This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
By chance, MC/DJ/producer Divine a.k.a. Stephanie de Wit-Kok and me, ran into each other during Dancefair 2017. These days we see each other regulary at festivals like The Promised Land. Of course, I asked her about her first gig. "I had a ton of music on a USB stick, and no idea where to find anything."
“My very first DJ gig was in 2014 at a small club in The Hague called Famous. It’s a gay club with a mix of music. People know me as MC DiVine, a cheerful MC, a role I’ve been in for over a decade. In 2008, I won first place in the Fresh Cotton/Sneakerz MC Contest, which led to a contract with 1Management, the biggest agency in the Netherlands at the time. Despite my MC career, I wanted to expand my horizons in the music industry. That’s why I delved into DJing. I didn’t want to depend on a DJ or producer anymore; I wanted to do my own thing. The talented producer and DJ Awiin gave me lessons, and after just one session, I had mixing down. After lots of practice at home, I finally had my debut DJ performance at Famous.”
“When I first started DJing, I practiced at home with a Numark DJ mix-deck. Awiin taught me with a Pioneer XDJ-R1. After saving up, I sold my Numark and got the Pioneer XDJ-R1. You can tell right away when you’ve outgrown your equipment. Nowadays, I’m using my current baby: a Pioneer XDJ-RX. It’s a game-changer! It’s just like the Pioneers you find in clubs but all-in-one.”
“I was super nervous that first time. I had a ton of music on a USB stick, and no idea where to find anything. A good friend of mine, producer and DJ Ninon Lijong, taught me how to use Rekordbox. It was a game-changer.” (laughs) “She gave me tips on how to organize my music for better performances. Once I understood how Rekordbox worked, my mixing improved, and I could use effects.”
“Afterwards, I started doing more vocal DJing, which means I hype up the crowd or sing along with tracks I love. At first, I had a different DJ name: La Blanche, because my last name is De Wit. But I didn’t feel like it suited me, so I decided to stick with my original artist name. Everyone knows me as DiVine anyway. Recently, I even had merchandise made with the DiVine name: stickers, caps, flags, and shirts. Super cool!”
“As I gained more confidence, I kept making mixtapes and receiving recognition for my DJing skills. Soon, I was playing at incredible parties like NYX in Amsterdam, Filemon & Baucis in Utrecht, Club Villa Thalia in Rotterdam, De Kast in Groningen, The Suicide Club in Rotterdam, O&N Nhow Hotel in Rotterdam, DODO Festival in Bakkeveen, LOUD in Rotterdam, WTF in Rotterdam, Kiss Bang Cruise in Amsterdam, La Cage in Amsterdam, and during Amsterdam Gay Pride. I’ve also recently played in Curaçao, where I get booked regularly.”
“I’ve even started my own concept called Shuffle, held at Filemon & Baucis in Utrecht. Of course, I DJ there myself, and my friends Kai, Lim de la Cruz, and Jill Kleinjan, or other cool artists, take turns behind the decks.”
Soulful 'Happy' Tech House
“I have many heroes, but my favorites are Tchami, Shadow Child, Mark Knight, MK, Secondcity, Route94, EDX, Tensnake, Benny Rodrigues, Jamie Jones, Roog, Low Steppa, Franky Rizardo, Martin Solveig, Ferreck Dawn, Calvin Harris, Redondo, Joe Stone, and Dropgun. I’m booked based on my music taste, which is soulful ‘happy’ tech house. Delightful!”
“I’m often taken under the wing of a good friend, DJ Lim de la Cruz. He also taught me how to DJ. I’m not scared to perform anymore; I grow in my skills every day. When I’m DJing, I want to be a beast and deliver a monster set. I’ve even built my own studio at home and, for the first time, I’m producing my own tracks, alongside the talented producers Ubi and Moloy. My latest track, ‘The Key,’ with Maikel Telussa and Patrick Tijsen, was released this year on Groove Tom Records (Poland). Many more exciting collaborations are on the horizon, and I’ll be performing in Curaçao again in July and September this year.”
The Wild Life
“Besides DJing and MCing, I work as a customer service representative at a housing corporation in The Hague. I always say, ‘A regular life during the week, and the wild life on weekends!'”
“The sky is the limit, and I’m far from done. I might have a long road ahead, but I can proudly say I did it all on my own. Just watch me; I’ll continue to amaze you.”
This interview with DiVine is originally published on DJMag.nl on March 30th 2017.
Who is DiVine?
DiVine was born in 1985 on the beautiful Island of Curaçao (Dutch Antilles). She’s from a very creative family, which awakened a love for dancing and singing at an early age. At the age of 10 she moved to the Netherlands with her mother and little sister. In 2004, DiVine decided to move to The Hague to broaden her horizon. She completed her European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Science and also her second study in 2009, Media & Entertainment Management, also in The Hague. Stephanie decided to follow her dream and use the talents she inherited from her family. In 2006 she started her career as Divinemelody aka MC DiVine, a vocal MC.
Next to singing on lounge, soulfull house, deep house, nu house, future house, disco, techno, tech house and house music, DiVine used to perform in a gospel band in Friesland in 2001. In 2002 she was part of the rock band called “Divine Melody” and in 2007/2008 she rocked in the Dutch Hip Hop group called “Vadis Music”. Finally, DiVine came to that point in life where she wanted to be. After a huge success as MC in Madrid and winning third prize in the Fresh Cotton/Sneakerz MC Contest 2008 for a contract at 1Management, baby steps became giant steps.
DiVine has performed with big names like Quintino, Larry Tee, Biggi, Fedde Le Grand, The Shapeshifters, Stonebridge, Hardwell, Lucien Foort, Baggi Begovic, Gregor Salto, Sidney Samson, Roog, Erick E, Carita la Nina, Tony Cha Cha, Miss Monica, Jean, D-Rashid, Billy the Kit, Michael Mendoza, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, to name a few. She performed on parties and clubs like Sneakerz, Lakedance, Loveland, Framebusters, ADE, Betty Ford Memorial, Flirtation, Milkshake Festival, Valtifest, Bungalup, Gaypride, Roze Zaterdag, HIM Festival, Club Blinq, The Viproom and many more. Also international performances in Belgium, Germany, Portugal, France, Curaçao, Aruba & Madrid.
DiVine has also produced a couple of tracks with the help of Fare Soldi (Riotmaker Records), Jody Bernal & Nicolas Nox (BigBoss Records), Charmes (Flashover Recordings), Djeem (Housepital Records), Baramuda & Row Sunshine (Spinnin’ Records), Cliff Jones (BIP Belgium), Rob Boskamp (Big Boss Records & NEWS Records), Awiin (Big Boss Records) & Oliver Twizt (Spinnin’ Records). Right now, DiVine is involved in some very interesting projects, working with some well-known people, so stay tuned for more!