Melissa “Mel T” McAllister is featured in this edition of the DJ Spotlight! Melissa is a talented DJ and dancer from the beautiful Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. She brings energetic, fun and positive vibes to the dance community, and we definitely recommend checking out her DJ sets! She was nominated by Jessica “DJ Tay” Taylor. Jessica said, “Melissa is very cool. She DJs mostly Kizomba and Salsa and has been hired by the CoBeat party numerous times. She is super sweet and humble, but works so hard. I don’t think she is given the recognition she deserves.” Check out fun and interesting facts about Melissa including her favorite moment as a DJ and her recommendations for starting a career as a DJ.
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When did you start DJing and what do you remember about your first professional job?
I started DJ’ing in 2013. I was drawn to it by my love and passion for dancing. While pursuing my Master’s degree in Samoa (South Pacific), I became very close to the latin dance community there, and I started to be featured at their socials because of the wide variety of music in my arsenal. The rest is history.
My first professional job though would have to be Salsa Fiesta T&T, which is an international dance congress hosted by my beautiful country, Trinidad and Tobago. The experience was very rewarding although I was exceptionally nervous. I remember just wanting leave my mark and make everyone happy!
What’s been your favorite moment in your DJ career?
I have shared this story many times and I think this will always be my favourite DJ’ing experience. In 2019 at Bachateando Dance Festival, Miami, I was one of three DJs at the silent (headphones) party, which also happened to be the very last event of that FANTABULOUS weekend! We played from midnight till dawn and that sight was just breathtaking. That’s not all though. What made that night the best for me would have been the moment I recognised that the majority of the crowd was vibing to MY music on MY station! The feeling I had in that moment was beyond EPIC, and cemented why I love doing this so much.
You’ve posted a few dance choreographies of yourself and others. Does being a dancer help with your approach to DJ’ing at events/socials?
Oh definitely! As I mentioned before, my love and deep passion for dance are what got me to this point. The dancers are the forefront of my thoughts when deciding on my music selections. I also pay attention to their reactions to certain songs when I am not DJ’ing, to give me an idea of what is favoured and of course while social dancing myself, I think about what and how I can create a memorable, all encompassing vibe while playing.
How do you balance the relationship between your choices and goals as a DJ and the expectations, desires and feedback of the dancers?
As much as I try to please all dancers at a social, I’ve recognised that that simply is impossible. So I aim to please the majority at least. I have also learnt that negative feedback need not be taken personally. I always use my feedback to improve my performance and I do the same with dance. I seek out persons who I know will provide constructive criticism and allow that to guide my development. Interestingly enough during this pandemic as there were no socials to attend, I was forced to focus on my DJ goals and I must admit that this time has allowed me to really put in a lot of work towards self improvement. I am eager to see the effects of my newfound knowledge on dancers when the dancefloors reopen!
What recommendations would you have for those who want to try and DJ?
First of all, it takes a lot of work! Work that never ends (not to mention, costly) so you have to love it. It is an investment in yourself and your craft. It is not just about pressing the play button. You need to be able to understand a crowd, move a crowd, know and understand music, the history of music, understand dance and keep up to date with dance trends and releases. Also, practice, practice, practice. I would definitely recommend doing a lot of research and accumulating music like yesterday! And, of course, start saving money because this passion takes a lot of it!
Why is it important that DJs be connected to and enjoy the music they’re playing for others?
I have always had major respect for music. It is very powerful and so I believe as DJs we are placed in a very powerful/important position, tasked to control the vibe or energy of those listening to the music we play. If I am having fun it is easy to transcend that energy to my listeners. Not to mention I just love music so I genuinely have a good time, every time!
What are your current favorite songs to dance to? Top two or three…
I could never answer this appropriately because my top 3 changes by the minute. I can never decide, I love too many! However, if you insist, I’d have to say:
Where can dancers find your mixes?
You can find me on any of the following platforms:
Facebook, Soundcloud, Mixcloud & YouTube: @ DJ Mel-T
Twitch & IG: @djmel_t