Meet the DJ
Ohio-based DJ Day-na, real name Dayna Solomon, spent her youth as an “Air Force brat” moving from town to town every two to three years. When she eventually settled in one place for college Dayna started hanging out with the group of DJs who regularly played at campus events, local clubs and bars. After attending their gigs, where she spent countless hours on the dance-floor, she became curious to experience life behind the turntables.
“When the owner of the local mobile DJ company asked if I’d be interested in giving it a shot, I eagerly accepted his invitation!” Dayna enthuses. “I thought DJing would be a good fit because I love entertaining people, I love music, and the dance-floor is my best friend. My first time behind the 1s & 2s was such a thrilling experience; the vibe of the crowd combined with the beats of the music created this powerful energy in the room and inside of me.”
It was at this moment that Dayna knew she needed a DJ name, eventually opting for ‘DJ Day-na’, keeping things simple but effective. Now based in Ohio – where she provides a service covering Southwest Ohio, Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus – Dayna DJs and Emcees at social, corporate and retail events, weddings, and even cruises.
“I spin at all types of venues depending on where the event is booked,” she explains. “Golf courses, museums, yachts, theaters, swanky clubs and hotels; it’s definitely a variety, which keeps it exciting and interesting.”
Due to the variation in the venues and events she plays at, Dayna, unsurprisingly, enjoys music from across the eras and her sets encompass tracks from all genres. “Motown remixes, Funk, Reggae, Soul, Urban Pop, Eighties and Nineties are always fun, and I’m digging some of the EDM tracks; I like music that’s soulful, but with a cool beat that you can just let loose and dance your bum off to,” she tells us. “I definitely consider myself an open format DJ; I love to keep the crowd on their toes, not knowing what I’m going to drop next.”
Dayna recognizes the importance of keeping things original while also having a natural sense for which songs mix well together, depending on the event or the type of set she’s playing. “I love to get creative with new mixes of songs and not stick to the same ol’ shtick,” says Dayna. “During a Motown/Funk/Disco set I love to mix the Z-Trip Remix of ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson 5, ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder (DJ Smash Essential Funk Mix) and the Teddybears remix of ‘Stayin Alive’ by the Bee Gees.”
Though she started out with Pioneer CDJs and CDs, Dayna now delivers her eclectic and unpredictable sets using Serato Scratch Live and Serato DJ, enjoying the flexibility it gives her. “Even though I had a system down so I knew where to look when I needed a certain song, it is awesome having the ability to create playlists,” she says, “and it’s also great that you can put one song on five different playlists, if you want, as well as search songs on the fly and have them ready in less than ten seconds.”
With more than ten years of experience under her belt, Dayna has played an impressive list of events and venues – not excluding those attended by celebrity guests. One memorable night for Dayna was when she was performing in LA: “I was DJing an event that Lisa Kudrow [‘Friends’ actress] was attending with her family!” she says. “I love her and always have people coming up to me telling me I’m a ‘Phoebe’ look-alike, so I got the guts to introduce myself. I’ll never forget that; and it was also a great party!”
In addition to her gigs in the US, Dayna’s talents have also taken her outside of the country - something she's hoping to do more of. “Late last year I was onboard a cruise ship, the Celebrity Constellation, as a Guest DJ, and they had me scheduled to DJ an hour long set for the guests at their deck party,” explains Dayna. “Well, that one hour turned into three! The energy from the crowd was amazing and it was one of my best sets ever. Needless to say, it was a memorable night for all of us: the guests, staff, and myself. I went to sleep with a huge smile on my face that night!”
Despite DJing high profile events and taking off on luxurious cruises, her successful career hasn’t been quick in the making, with the DJ putting in serious work and learning to overcome the obstacles often faced by females working in a stereotypically male environment. But has being female only been a hindrance, or has it helped too?
“Honestly, it has been a combination of both,” she says frankly. “It’s been hard because there is that stereotype of DJs being male. Along with that, there are the critics of female DJs and skepticism to deal with, so I’ve had to overcome that opposition too. At the other end of the spectrum, it’s been easier because I’m a novelty in the industry, so people want something unique and think it’s cool to see a female DJ. I’ve also found it can win over brides, female event planners, or female focused organizations because they want to support a fellow female. However, bottom line: I want clients to book me because I’m the right fit for the gig and because I have the talent, knowledge and professionalism to perform the event successfully.”
To wrap things up, we asked Dayna if she has any advice for up-and-coming DJs? “First and foremost, get to know all types of music, because the more versatile you become as a DJ, the more marketable you will be – which then will lead to more bookings.” She explains. “Be sure to schedule in practice time to hone your skills; decide on your image, personal style, and how you want to market and promote yourself; and surround yourself by positive role models and a strong support system. Finally, it’s important to have confidence but stay humble.”
If you’re interested in learning more about DJ Day-na’s story, hearing her music, or connecting with her on social media, you can find her on a number of online platforms:
|Interested in appearing in Meet The DJ?
Send your story to our editor, ADJ NewsWave editor (firstname.lastname@example.org).