Halle Grano otherwise known as dj IVY, is one of the hottest female DJ’s in LA/Hollywood. She has shared stages with Pete Rock, Drake, 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, LMFAO, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and many more. Keep reading to hear her story that started in Ohio and became a reality in LA.
Dirty Laces: How did you get started in music and with DJ-ing?
dj IVY: It all started with my first Sesame Street edition record player that I got when I was about 5 years old. I’ll never forget it– it was yellow and green with a big imprint of Big Bird on it and had a little bird figure on the tone arm. It only played 45′s and had it’s own carrying case, I loved it. I had a 45 of DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night” and literally played that record until I broke it! I was always into records, mix tapes and musical instruments so I had a feeling I would end up doing something musical but had to find my particular outlet. When I was in high school, I really got into raves and started watching the DJs and the performance aspect of shows, but was too afraid to try it myself. I kept watching artists and learning different genres of music until one rainy day in NYC, my friend brought over a pair of CDJ’s and let me play around. Immediately I was in love with DJ’ing, so I taught myself how to blend and mix, until I saved up enough money to buy my first pair of Technics. My friend DJ Frog invited me out to open for him on my 21st birthday at a little sushi bar in Brooklyn, NY, so I bought enough records for a one hour set and the rest is history. I certainly made my bedroom dream a reality.
DL: What was it that made you move from your hometown of Westlake, Ohio to the big city of Los Angeles?
IVY: I guess you can say I was always the go-getter type, trying to be an adult ever since I was a kid. I moved out of Westlake to attend Fashion School at The University of Cincinnati in Ohio, by the age of 17. My first internship was in New York City, and that’s where I learned how to wiki wiki as well. I always thought I would live in the big apple forever until I moved to LA for a couple of months and I was hooked. Maybe it was the sunshine, maybe it was all the fake tits, who knows. Even though I barely knew anyone, I felt like I wanted to be a part of this crazy lifestyle. After graduation in 2005, I hired movers, shipped my car, got a one-way ticket to La La Land and have lived here ever since. I’m proud to call it home.
DL: Being a girl in the industry have you found it harder to advance or easier, considering there are way more male DJs than female?
IVY: That is a great question because this is a common topic discussed in the DJ community as well as amongst artists/performers in general. I think before Serato and advanced technology, it was easier to have an advantage if you were female because there was a lack of women with talent–however, nowadays it’s anybody’s game. Any male or female can go buy the equipment and teach themselves how to DJ, so if you have the ability and the ambition, you gotta just go for it. Being a woman and using my sex appeal only got me noticed, it’s my skills that got me where I am today.
DL: How did you get the name Ivy?
IVY: On one of my first big gigs during college, my friend who hired me needed to write my DJ name on a marquee outside the venue. My first name is Halle and it just didn’t flow well with any DJ combo. My best friend, Lisa, always spoke about this rad chick she knew named Ivy. Whenever she mentioned her, I always thought to myself, “how cool would it be to have that name?” I revealed my secret fantasy name to the dude and he was all about it, and so I kept on using it. Apparently, it stuck. I guess that’s the fun part about having a DJ persona.
DL: What DJs do you look up to in the music industry?
IVY: I saw A-trak win one of his DMC battles at age 15, and I was blown away. He is still one of my favorite DJs along with Craze, Z-Trip, and Qbert. When I moved to LA, I started watching DJ AM and met one of his apprentices–DJ Edski. Edski gave me my first residency at Les Deux in Hollywood and has been a mentor to me ever since. I also opened for DJ Muggs (of Cypress Hill) a few years back and he has become not only a teacher, but a really great friend.
DL: Whose music is easiest to remix or the most interesting for you?
IVY: Gangsta Rap is easy. The most interesting to me is funk, soul and breaks where all that shit originated.
DL: What are you most proud of that you have accomplished in your career?
IVY: Being the only female DJ on the Rock The Bells Tour of ’09 and sharing a stage with the legend himself, Pete Rock.
DL: What is next for you?
IVY: 2010 was a big exposure-gaining year, but as far as some next level stuff, I have a few things to plan for. I DJ’ed for the first time in Sydney, Australia this year, so hopefully there will be more of that along with other international shows. I’ll also be playing a few tours and festivals this year and my girl Lisa D’Amato and I may be collaborating on a project as well. Until then, I will continue to open for all the fun shows at Club Nokia in LA and doing my regular nightclub steez. I wouldn’t mind getting into a little bit more producing and remixing in the near future. Stay tuned.
Make sure to check out dj IVY’s Web site for her latest updates, free downloads, and schedule here!
Follow her @djivy
Carissa Rossi :)