WIRED + Marriott hosted the 2012 grand finale to their #Culturazzi series in New York City this past week. While there, enjoying the tremendous gathering of talent and innovation, I had an opportunity to sit down for a quick chat with television personality and Deejay, JaKissa Taylor-Semple. Taylor-Semple spins tracks under the name DJ Kiss and, believe me, her mixes are spectacular.
She has worked private parties for some of the most well-known celebrities around: Madonna, Heath Ledger, Jamie Foxx, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Drew Carey, and Naomi Campbell — just to name a few. Her colorful client list includes some of the most beloved brand names ever, including Billboard, Grey Goose (who doesn’t love a little Grey Goose?), Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, MTV, GQ Magazine, Comedy Central, US Weekly, and of course, the NFL.
Worldly, But Down to Earth
As a lover of travel, I just had to ask Taylor-Semple about her extensive travels and if she had a favorite destination spot amid all the exotic places she’s been. “I love Europe, but specifically enjoy cities like Istanbul and Athens that represent the very ‘cradle of civilization’. It’s destinations like that — the ones that have a deep meaning for all the peoples of the world — that truly touch me as a traveler. When in Athens, I visited the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
Similarly, I enjoyed a real life experience of the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar when I traveled to Istanbul. So I have to say that I truly love destinations that have ancient history woven within their fabric — right next to everyday life,” she explained. Her love of historical places and ancient ruins resonated with me deeply because I love these things as a traveler too.
A Passion for Fashion and Music
We talked about life and how it can get in the way of what we love. Life can certainly throw some curve balls and, if you’re not careful, you may end up making a living in a career that doesn’t thrill you — something dry and empty for you. This confident woman obviously loves what she does. “I feel like I’ve made definite choices in my life to do things I’m passionate about. Music and fashion are my two main passions,” she beamed. Taylor-Semple clearly has a penchant for style and a profound love of music.
She said that she’s been “way into music” since a very young age. “My parents are professional, old-school southern folks. They weren’t too keen on my choosing to become a deejay. But when they came and saw me perform, they understood. They saw, then, that it [music] is in my blood.” She went on to say that her dad expressed admiration that she made a career out of music even though she can’t play an instrument. Now that’s determination and passion – a true calling.
I asked her about her favorite music genre and she quickly answered that she literally wakes up listening to 80s era music, but also has a deep affection for classic soul music. This beauty loves to listen to Britney Spears, to Fergi, to just about everything. But, at the end of the day, it’s the 80s and soul music that live in her heart. On top of all of that — she does it with panache and style that will knock you over. Check out her website: XOXO, Kiss – Diary of a Fashion-Obsessed DeeJay
A Difference That Delivers
What really impressed me about this ultra-talented woman is her humility. She doesn’t think of herself as the greatest. She doesn’t see herself as this untouchable superstar. Instead she sees herself as super fortunate to have forged a career that focuses on the two things she loves most in the world – music and fashion. She’s just different than many other people who have risen to this level of authority in their careers.
Taylor-Semple seems truly grateful for all that she has and all that she’s worked for. “You know you’ve grown your career, you’ve grown your business, but at the end of the day, look at the grand scope of the world; you’re a deejay, you’re not curing cancer, you’re not teaching young minds. Make sure you understand where you are in that hierarchy of things,” she quips.
To me, that statement says it all. Taylor-Semple is the bomb! She’s all that and more and she’s so grounded and grateful for her success. I’m honored to have met her and to have had the chance to chat with this amazing lady.