Like all successful DJs who can lay one track, listen to another, read a crowd, and prepare a subsequent mix virtually at once, Jenny LaFemme is a natural multi-tasker. While LaFemme has owned, operated and managed several businesses outside of the music industry in the past, in the last couple of years LaFemme has turned her DJ skills into the kind of full-time career that doesn’t need or want for a day job. Her unique brand of soulful house, old-school, international pop and club — sometimes all in one set — and the international crowds she attracts have turned her into uniquely individual brand, producing, promoting and, most importantly, playing from Detroit to Miami to Moscow — at least once recently in a single week!
In 2008, LaFemme co-produced the Detroit Fringe Festival at the Music Hall of Performing Arts, hosted by the iconic Sandra Bernard. The festival was a smash hit, featuring turntable legend Afrika Bambaattaa, Oscar-winning Eminem producer Luis Resto, Lafemme herself, and many other notable audio, video and literary artists. Never one to try and cut loose from Detroit at the luring scent of success outside her hometown, LaFemme also hosted The L-Word actress Elizabeth Keener at friend and Boombox party-partner Jenny Ouligian’s sexy Dolce Moda boutique for a summer soiree in trendy downtown Royal Oak, Michigan.
Opening for DJ Grad, Russia’s answer to American house maestro Roger Sanchez, in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago and Moscow, LaFemme turned out her Detroit-cum-Euro sensibilities into a house music hothouse of an opening set before one of electronic music’s hardest-to-please crowds, and they’ve been talking about her ever since. LaFemme tours Russian shores again this February when she plays at the Russian Winter Music Conference in Sochi.
There’s a lot coming up this year for LaFemme. This August there’s what sounds like an unforgettable event when Lafemme plays at Kazantip, a month-long dance bacchanal on the beaches of the Black Sea. There’s her production of a compilation of chill-out grooves from various artists for the sexy, internationally ubiquitous Segafredo Cafe brand. Not to mention songwriting contributions to international pop superstar In-Grid’s upcoming album; sets and parties at Miami’s Winter Music Conference; representing talented peers like DJ Phil Agosta and Afro-Latin chanteuse Lola Morales; and promotions for a 12-hour marathon of Russian DJ’s at South Beach’s decadent Nocturnal Terrace in March. Yes, 2009 is going to be another memorable, fast-rising year for our beloved LaFemme. (The rest of us will do well to just try and keep up!)
And while the jet-set lifestyle is nice, LaFemme never forgets what it’s all about. For it’s the music which sustains her the most. After all, with a life of so much travelling, so many crowds and so much noise, it’s the the sounds between her headphones that make it a suprising sanctuary behind those turntables. A naturally tranquil and level-headed demeanor keep LaFemme grounded, even when she’s 30,000 feet in the air or opening in front a crowd of thousands, her future and reputation all on the line. Both a world-class jet-setter and a family-focused homebody, equally an striving immigrant and a girl from Detroit, it’s music that more than anything that remains the only constant in LaFemme’s unlikely biography.
Before she was DJ LaFemme, fourteen year-old Jenny Feterovich migrated to Detroit’s West Bloomfield suburb from the dredges of anti-semeticsm in Cold War Moscow with her parents and sister. While she could only barely speak English, Jenny attributes her ability to both quickly adapt to American culture and learn English faster to her long love of Western pop music. She has said that one of the biggest incentives to learning the language was a desire to understand what the popular songs of her 1980s youth by artists like Madonna, Michael Jackson and Boney M were actually about.
Meanwhile, LaFemme’s appreciation for the rhythms, vocal syncopations and the attitude of music in a language foreign to her may best explain her love for the house music and electronica she is known for spinning in Detroit, Chicago, New York and Miami. Unable to get hung up on the lyrical narratives of her favorite pop songs growing up, Jenny developed her ear for the music’s real meaning: it’s beat, it’s melody.
This love of music only increased when Jenny moved to America, where she could go out and hear live sets by ‘old-schoolers’ like Ralphi Rosario, Terri Bristol, Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak and Detroit’s Big 3, Kevin Saunderson, Derick May and Carl Craig. LaFemme remembers “falling in love with house music almost instantly.” She kept the love alive with late nights at Detroit’s legendary Heaven, where the late Ken Collier famously played live sets all night for locals and music lovers from all over the world, and thinking nothing of a four hour drive to Chicago to hear a live Lego set at Red Dog.
While fully engrossed in the mainstream house and electronica scene, Jenny’s Russian-American peers don’t let her forget where she comes from – and what has brought her so far. LaFemme plays in Russia about twice a year. In addition, she still throws regular parties for Detroit, Chicago and New York’s young, chic Russian community. Here LaFemme mixes international house with Russian radio hits. She continues to promote and sponsor the hottest new Russian acts here in America, many boasting sold-out venues in New York, Detroit, Chicago and Miami.
Today LaFemme has established herself as a real player in some of the most formidable and competitive electronic music scenes in the country — and in the world. Her fans and friends, new and old, look forward to an even bigger year for this emerging superstar.