THE SPIN MASTER.
Lauren Abedini, known to the music world as KITTENS, is playing Coachella the same day as Beyoncé.
The DJ, Producer, Intersectional Feminist, and founder of @PWRxKITTENS, her non-profit DJ workshop for women, that raises money for women's shelters, is tripping out about it.
It's not like she hasn't seen her share of star power before. In 2013 landed a gig as Kid Cudi’s tour DJ. From there she met Usher, who couldn't help but ask if she was really DJing. Now signed to A-trak’s record label, Fool’s Gold and is favorite from coast to coast. She also travels internationally constantly. Not shabby for an LA kid who jumped into the DJ industry early on, noticing a lack of female talent on the 1s and 2s. She bought herself turntables and with the help of friends learned the ropes.
Homies with C&C 100 alum So Super Sam and Vashtie, KITTENS knows that there's power in the female DJ and music community.
More from Lauren below.
Name: Lauren Abedini
Instagram Handle: @iamkittens
Where do your drive and passion come from?
Wanting to help people for sure. I know I need to get myself to a certain level where my voice is truly heard to make a difference in the world so everything I do and create is with that goal in mind. Fame and recognition don't matter, it's just a tool to build a platform where I can inspire change.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
I'm an obsessively tidy person so anything that is not that, drives me insane! Cabinets or drawers left open, random items were thrown around, unorganized and unnecessary messes...All sure to set me off!
In addition to DJ'ing and producing, you also how PWR. Can you chat a little about why that was an important move for you?
PWR has been a very important project for me because I feel that there's a lack of mentorship and direct opportunity for women to learn tools to succeed in the professional world, especially the music/DJ industry. I wanted to provide a safe space for women to learn new skills, tips on how to navigate the industry, and get a heads up on obstacles they may face. All things I wish I had someone show me. This doesn't just stop at women though, all intersectional oppressing factors limit opportunities for growth for minorities and I just feel like we can bridge gaps by empowering these different groups through education and mentorship.
We hear the words "male-dominated," every single day. Do you think that has a negative and empowering effect on young women?
Personally, I now see the term 'male-dominated' as a challenge and call to action. It ignites my drive to succeed despite expectations, but I remember being younger it really brought on a lot of hesitation for me. I waited years to start DJing when I had been wanting to for so long. I hear from so many of my PWR attendees that they've always wanted to learn but have been scared for this exact reason. I think now we can shift this perspective and help young women see this as a challenge and opportunity to prove people wrong. The barriers to entry are lower than ever. It's time to get in there and shine bright.
You've said that in the beginning, lesbian clubs were the only ones that would hire you. Why do you think that was?
Pretty simple! They wanted to hire DJ's who were lesbians and it didn't matter how new or inexperienced I was. Other clubs only really hired the saaame guys who had been playing in the city forever or wanted to girl DJ's who presented a more hyper-feminine, sexy vibe, which has never been my thing. I really appreciate those promotors who gave me that space to sharpen my teeth when no one else would. I still thank them to this day when I see them.
I really appreciate those promotors who gave me that space to sharpen my teeth when no one else would. I still thank them to this day when I see them.
When you run into a career obstacle, what drives you forward?
I admit I have my insecurities, and when certain obstacles come my way it can are them up. I have learned to stop and meditate to reset my energy. To turn from self-doubting to empowering, because I know my purpose. I know that I HAVE to push forward so I will find any means to get through those moments. Having a manager who is a close friend that understands me and is super motivating as well helps a lot too.
What are your biggest fears about being your own boss?
Not succeeding...which I think every self-employed person fears! If you fail you're not just letting your team down, you're letting yourself down. Everything relies on the moves you make. It's a lot of pressure.
What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?
It is NOT glamorous at all. It's truly one of the most exhausting things to spend an entire day traveling, dealing with airports/tour buses, rushing to soundcheck, then trying to keep your energy up to perform and smile when interacting with fans, all to be alone in a hotel after before the cycle starts again. Being away from home and not on a balanced schedule really takes a toll physically and emotionally so self-care is SUPER important to me.
IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated with other people's work?
Taking a step back and shutting off from current media is SO important in my opinion. So much current art/music is just a regurgitation which is so boring. Whenever I nd myself feeling stagnant and needing fresh inspiration I always go back to my roots. I turn off the radio. I stay off Instagram. I play the music I have loved my entire life since childhood. I meditate (my answer for everything basically) and try to visualize my authentic self-glowing. Getting out in nature really helps a lot too. Pulling inspiration from the constant things in your world instead of grasping at new trends just seems like the most helpful to me always.
What about your career makes you feel the most complete?
Feedback from fans and followers about how I have helped them. Hands down. Knowing that I have inspired someone in their personal or professional life will always make me feel like.."Yes...I'm on the right path. This is what I'm supposed to be doing.
If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?
This is so silly but honestly, a cake decorator. It's always been one of my favorite things to watch my whole life. I think the combination of creativity, need for precision, and the calming effects of playing with frosting all just make me super happy. Plus, being around desserts that I would probably get to taste is a huge bonus.
At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?
I have had a few moments that inspired real confidence, but the most important and recent one was when I started working with my friend Armand who now manages me. He's helped me really blossom and supported all of my ideas. Having someone who can help make sense of your thoughts and cheer you on makes a world of difference.
What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?
Don't let fear hold you back. It seems so obvious and cliché but it's the most real thing ever. There is so much time wasted with hesitation and with that comes guilt or regret. You really have to suck it up and just take that leap every time or else you won't ever know where you could be.
When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?
I know myself very well and making decisions while filled with anxiety is never helpful. I always take some time to calm down, then approach the situation as logically as possible. There's always an answer but you might be blind to it if you're in a panic.
What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?
Erykah Badu 'Window Seat.'
Photo Credit: @davisfactor