As the world of electronic dance music has reached a new level of popularity, female DJs have emerged as some of its biggest stars. As more and more women find their way to the decks, they continue to prove that there’s no line between DJing and femininity. Some women are just born with better intuition, creativity, and passion than others.
Since the early 80s, women have taken on the male-dominated world of electronic dance music to show that females are just as capable of producing great mixes and playlists. The female DJs listed here are some of the leading ladies in this industry.
They perform at major events selling out arenas around the country, produce their own albums, and create original songs. Some even started their own record labels:
The following is a list of 15 notable female DJs in today’s scene:
1) Charlotte de Witte
Charlotte de Witte is one of the most popular names on the European circuit at this moment. She’s been DJing since she was 18 years old and has already produced two EPs for Black Box recordings and another one for Klockworks.
In 2016, Remix selected her as the second-best Belgian electronic music producer and did so again in 2017 when she beat out Ancieno and Soulwax to claim the top spot on their annual list.
She also runs her own label—Soft Touch—on which she released three extended plays: “Hourglass,” “Hypnosis,” and “Messages.”
2) Nina Kraviz
Nina Kraviz is a Russian DJ, producer, and record label owner who has been active for more than two decades. In March 2008, she launched her own imprint—GALAXIID—which became one of the top independent labels in Russia within just a few years.
She eventually partnered up with the iconic Belgian electronic music festival organization I Love Techno to host their events in Moscow and St. Petersburg during non-festival years.
3) Lena Willikens
Lena Willikens is widely considered to be one of the most talented figures in underground house music today.
She has released two EPs with Cologne label Kompakt since 2009—one under her own name and the other as Doktor Wizz—and collaborated with Acid Pauli on “Kann Denn Liebe Sünde Sein,” which came out on The Nothing Special earlier this year.
Both EPs are excellent examples of minimalistic styles that rely more on subtlety than raw power for their effectiveness.
4) Miss Kittin
Miss Kittin was born Caroline Herve in Grenoble, France, where she DJed at local clubs. One of her sets was recorded on cassette tape and passed to the iconic Parisian DJ duo Chez Damier who immediately signed her up to their label—Kif-Kiff—which he co-ran with Stéphane Pompougnac.
This led to a release on Noir Records—which was owned by another legendary DJ: Matthew Herbert.
Today, Miss Kittin is best known for the many collaborations she’s done with The Hacker but also for her solo work which includes three albums—”I Com” (2001), “A Bugged Out Mix” (2003), and “Batbox” (2012)—and several EPs including “agne,” “Everybody’s Got Their Hand Somebody Else’s,” and “Crack Attack.”
5) Nina Las Vegas
Nina Las Vegas is an Australian DJ who has been active since 2009. She began her career on the Big Day Out tour and soon moved to host a show on Australia’s Triple J radio network.
Toward the end of 2012, she began producing music and released her first EP—Name Up in Lights—in 2014. It was only available as a digital download, but she followed it up with two more EPs which came out as 12-inch records: “The Force” (2015) and “Higher” (2016).
In 2016, Nina hosted the second season of MTV Australia’s House Rules, which saw five teams renovating homes across the country before vying for the grand prize.
6) Ellen Allien
Ellen Allien is a techno DJ and producer from Berlin, Germany, who has been active since 1993. She started out as a drummer playing alongside her percussionist brother Boris before joining Satoshi Tomiie.
In 2001, she launched her own Bpitch control label, which has released music by Modeselektor—a duo she formed with Apparat—as well as Shed, SCNTST, and herself under different aliases such as Torsten Pröfrock and Dr. Rockit.
Her German book about techno music—”Was Ist Techno?: Geschichten Und Gedanken Zu Elektronischer Musik Auf Rezept”
Translates to – What Is Techno?: Stories and Thoughts About Electronic Music On Prescription—was published by Amadeus Verlag in 2006.
Heidi is a DJ and producer who was born in the Swiss city of Zürich, but she now lives in Berlin, where she has been active since at least 1994.
In 2000, her friend Ellen Allien released an album—”Berlinette”—which featured one track from Heidi entitled “Sprockets,” which also got its own EP.
Two years later, she released a second 12-inch record—this time as Monika Kruse vs. Heid—and a third followed soon: “This Is My Land EP” (2002) with Tobi Neumann.
