Photo Credit: IvyAwino/K104

MEET IVY AWINO, DALLAS-BASED DJ, MAVS X WINGS TURNTABLE GODDESS.

By now, you're familiar with our Chick Chat series - right? For us, it's so important to highlight the women who are making moves in their respective fields because #Chickspiration transcends all. After making our way back to Texas for a heart-to-heart with our favorite Houston gal, Courtney Brand of TheBWerd.com, we head to our second home for a turn on the 1's and 2's with DJ Poizon Ivy.

Ivy Awino aka Poizon Ivy The DJ, is a 26 year old music-loving soul.  Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, this Dallas transplant originally trained in classical music (she's classically trained in cello and piano) before trying her hand at spinning some of your favorite hits.  Six years after starting on her turn table journey, Ivy has began building her brand on her own terms.  With residences as the official DJ for Dallas' two professional basketball teams, this busy concoction took a bit of time out of her schedule to fill us in on the significance behind her name, why she brings something different to the table and her number 1 #Chickspiration: her daughter.

 

HER LIFE STORY IN CLIFFSNOTES

I was born and raised in Nairobi, the buzzing capital city of Kenya. I moved to Dallas, TX at the age of 9. Having the opportunity to migrate to the States was very impactful. All over the world, people view the U.S. as the land of opportunity and it truly is. This is something that drives me each and every day and I try my best not to take all of what I am able to access for granted because I know how far (literally) my mother came to help ensure that we were that much closer to making a better life for ourselves. I also know how badly others would love to be here and what they could possibly make of it. I’m basically not just trying to take up space. I’m trying to make the opportunity count for everything it can, and inspire many along the way. “Aspire to inspire.” That’s one of my favorite personal mantras.

THAT GIRL IS POIZONNNNN...

I didn’t really want a moniker that deviated too far from my given legal name. When I was younger, kids teased me a lot by calling me “Poison Ivy” and it made me sad because I didn’t want to be the plant that everyone feared. As I grew older, I came to learn about Poison Ivy (the DC comics character who is Batman’s adversary) and I started to embrace it a bit more. Then, when I became a DJ, I immediately reverted to this nickname which coincidentally fit. Poison Ivy makes you itch, right? And DJ’s scratch. But I thought for SEO purposes, it would be hard to work with Poison spelled phonetically correct. So I can changed the S to a Z as a nod to my sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

YOUR AVERAGE DJ ISN'T A CLASSICALLY TRAINED MUSICIAN. THIS ONE IS.

Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt [being trained in piano and cello] helps so much. Knowing music theory helps in so many ways. I can distinguish harmonies easily when mixing, I understand music overall on a much deeper level. I can appreciate production too, because music is orchestral on all fronts and I definitely know that this knowledge has helped tremendously over on the DJ side of things.

Photo credit: Gavin Lueking

THE 9-5 THAT HAD TO GO...

The last semi-long tenured 9-5 I had was when I was 21. To be real, I kept getting fired from jobs that had nothing to do with my personal passions. I had to be real with myself and I knew that I was only there to collect a check. It was a means to an end, but I loathed every moment. I was always at work, working on something else. So, one day, I remember making a conscious decision to become my own employer. Obviously cerebrally acknowledging the many risks and sacrifices that would come with it, but I’ve been liberated ever since. I never knew how far I’d take it but I think this is a testament to what happens when you pursue what you love. I know it’s a common cliche, but there’s so much truth to it. Every day I wake up, I feel as though I’m on a boundless journey. And that excites me, keeps my heart pumping, keeps the creative juices flowing, and everything between. There are no limits in my world. That’s my biggest influence to keep going.

IVY'S TOP 5 PLAYLIST IN 3...2...1...

