mainstream now isn't' a bad thing. The only thing that I do miss is the trading of music where David Morales would say, "Check out my track," and we would like exchange music and talk about it. You just don't get that intimacy with DJs anymore.

CP: This is true.

TY:  Pop is popular. Like, that's what it means and it's still cool. Like, I'm popular but I might be uncool, or I'm commercial but it is what it is. But me? I'm a "tech house DJ" 

CP: Haha Riiiight. So let's switch gears a little bit. Tell me about your relationship with Madonna.

TY: Well we're 'having sex' apparently and we're best buddies and we're secret lovers and she's really… No, I love my relationship with Madonna.

CP: How did you meet Madonna?

TY. Ingrid Casaras. Around 1995, she passed on my cassette tapes to Madonna and Madonna started booking me for private parties and just really likes my music. So that started in DC and then I moved to Miami and then it became a public thing. 

CP: So have you collaborated with Madonna? Worked with her? Helped her out with music stuff?

TY: Have I helped her out? I like to think that I have but I don't know. I've done remixes like 15 or so. We're doing some stuff now but I'd have to kill you if I told you.

CP: It might be worth it.

TY: They [Madonna's camp] have been really good to me, I'm grateful for that. If anybody's going to be good to you...

CP: So you're here tonight with a bunch of wonderful female singers. How do you feel about the fact that there were no females in the Top 100 DJs poll? That this is a very male-dominated industry.

TY: It will be. It always will be.

CP: Why do you think that?

TY: It's just the way of the world in any business.

CP: That is not true.

TY: You don't think so? I do. I mean, for me, for a lot of people, unless you're a model or a Bimbo, then you'll have a real good chance of being a majority rather than a minority. I mean it's just that that I've always been the only girl DJ.

CP: Do you like that? Do you not like that?

TY: No, nothing really stops me. I mean, I just see myself as being really likable. And if you get in my way, I'll run you over. I don't care if you're a guy or a girl or dog cat. 

CP: Meow! So what are you working on now? 

TY: I'm working on some stuff… Macy Gray and I are going to collaborate. And Astrid Suryanto and I - she's an underground artist and an amazing singer - we're going to collaborate on some projects. She's the cool factor: she's got the name, the looks, the voice. She's got the cool factor. She's worked with Victor, and Chus and Ceballos and Deadmau5. She's a writer, producer, and she even DJs. Yeah she's going to take my job. I'm actually going to play a song that I did by her tonight called, "To Find You," which will be out on my label soon [Ferosh].

After our chat, Tracy went on to rock the decks, dropping many a sweet beat, including, "To Find You." But tell us Tracy, where can we find you? Up and down the East coast with a monthly residency at NYC's XL and frequent stops in Miami. Check out her full tour schedule here And tune back in to Clubplanet for more female verses from our Spotlight on the Lady series.
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