The DJ- and electronic music-scene worldwide, like so many other industries, has long been dominated by men. It can often be challenging for a woman to break the glass ceiling to entry into this scene, but Sayulita-based, up-and-coming DJ Karla Rojas, known as DJ Tender, is taking it in stride. She sat down with the Sayulita Insider team to share her story–and animate an impromptu pool party–as part of our miniseries “The Future of DJ’s.”
Karla comes from the city of Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit. “I grew up coming to the beaches of Riviera Nayarit,” from San Blas down to Sayulita, she told us. Only a few years ago, she moved full time to Sayulita, working as a bartender. With the support of her friends and coworkers, Karla kept her focus on her goals and objectives, eventually saving enough money to buy her first computer and mixer.
“I quickly had a knack for it,” she told us. With candor and evident passion, she continued, “I can’t live without music… When I wake up, I turn on music.” She was the first woman to ever DJ the erstwhile Cumbia Night that took place every Friday night at Club Camarón on the main beach of Sayulita. She was also the first woman to DJ at the successor to the Camarón Friday night beach party, now held at a different venue. She’s played some of the most iconic Sayulita clubs, including Don Pato and Aria Lounge, among others.
For Karla, one of the most rewarding parts of being a musician is the way music can break barriers and connect people. She also relishes the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Thanks to her evident skill at the tables, “people feel my presence as a woman, and they accept me.”
She also told us that she’s proud of the moments when people hear her music and are surprised that it’s a woman making it. She told us how people have seen her walking down the street and commented about how cool it is to see women at the turntables. “I love that connection: when people identify with me, and with the music I play.”
In the future, Karla plans to continue growing and evolving as a DJ. She plans to “transcend” her style and branch out to other styles and genres such as deep house, trance, techno, and others, “a seguir adelante!” she told us. To keep moving forward!