Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Ramirez.
Hi Vanessa, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born in Kansas City, MO, proudly to my two Mexican immigrant parents. Growing up, my Mexican family always threw large gatherings and I always found myself controlling the music from cassette tapes, CDs, and getting aux on the speaker.
I found it fascinating how I could control the vibe of the room playing different genres like salsa, cumbia, merengue, and rancheras. Soon enough, my family started to brand me as the “DJ.” As soon as I arrived at a party, they knew that my first order of business was to bring out the speaker and get the vibes going.
When the world went on lockdown due to COVID, I took that time to get through my college semester and become a self-taught DJ. I invested in my equipment and spent countless hours learning all things about DJing. I gained on-the-spot experience by playing at bars and pop-ups around Kansas City. To this day, I still spend countless hours practicing and perfecting my craft, in order to continuously learn and become the best DJ I can be.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think many entrepreneurs/creative people can say they have had a smooth road, which is what makes it such a rewarding and unique path. One of my biggest challenges right now has been being a full-time student, a full-time Executive Director of an education program, while also trying to pursue my music career as a DJ.
There have been times where I would be finishing up a homework assignment or project on my way to a gig or right before having to spin. In addition to continuous practice and work that I put into my craft, is the challenge to strive and be a first-generation student and finish my degree strong. However, being the first to go to college in my family has helped me stay motivated and reach my goals.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As I embarked on my official journey as a DJ, I noticed that there were not a lot of female DJs specifically in Missouri, more specifically Latinas. Branding myself as DJ NE$$, I became known for specializing in setting the Latin vibes, from reggaeton, salsa, merengue, etc. However, because of my upbringing around so many cultures and people, I have been heavily influenced by the roots of afrobeat, hip hop, R&B, and all different types of genres that I also like to incorporate into my sets.
And that, I would say is what intrigues folks, the immersion of all different types of cultures and genres colliding to bring the perfect vibe. One of my favorite accomplishments has been getting booked by Sporting Kansas City to spin as their official game DJ to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Being known as one of the only Latina DJs, that specializes in spinning all Latin vibes, this was an exciting opportunity to showcase my culture as a creative artist.
What do you like and dislike about the city?
What I love most about our city is the recent emergence of artists and talent that is being cultivated here. Kansas City is so warm and open to the birth of these creatives, which I think is amazing as we start to get put on the map. I have so many young friends that have taken the brave step to start their own business, explore their passions, or start something that they noticed was missing within their community.
This is what I feel distinguishes the Midwest, specifically Kansas City. Having these change-makers that are not afraid to take that leap of faith that may seem scary to everyone else, and being the first to do so. You all continuously inspire me and make me proud of our city!
- Email: Djnessofficial98@gmail.com
- Instagram: @djnessoffical
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/vanessa-ramirez-136587831
Alexis Gian Photography and Stephanie Alba