8) Maya Jane Coles
Maya Jane Coles was born in the UK, and she began DJing when she was just 13. In 2008, a white label recording of a track called “Horny” earned her a spot at New York’s DJ Bootcamp alongside Dubfire, Carl Craig, and Laurent Garnier.
This led to residencies at London superclubs Matter and The End as well as European shows, which eventually saw her become an international name. In 2012, Maya released several records, including “Take Flight,” “Circles,” and “Comfort,” on labels such as I/AM/ME, Yoshitoshi Records, and Hypercolour.
It wasn’t until 2013 that she put out her first full-length album—”Little Lost”—via the German DJ and producer Dixon’s Innervisions label.
9) Lisa Lashes
Lisa Lashes is a British DJ who has been active since 1994 when she co-founded the trance group Juno Reactor with Ben Watkins.
In 2003, she started performing solo under different aliases such as Mistress Diaspora and her most well-known alias of Alluc—a name that was inspired by LSD or acid, which is commonly referred to as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Avid fans often refer to her simply as Lisa, wherefore her given name is only sometimes featured on her tracks’ runtimes—especially when tracklists are printed on 12-inch records rather than CD sleeves wherefore they have more space to afford for track titles.
10) Hannah Wants
Hannah Walsh is an English DJ who grew up in East Grinstead, where she started playing drums when she was five years old.
At age nine, she joined Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly—a punk rock band that both Sam Duckworth and Joshua Ellis were involved in—and played at Leeds festival when she was just 14-years-old.
However, it wasn’t until 2011 that her career began to take off after meeting George Fitzgerald at a show and starting a relationship together.
In the years since she’s released music on Rinse FM as well as Hypercolour and Dirtybird records where her 2014 single “Rhymes” peaked at #20 on the UK’s dance music charts.
11) Annie Mac
Annie Mac first came to public attention in 1998 after winning a DJ competition organized by the nightclub The End in London. Three years later, she started hosting her own show on Radio 1.
Today, she hosts a show on the network called “Annie Mac Presents,” where she showcases new music and invites artists to play live sessions during her program.
She also has two slots on Friday nights: The first hour is dedicated to dance-related tracks, while the second hour features more eclectic selections. Since 2008, her annual compilation albums have been extremely popular with fans of house music.
12) Amelie Lens
Amelie Lens was born in the small Belgian town of Diest, where she began modeling at age 17 after being scouted by an agent while she was on holiday with her family.
Soon enough, she got cast for campaigns by H&M and River Island, wherefore she moved to London in 2010 to pursue a career in fashion full-time—alongside DJing.
At first, it was difficult to convince people that music would be something that could take off because they assumed that modeling took up most of her time.
However, she had already released a single which was featured on the 2012 compilation “For Club Play Only Vol. 4” through Spinnin’ Records by this point, wherefore it wasn’t long until some of the UK’s top DJs started supporting her tracks—such as Annie Mac who played them on BBC Radio 1.
13) Madame X
Madame X is an alias for Sonya D after she began DJing in 2006 under that name at after-parties for Diesel parties which were held every Thursday night.
She came away with $100 for each set and slowly got better over time to the point where Diesel asked her to play another party, they’d be hosting every Friday.
Realizing that playing vinyl records became increasingly difficult as time went on, she began to play with Ableton Live instead, which made it easier to transition into other genres like drum’n’bass after getting booked at festivals.
14) Maya Jane Coles
Maya Jane Coles hails from London, where she started playing music when she was 14-years-old thanks to her older brother, who showed her how to DJ using CDs before later transitioning to vinyl.
She gained international recognition after releasing her debut album Comfort in 2012 through I/AM/ME records, and the title track “Comfort” received airplay on BBC Radio 1 by DJs including Annie Mac and Zane Lowe following its Remix by German producer Tensnake.
Her studio album “Take Flight” was released in 2015 and saw her return to working with I/AM/ME records.
15) Monika Kruse
Monika Kruse grew up in Bavaria, where she began playing music on the piano at age 10 before transitioning into DJing when she was 16-years-old.
She got an early start when her father began bringing home old club mixtapes from his work and would often mix them together on cassette, which is what inspired her to do the same—only using vinyl records rather than cassettes.
There wasn’t a local scene for electronic music at the time, so she bought a car just so that she could drive around after getting gigs in Berlin by being persistent through sending demo tapes to different clubs until they gave her a chance.