SoulfulSexyFunk, Straight No Chaser
“Tempo’s movin’, and I’m hopin’ it’ll never fade away/The beat is groovin’, words are soothin’/And please tell me that you’re here to stay/In the mornin’ and I’m hopin the mornin’ come again/Hold me close and give me another dose/And keep the beat don’t ever let it end.” — A Tribe Called Quest, “Keep the Beat.”
Fused in a smooth mix that feels like summertime, DJ Shred One (Sheila Red) gives credit where credit is due as she takes listeners on a journey through the melodic styling of soul and hip-hop in “Bird and the Beat.” One of many songs that feature the lesser known female vocal talents in some of music’s most recognizable tunes, A Tribe Called Quest accompanies others in Shred One’s blend where she uses honey textured transitions, and gives listeners a taste of cool swagger while letting the “songbirds of hip-hop” finally have their “musical moment in the sun.”
Much like those songbirds Shred One referred to that so often fly under the radar behind the male vocal leads they are supporting, lady spinners carry a similar hardship in the world of DJs. Coming fresh off of a win, and nabbing a spot in the DJ collective of WBEW-FM Vocalo 89.5 Chicago, this Los Angeles native shows that hard work, talent, and fearlessness can surpass any roadblock, one turntable at a time.
“When I dropped the needle on my first record during my final Vocalo DJ competition set, I thought to myself, ‘Alright Sheila, it’s now or never!’ I was real nervous and my hands were shaking, but I tried to keep focus and just connect with the rhythms of the music,” she says.
Through these intense moments of heart palpitating pressure, and letting fate take the wheel, she felt the spirit of the crowd energize and motivate her to just enjoy the moment. After she had learned that she was chosen for the competition, the realization that her sowing had been reaped was brought to light. All of her hard work and dedication to her craft came to fruition.
“Being a part of the collective brings me back to the reason why I became a DJ; to break new music and share it with the rest of the world,” she says. “To have the ability to do that through the power of the airwaves is truly amazing. But for me, it is an important responsibility that I intend to fulfill.”
Now as a part of the Vocalo crew, which is comprised of some of Chicago’s most illustrious and gifted DJs, Shred One gets the opportunity to showcase her signature style (dubbed as “SoulSexyFunk, Straight no chaser”) over the FM frequency during WBEW-FM’s Friday Night DJ Series. She asserted confidence about being a part of a rock solid team where the group has the command to make an even more profound impact on the music scene in Chicago.
“All of the members of the collective are so supportive of each other and really believe in our power as a collective to change the airwaves of Chicago radio for the better,” she says. “We are all so different, but have the common love and dedication for DJing. It is very inspiring when we are all together.”
Prior to making the Windy City her new stomping grounds, Shred One lived in San Francisco. It was a return back home to the sunny West Coast after making the city of dreams, New York, her choice of residence for seven years. While in the Bay Area, she held several DJ residencies. One of which brought her together with two of her musical soul mates, DJ Raichous (Rachelle Chua) and DJ Roza (Roza Do), known together as RRS Feed.
“RRS Feed changed my life. It was so great being able to do what you love with people you love,” she says, adding, “We constantly push each other to get our DJ and life games on point.”
Shred One and Roza had a musical relationship prior to the harmonious trio of RRS Feed when they collaborated on the boogie funk-centric mix called LOVESPACE. No inventive or artistic progression is simple. There is the back and forth and incessant starting from square one. To keep the faith, the mastermind duo created the mantra “trust the process,” which led to rhythmic magic.
“We defined our collaborative process and found a way to incorporate our complementary styles,” says Roza. “From conception on a whiteboard in her dedicated music room to the tireless recording sessions coordinated between San Francisco and Los Angeles, where I was living at the time, this mix tape project was one of my most memorable experiences with her.”
An all-female group of turntablists is for sure a Rosie the Riveter type step in the right direction toward diversifying and equalizing the industry.
“When we began performing and realized that we were inspiring young girls to start DJing, we understood that we were given a responsibility to show the world that women can DJ; and DJ well too,” Shred One says.
Shred One was captivated as a young girl by veteran DJ Spinderella of lady powerhouse group Salt-N-Pepa. From the moment she saw her spin, she knew she could dream big. Yet, little did she know then that she would have the moment of a lifetime, opening up for her icon at a show in San Francisco just a few years later.
“I felt so inspired the first time I saw Spinderella in the Push It video,” she says. “Before that, I had only seen male DJs perform, so it was just so empowering to see a female do what they were doing. She looked confident, she had style, and grace…and I wanted to be like her.”
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