Lady Fingaz
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Lady Fingaz

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop EDM

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"The Golden Touch"

The Golden Touch 9/14/04
By Frank Etheridge

Lady Fingaz spins her introduction on her recently finished mix demo, Grand Theft Hip-Hop. Monotone samples pulled from recordings of comically uptight, older white men announce her saying, "She's beautiful / She's smart / She's a fighting hellcat / She's dynamite / She's (zip zip) DJ (zip zip) Lady Fingaz."

Fingaz is also a 22-year-old business major at the University of New Orleans. In her four years in the city, she's started to make quite a name for herself, introducing herself to most local party people via her steady Friday night gig at Shiloh -- a dimly light, raucous and racially diverse late-night spot Uptown. The Austin, Texas, native who moved to New Orleans after her "formative years" in Little Rock, Ark. Her father, Lance, has been a drummer in a blues band for the past 30 years. Growing up on Lance's taste in blues, soul and rock, Lady Fingaz' taste now ranges from Earth, Wind & Fire to Johnny Guitar Watson. Once she connected with hip-hop she was hooked.

Lady Fingaz first connected to a suddenly thriving underground hip-hop scene in New Orleans through Scratchmosis, a local DJ crew who paired like-minded locals with touring acts. She soon gained attention, and this summer she toured the South with a group put together by the recently formed Media Darling Records. (For a solid example of local hip-hop, check out Media Darling's recent compilation release, Humid Sounds.

But, it's at Shiloh, the hot spot she calls "my homebase," where DJ Lady Fingaz gained a rep for the best Friday night/Saturday morning throwdown in town. "They've been great to me, real supportive," she says of the club's owners." She says her artistic aim of spinning hard-hitting, groovy beats behind a deft MC's flow is balanced with keeping the party moving. "I know that I'm there for the crowd to make them feel the music."

That was the case on a sweltering Friday night recently, the crowd August-thin in Shiloh and not really dancing. Working by candlelight, Womack silently assumes her position behind the turntable, scratching and weaving through hits by old school hip-hop stalwarts such as Eric B. and Rakim, Run DMC , Digital Underground and the Black Sheep. This eventually propels the crowd to move. She's seen the Shiloh "wall to wall, shoulder to shoulder," and that energy inspires her.

Lady Fingaz is encouraged by recent growth in support in New Orleans, namely through promoters/musicians such as Truth Universal and the Headz Up Nola (headzupnola.com). Such groups aim to serve her and other locals to gain respect (and gigs) for unique DJs and MCs. "A lot of people think of a DJ as a jukebox, but turntables are an instrument, and I am a musician." - Gambit Weekly


"Lady Fingaz; Last Night, A DJ Saved My Life"

SF Station (SFS): What is the inspiration behind your name - Lady Fingaz?

Lady Fingaz (LF): I have to say, I found it extremely hard to come up with a clever name myself, so a few friends of mine in New Orleans dubbed me "Lady Fingaz".

SFS: How and why did you decide to pursue the career of a DJ?

LF: Music has been an influential part of my life from day one. My father is a blues drummer and I was singing with the band and learning piano as a child before I could barely walk! As a teenager when I first discovered hip hop I fell in love! I had to be a part of the culture in some form or fashion. I then found DJing and turntablism, and was most fascinated by scratching. From that day forward I bought turntables and began down a path that I never knew would become such a passion of mine.

SFS: You often play with, and mix a lot, of old school hip hop. What is so appealing about hip hop to you personally?

LF: Hip hop is not just a genre to me - it’s a culture. From the way you wear your clothes to the slang that you speak, it’s a way of life. I relate with the conscious side of hip hop mainly, but I do love all the party tracks as well. I especially love the old school for sure! It is the foundation of this genre just as all the classic R&B, jazz, funk, and blues I was raised on, and from which hip hop is sampled.

SFS: What is the importance of retaining these old school hip hop beats to younger generations?

LF: So they can hear the messages that the original innovators of hip hop were spreading; that it's not all about rims, bank rolls, and honeys!

SFS: Being a woman in this industry, what are some obstacles you had to overcome? Any important messages you would like to spread to young aspiring female DJs?

LF: Being a woman in a predominantly male industry has its setbacks and benefits. In some instances, you intimidate males just for being a woman. They might instantly underestimate you, which is then the point in which you flex your skills and let them know your not to be toyed with! On the other hand it can help you get a foot in the door, but this all must be backed by real skill.
My only message is to never let intimidation hold you back from anything. If you have a passion then let it thrive. We aren’t female DJs, we are just DJs!

SFS: Who are some of your favorite artists to mix?

LF: Wow that’s hard! I have so many favorite artists. I run it all from the Meters to E-40 to Tribe! As well as my original beats. I produce, scratch, and mix. A typical set includes 2 turntables, an MPC, and a whole lot of cuttin’!

SFS: Which are some of your favorite local venues?

LF:Those would include Elbo Room, Mezzanine, American Music Hall, Madrone Lounge, and Rickshaw…hmmmm sooo many awesome venues!

SFS: What would you say is different about the San Francisco DJ scene and the NOLA scene?

LF: They are very different indeed. The scene in Frisco is amazing! I feel I can catch any genre of music here and find an amazing scene to go along with it as well as a very diverse fan base, which is so refreshing. In the south the scene was small, but the crew Media Darling Records I ran with came up strong regarding underground hip hop. New Orleans is of course known for the funk and jazz! So I have to say living in NOLA was a lesson in music! I feel so privileged to have seen, played with, and meet some of the most influential and best musicians of our times while living in the Big Easy. The DJs in NOLA are doing their best to keep the scene alive after Katrina, and have been really reviving the city so go spend your tourist dollars in New Orleans the city needs it! - SF Station


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

As the child of a musician some of Lady Fingaz' earliest memories revolve around the stage, taking in her father's gigs, and often sitting in to sing with the band. From this musical beginning she began studying piano, and in her teenage years Lady Fingaz would discover and enthrall herself in her first true love; hip-hop. Soon this Austin, Texas native found her element, better known as turntablist, producer, and vocalist Dj Lady Fingaz. Moving to New Orleans Louisiana in 2001 she kept perfecting her craft all while earning two bachelor degrees in Business at the University of New Orleans. It was in New Orleans where she would quickly make a name for herself as a rising female talent in an all too often male dominated genre. In 2004 Lady Fingaz collaborated with local independent label Media Darling Records, and toured the U.S. along some of the label's most talented artists. Later that year she was honored with "Best Emerging Hip-Hop Artist" by Offbeat's Best of the Beats awards for her accomplishments throughout New Orleans. Lady Fingaz has played alongside such artists as Floetry, Galactic, Live Human, Killah Priest, Dj Disk, MC Chris, Murs, and Saul Williams just to name a few. She was also a featured performer at the 2005 Essence Music Festival, and she participated in the 2005 Voodoo Fest. In 2006 Lady Fingaz joined the roster of "Females Wit Funk" a crew of all female turntablists which includes Djs Shortee, Annalyze, Killa-Jewel, and Tyra from Saigon. Following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, Dj Lady Fingaz relocated to San Francisco where she continues her musical path. So now, after accomplishing so much in just a few years, its easy to see why Lady Fingaz has attracted so many people, and even easier to expect wonderful things from her in the future.