DJ Dripsweat is a Milwaukee artist to be reckoned with. A top performer with eclectic taste, she’s known for being genre-fluid and exceptionally intentional as she serves up something for everyone in the room. Dripsweat had creative ambitions from an early age and grew up drawing, dancing and writing poetry. Her DJ name, she came up with when she was around 10 while watching hip hop culture on BET and MTV.
“There was always so much music in my house,” she explained. “Thanks to both of my parents, I had a wide reach and really had to pay attention to what made people dance. In middle school and high school I was on the dance team, and in high school I became captain. I went to UWM for college and during my sophomore year I was introduced to the Milwaukee music community.
After playing in a few bands, Dripsweat got into DJing through Scratch Sessions, a free program hosted by DJ Bizzon that taught young people the basics of becoming successful DJs.
“He saw potential in me,” she said of Bizzon. “He invited me to do a gig with him in a place where the owner also saw potential in me. I gained a lot of experience very quickly and was able to pay for my controller, and since then I’ve been rocking .
From Femfest to Summerfest
Their first real gig was on Halloween 2016. Since then, Dripsweat have landed spots at major events ranging from Summerfest to Pridefest to Femfest. She doesn’t box herself when it comes to what she plays; hip hop, R&B, house, indie rock, funk and just about anything you could dance to every drop in her wheelhouse. For example, one of her mixes is dedicated to Tame Impala enthusiasts while others are dedicated to strong and powerful black women around the world.
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“A lot of my early mixes are actually live recordings of my shows,” she said. “It always varies with the audience and who’s showing up, so that’s a lot of what feels good right now. I rarely fully plan a set so I can stay mindful of the crowd. I wanted to be more specific, so I started doing thematic mixes, and earlier this year I dropped one of my radio shows from ‘Condensed.’ I want them to mean something to people, whether it’s for them to explore new other black women in the music industry or so they can just perform with them.
Dripsweat also produces, which for her goes hand in hand with DJing.
As he approached, she said, “Things come to me a lot. I did a lot of editing and mixing mashups; I have this running list of notes of over a hundred different ideas right now (laughs). I can just hear a song over another song, and it really comes down to how I hear music. I can separate the drums and keys and enjoy the musicality. I think understanding patterns while I’m DJing helps my production skills. Some of my favorite producers growing up are the greatest of all time… Pharrell, Missy Elliott and Timbaland… Timbaland spoke to me in a different way because he always added his own personal voice and beatboxing abilities into the music. For me and my creation, it’s always like that for me too.
More recently, she has become a sound healing practitioner. “When I discovered the music scene in Milwaukee,” Dripsweat recalls, “I met a lot of musicians who really piqued my curiosity about what music is on an energetic level…on a physical level. .. of the wave that hits your ear and how it makes you feel. It is my duty and responsibility to study sound as the person who produces it. There are now experiments where you can see how the “Music affects plants in different ways. To me, everything is music and always has been; there’s a pulse in the Earth and a pulse in your day-to-day relationships.”
After digging into sound healing around 2016, DJing became her main focus for a while. “Then in 2019 a traumatic event happened and I decided to focus on a lot of different healing techniques,” Dripsweat said.
“Sound meant the most to me…sound and plants, actually. I moved to a farm and started learning from a friend, and it was very interesting to me that we had the chakra system like the musical note system… I just had to have the right vibe. I grabbed some metal and crystal bowls and a set of tuning forks, which are relatively new, so I didn’t get to use them much. I did a few sessions with a yoga community on the beach, which is really fun and really hot (laughs). But it feels like I’m sitting with the bowls and having an intuitive process, starting soft and slow before going where the journey takes us. I’m still learning a lot and definitely have more experience to gain, but it really feels good whether you’re here to pick up the knowledge you need or just to relax. Ultimately, relaxation is my goal because that’s when the body begins to heal and repair itself.
As for this summer, DJ Dripsweat is fresh off the farm and getting back into a busy schedule. You can first find her mixing at Brewers’ Pride Night on June 8, then hosting the “Sweat It Off” party at Company Brewing on June 24, and then performing at Summerfest the next day. She will also DJ at select Company Brewing brunches, again at Summerfest with Wes Tank July 8-2, Michigan’s Blissfest July 8-10, and Kenosha’s Beach Front Arts Fest July 31.