New Female DJ rocks the house
Becoming a DJ hasn't been a life-long ambition for Christal Meredith-Korfhage, but lately, it has become an almost all-consuming passion.
Meredith-Korfhage, whose professional moniker is DJ CK, bought herself a digital turntable two years ago, started "playing around with it," as she puts it, and a short while later was gigging at friends' house parties.
"I've always loved making CDs for people, going to parties and making playlists, but I didn't think I could be a DJ. Then I did a party and thought, 'OK, yeah, I can do this,'" says CK.
Since these humble beginnings of doubt, wonder and self-exploration, DJ CK has spun records at an awards show at BYO Studio, 2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., the anniversary party for the Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St., a sweet 16 party at the Milwaukee Athletic Club – which was all dubstep by request – and a benefit for Extreme Moms at the Healing Center, 611 W. National Ave., among other events.
Her last gig was a wedding, which she enjoyed.
"You have to become perceptive of individual people. You pick up on what moves people and you play it. It's a thrill for me to pick up on how people are, what kinds of music they might like, asking myself, 'what would they dig?'," says CK.
Malcolm Michiles – aka DJ Old Man Malcolm, who is the Green Bay Packers DJ – has shown her some tricks of the trade, including turntable scratching.
CK is originally from Angola, La., and attended Southern University, a small liberal arts HCBU (historically black college or university).
"Everyone else I knew was going to LSU (Louisiana State in Baton Rouge). I wanted something different, I wanted to see what it was like to be a minority somewhere, to experience difference," says CK.
She says LSU was a little intimidating in a different way: as a big school. It might be this craving for comfort among a variety of people in more intimate venues, from smaller colleges to the tight feel of dance parties and packed bars, that drives CK as she seeks out what's going to move people.
"I love to see people get into a mood, and to be a part of setting that mood," says CK, who admits she also just likes to "see people shake their butts."
CK's musical tastes run from old school hip-hop and funk, dubstep and world to '80s pop. She doesn't play a lot of industrial or heavy metal.
And CK doesn't list crunk or any other particularly southern musical genres as a heavy influence. Although in high school she didn't listen to Sting or Enya like she says her classmates did, she listened to R.E.M. Yet her southern influences are less musical in nature and more matters of personality and taste in other arenas.
"Being from Louisiana has affected how friendly I am, how talkative I am with people for sure – and how I eat," says CK. "Because it's true, down South, they put butter in everything. When I make vegetables, you know I'm going to put half a stick of butter in them."
CK loves Milwaukee and has lived here 16 years. "It's way different than what I grew up with. People in the South, even if they don't know you, will tell about their whole life; here, people are more reserved and I find that interesting.
CK sees people here as being cramped up, inside (both within their winter abodes and perhaps, metaphorically, within themselves, too). "I love to help people get out and get wild," she says.
When CK isn't gigging, she's dancing her own butt off at The Mad Planet, 533 E. Center St. or working at Sendik's Market in Whitefish Bay.
And when CK isn't working, she's taking care of her 9-year-old son.
Being a full-time DJ would be "freakin' awesome," but that it doesn't seem feasible with her son – at least for now. CK says people sometimes find a female DJ unusual, but it hasn't hurt her.
"People are always like, 'You're a female DJ? Yeah, right on,'" she says.
CK is available for weddings, house parties and non-profit benefits, but she'd like to play more bars and can see DJing in between band sets as a good fit for her.
"Being a DJ is about being an artist. At birthday parties I have to be more censored, and I don't really like taking requests," CK says with a laugh.
CK strives to be affordable for all kinds of venues and events. At $75 an hour, her fee comes in below many area DJs, who usually charge around $100.
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