There are superstar DJs in the club world that gays flock to see, and they usually have at least one thing in common: a Y chromosome. But there’s one DJ out there who’s getting everyone’s panties in a twist.
Twisted Dee is one of the few lesbian DJs on the club circuit, and has been spinning dance music since she was in her early teens. Raised in an Italian family on Long Island, Dee (whose real name is Denise Gurney) has slowly but surely gained the respect of club-goers and peers.
Today, Friday, March 19, she celebrates the release of her debut compilation remix album “Addiction” at Apex in D.C. Arjan spoke with Twisted Dee from South Beach, Fla., where she was preparing her gig at the annual Winter Party event.
How did you get your start as a DJ?
My father owned one of the first disco/nightclubs on Long Island. I was fascinated with the whole club scene and I used to help out during the day. I wanted to learn more about the business and get into it. The DJ who was there taught me how to work the equipment. I started to play more at home and at high school functions. When I was 17, I got my first job at a real club.
How do you describe your music?
Well, people won’t walk away with a headache. I play feel-good house music, covering the whole gamut — tribal, progressive, underground, you name it.
You’re openly gay. How do you differ from some of the other lesbian DJs?
The lesbians DJs that are out there come from a very different background. I have a family with two children. I did not hang around clubs or do the whole circuit thing. I had a family and always worked. I never had the time to go out and play.
How do you combine being a DJ with family life?
It works very well, actually. I get incredible support from my family. I have two girls who are 21 and 16 who are very supportive.
Were you married before?
Yes. In another life. I got married at a very young age and not until I entered a gay bar did I realize I had made a big mistake.
How is it to be a female DJ on a male-dominated scene?
It is very hard, especially for the fact that I play for the men. Being a female is hard because I play for a predominantly gay audience who’d rather see a beautiful gay boy DJ. It is hard to get noticed and recognized. It is a constant struggle to know what I can do to get my name out there a little bit more.
Do you think the circuit is lacking diversity?
I’m not sure. I do know that the circuit is not what it used to be. I think a part of the circuit is dying, as are certain parts of the record industry. The party is not the same anymore with all the new drinking and smoking laws, and other rules for clubs.
Do you prefer to play for the boys or girls?
I like playing for the boys better. They are progressive and on top of dance music. If it is up to the women, I’d be playing classic disco and Melissa Etheridge all night long. That’s not what I’m about.
How did your new remix album “Addiction” come about?
I’m very proud of this CD. I was approached by Episode Records and I hit it off really well with them. The CD is really beautiful. It has a lot of different styles with a total of 15 tracks, including Billboard hits such as “Burning” from Robbie Rivera.