In our fourth piece of our series on producers in Chicago, Scapi sat down with event discjockey, producer, and engineer DJ Simmy. The multifaceted producer has blossomed in the last few years and made incredible gains within the music industry. She regularly travels across the country to work with established acts as well as up and coming artists.
Her journey to get to this point, though, is one of steps already taken and steps still left to take. In this, DJ Simmy has had many opportunities to reflect on her success thus far and the intentions she’s set.
“I feel like I’m still in the beginning stages of everything right now,” DJ Simmy said. “I was trying to go to the studio everyday to learn how to be an engineer and I had to put in so many hours there.”
She was in progress at a sound engineering program but recently withdrew to focus exclusively on producing.
“That’s the lifestyle though,” DJ Simmy said. “You have to really merge both worlds into one to be able to get where you want to be.”
She plans to teach herself engineering with up and coming artists and collaborators. She currently works in rap, hip-hop, R&B and trap and is venturing into making more pop genre beats.
“My favorite style right now is the Memphis, the Memphis style. I love Yo Gotti, I love Moneybagg [Yo], I love Key Glock… I love Tae Kief, the producer… Memphis got a style to them…”
Music has always been a big part of DJ Simmy’s life. Her father, Reggie McKeiver, has been the youth ministry choir director of Memorial M. B. Church in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood of Gresham, since 1989. Her mother is also active in the music ministry and serves as assistant to the current pastor. Both parents’ musical influences include 80s-2000s Rap & R&B.
She can produce instrumentals relatively quickly, quoting about one day to finish a beat provided time and creativity make room for each other. She also has several alternate versions of beats that she regularly updates and changes to suit another artist’s needs and tastes.
DJ Simmy’s leasing rate is priced on a sliding scale based on artists’ requirements and budget. Buying beats exclusively starts at $200–and with good reason. The producer’s clientele includes mainstream rap and pop artists who can afford to contract exclusive rights to produced instrumentals.
The artist utilizes online beat stores where producers from all over the globe can sell their productions singularly or in packs–some works are even offered for free. Beatstars.com & Traktrain.com are popular online stores where producers can sell their instrumentals.
At this point in her career, DJ Simmy has been invited to work with and open for artists like Doja Cat and Gucci Mane.
“I was supposed to DJ for Doja Cat, but literally the pandemic decided to swoop around literally two weeks before and they were debating if they wanted to do it and then we got the stay-at-home order the weekend before.”
“I was supposed to open for Gucci [in] October…for a Halloween fest… that’s when the numbers started to rise again.”
In addition to live performing and producing, DJ Simmy founded Juice Room, a platform that organizes multi-media events to promote up and coming artists.
“Juice Room is my baby! Juice Room is that outlet where we expose all artists, producers and engineers.”
The platform posts regular content on social media and YouTube that showcases Chicago based artists through interviews and performances. Juice Room also publishes DJ mixes through their network of engineers and producers as well as hosting Instagram live mixes.
“We’re just really trying to connect Chicago and soon connect the world.”