If you partied in Miami recently chances are you’ve been grooving to the tunes of one of the city’s most in-demand DJs – Amanda Blaze. Known for rocking crowds in some of the hottest SoBe clubs, like Cameo, Space and Dream to the poshest upscale events — with a client list that includes the likes of Neiman Marcus, Saks and Marciano. Before she hit South Beach, you could hear a then DJ Blazita rocking her residency at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in New York City and the Brooklyn’s Barclays Center’s 40/40 Club during Nets home games. But don’t get it twisted, this Latina has paid her dues to become “the hottest chic in the game.” Spending the last decade honing her craft and building her name which was no easy feat in the era before social media. The Puerto Rican DJ sat with ‘LLERO to discuss coming up in the game as a female DJ, balancing motherhood and career and how Funkmaster Flex stopped her from giving up on her dream.
‘LL: How did you fall in love with being a DJ when you were younger? What were you influenced by or gravitate to?
AB: I gravitated towards music when I was little, I used to try to create my own mixtapes although it was a lot different back then before I was a DJ. I always wanted be a radio personality so when I was in high school, I started an after school hip-hop radio show. It was fun. It was the only after school hip-hop radio show, it was the first one. I did that and then I graduated, and I attended Penn State University. I stayed there for a while and graduated, but I also did college radio and when I was in college, my experience there, there were a lot of famous celebrity DJs that went back — Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex — and seeing them perform inspired me to want to DJ parties. So, my boyfriend at the time was a DJ and I mentioned it to him that I wanted to learn so of course he didn’t take me serious at all. He laughed at me. One day I just bought turntables. I was in college and back then you put everything on credit cards.
‘LL: Yeah, I was about to say, how did you afford that?
AB: I bought turntables and a mixer on credit and started buying all kinds of records. I learned how to spin vinyl. Then he started to take me serious and actually taught me how to DJ. From there, I kind of took it and ran with it. He went his way into production, and I moved to New York and started doing a lot of stuff. Originally, I started doing mixtapes just to get my name out there and show people I could DJ and give myself a platform. There weren’t online things at the time. I think My Space was the only thing.
‘LL: Right. Totally different landscape.
AB: But then using that and getting a buzz allowed me to jump into the party scene and my first party booking was a residency with El Morocco [a club] that was in Washington Heights. That was really fun. I did that for a while every Saturday. That’s kind of how I got my name. At the time, my name was DJ Blazita, but a couple of years ago, I changed it. The reason I changed my name was just to make it easier for people, Amanda Blaze, because I felt like I wanted to expand more into corporate and sponsor some things like that. It was easier to make that transition.
‘LL: What was the moment you knew you wanted to do this as a career?
AB: The moment for me in college was when I was practicing all the time and my boyfriend at the time, he was DJing the clubs and I really wanted to open or DJ at those clubs. It was so frustrating because he and his friends, they wouldn’t let me DJ. It was like “no, you’re not good enough yet, you haven’t practiced enough.” I kept practicing. The moment I realized was when one of them told me, “you know, if you practice hard enough and you really take this serious, you can become one of the best female DJs in history because there aren’t that many. If you really take it serious you can be on that level.” That’s when I started taking it really serious. I feel like I still have a way to go.