PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SAM KFARE
Soulection’s Persian vibe provider Sahar Habibi covers our Spring/Summer 2017 print issue of SWGRUS. In Vol. 003, we talk to one of our favorite Chicago DJs Sahar on learning how to spin, being apart of Soulection and favorite moments of being the crowd controlla.
Being a female DJ in the scene, how does it compare to your male counterparts?
I think by being a female DJ, it gives me a more flexible, diverse set. Definitely not saying males can’t and don’t do this – but I think for me, personally, I’m not scared to throw in an Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child, Monica, Missy Elliott, etc track in a set, versus it might not be a ‘go-to’ track for males. For me, it’s pretty easy to win a male audience when I’m DJing, but if you also hit the ladies soft spot with certain songs, you take the trophy.
Soulection is a premiere music brand at this point, how has that relationship help your DJ pursuits?
I’m thankful to be surrounded by talented producers, DJ’s, music diggers. Any time I get the chance to be around them or at their sets, I’m always taking mental notes. And it’s always a reminder for me to get better or to go after DJing.
Soulection gave me the opportunity to release a ‘Soulection & Chill’ mix with them last year, which I was very grateful for. That mix definitely helped pick up some buzz and bring new fans to light.
How many hours did it take to learn to DJ?
It took me 2 semesters of school to learn, and then I invested in a controller so I can practice at home. I ended up practicing and teaching myself other tricks and techniques and perfecting what I learned all summer. I’m still learning more as I go… never not learning. But I would say it took me about a year to get all the basic fundamentals down.
Who taught you or inspired you to become a DJ?
Some of my friends from Indianapolis were DJing and I fell in love with the craft and since then I always wanted to learn. At that time, too, is when I discovered SoundCloud in 2011 and started digging into mixes – and that gave me an eager to learn even more. None of the people I knew wanted to take the initiative to teach me, so when I moved to Chicago and transferred to Columbia College Chicago, I noticed they had a DJ class. First semester my Junior year, I dropped a course I needed for my major to enroll in a DJ class and the rest is history.
What has been your favorite crowd response regarding being a DJ?
Opening up for Kaytranada back in October. It was a sold out show of 1,500 at Concord Music Hall, and the energy and reaction of the crowd was so lively and responsive. I feel like I could play whatever I wanted and they would just react to it so positively. I would look up in the crowd and they’d just be screaming the words, dancing and looking like they were having so much fun. It was an amazing feeling knowing that that came from under my control.
Most memorable night since starting DJing?
Most recently, Chance The Rapper x GQ After Party for the GRAMMYs! So many people were there! It was in LA and it felt like the whole city of Chicago was there celebrating — as well as so many other inspiring artists. It was a lovely way to see everyone celebrate the first ever independent grammy nominated artist!
Favorite song to play?
Favorite song to play while DJing? That’s tough. I’m bad with ‘Favorites.’ Let’s go with…. ‘Where The Party At’ by Jagged Edge featuring Nelly.
Favorite artist alive and dead?
Michael Jackson, Aaliyah, Tupac are easily my top 3 dead. Anyone around me knows that these are my people!! I can’t name favorite artist alive. It switches up with the seasons. At the moment, I can say Anderson .Paak.
What artist do you secretly love that no one would expect you to?
People probably would never guess that I’m the biggest fan girl of Paramore. Top 5 favorite band/artists. People don’t know that I have a major Warped Tour side of me.
If you’re weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would it be?
I’m not sure. I would definitely be doing something in music still.. Probably somewhere in events or music marketing. Outside of music? Probably an elementary school teacher.
What artist embodies Soulection the most in your head right now?
Joe Kay. he’s the founder of Soulection and the weekly host of Soulection radio. He oversees everything.
Pre-order Vol. 003 featuring stories on Mano, Chance The Rapper and more in the online shop.
Terrell Johnson is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of SWGRUS.