My musical tastes are so insane. I just love sound. I have quite the open pallette when it comes to music. This is reflective of my personality because I try not to have a judgemental bone in my body. I have friends from all walks of life, you can drop me just about anywhere in the world, and I can guarantee that I’d be able to find something in common with the people around me. With that being said, these kinds of questions are torture for me because I really will sit here and try to cut down a list of about 200 to 5, but let’s see..

Wizkid - Ojuelegeba

Beyonce - End of Time

Sauti Sol - Kuliko Jana

Madonna - Take A Bow

Tupac - Letter 2 My Unborn

Photo credit: Gavin Lueking

IVY'S PERSONAL STYLE AS TOLD BY DRAKE

Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no makeup on … LOL!

AND HER CURRENT SNEAKER ROTATION? PE'S BABY.

So, my sis Sky [Skylar Diggins, Guard for the Dallas Wings] recently released a special edition colorway of the Nike HyperRev PE’s dedicated to her mom. I love those so much because they are super comfortable, versatile and they are my fave color, orange. I secretly want to collect all of the WNBA athletes that have had signature shoes. I think there are only 9 or 10. I have a pair of the KD 9’s that I like as well. But I’m a fan of a lot of different stuff. I’m obsessed with the Melody Ehsani X Reebok collection. And sidebar, I’m trying to collect all 50 of the adidas Originals Superstar Supercolor Collection. I really feel like if I had those, I would never wear another sneaker.

SHOP SIMILAR

HOW DID SHE LAND THAT COVETED MAVS DJ SPOT? 

Let me tell you about God’s timing. I’ve been working as a DJ for roughly 6 years. I recently also relocated back to Dallas. So, I was in this phase where I didn’t really have much going on in Dallas but I saw that the Tulsa Shock were relocating to Dallas (now the Dallas Wings) and of course, I’d worked with Sky before. I just cold called the office and presented my pitch. In the middle of my season with them, I got word that the Mavs were looking for a new DJ and were interested in speaking with me. The rest is history. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put in work but these are the types of things that make you believe that favor can sometimes beat labor because I couldn’t have written this better myself.

ON BALANCING THE DEMANDS OF BUSINESS WITH THE DEMANDS OF MOTHERHOOD:

I’ve learned to respect the mess out of my mother and grandmother, that’s for sure. Motherhood isn’t easy and it’s totally OK to admit that. It’s totally OK to ask for help, whether you are a mother or not. It’s totally OK for you to need a break and just walk away from it all, sometimes without notice. See, women are nurturers by nature. So, it’s hard to for us to find balance because most of us innately want to care for those around us, be it a significant other, family members, pets, etc. But self care comes first.

You are no good to anyone around you if you aren’t great to yourself. And, ultimately, that’s what hurts us is giving everything we are to everyone except ourselves. I love my baby girl to death. She is my reason for living and existing, but I also know that I’d like to be here for her as long as I can, and I don’t want to do anything that will jeopardize my health, whether it’s physical, spiritual, mental, or psychological. So, striking that balance is key. And also, as your rise up the ranks, the battles get tougher, the sacrifices become seemingly greater, so it’s key to build good habits and lay a solid habitual foundation.

Image: D Magazine

PASSION MEETING PURPOSE, SQUARED.

I’m most passionate about advocacy, philanthropy and unity. My mother always told me that I was born to unite. I’m not trying to live a self-fulfilling prophecy but, look at what I do! I never could make a decision on whether I wanted to pursue a career in sports or music and look what God did, He gave me both. So, I have to believe that it’s indicative of my purpose because both happen to be things that I am so passionate about. All I can do is try my best to continue to be the best at it and help as many people as I can along the way.

ON #CHICKSPIRATION AND WHAT IT MEANS TO HER

Behind every successful woman, is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. To quote author Alex Elle, “women forget how much we can inspire one another. No one understand us, like us.” That’s what #Chickspiration means to me.

If you're looking to catch more of Ivy, be sure to hit her up on Instagram and visit her website, PoizonIvyTheDJ.com, for more info on her touring schedule.


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