Who is DJ KALKUTTA? To put it simply, a talented New York based turntablist and producer affectionately referred to as Bollywood Barbie, who’s real life “Cinderella story” only adds to her intrigue. Born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India her birthparents surrendered her to a Mother Teresa founded orphanage at just 2 days old. She spent the majority of her infancy there until she was adopted by an American woman who gave her a chance at a brighter future in the United States. Growing up in Middle America she studied all aspects of music, including voice, piano, and cello- all skills that she was able to take with her when she moved to New York at 17 to study production and audio engineering at NYU’s Clive Davis Dept. of Recorded Music. One thing lead to another and she soon found herself becoming one of the country’s hottest DJ’s, providing the ultimate soundtrack for events, parties, fashion shows, and clubs across the nation, keeping party-goers on the dancefloor all night long. Kalkutta has graced the turntables at every high-profile nightclub and venue in New York City including Greenhouse, Tenjune, Juliet Supperclub, RdV, and The Griffin, amongst others. NYC may be her stomping ground, but DJ Kalkutta spin parties everywhere from a 3,000 person crowd at Harrah’s Pool in Atlantic City to a launch party for Angela & Vanessa Simmons’ Pastry Shoes in Las Vegas, which was attended by many notable guests including Michael Jordan.
Kalkutta has also shared a bill with some of the world’s hottest DJ’s ranging from Nick Cannon to Questlove to Samantha Ronson. ! !A personal visit from Prince (yes, as in the Purple One) during her NYC residency at Lex Bar landed her mentions in Page Six, US Weekly, OK! Magazine, AM New York, in addition frequent mentions in the tabloids with almost every member of the Kardashian family.! ! What really sets Kalkutta apart from most DJ’s though, is that she rocks as many concerts as she does clubs. She has shared a stage with Ke$ha, Kat De Luna, Ludacris, LMFAO, Talib Kweli, KRS-1, Jay Electronica, Theophilus London, and NinjaSonik to name a few. She also recently made her first TV appearance spinning for Melanie Fiona onBET’s Rip the Runway. Speaking of fashion, Kalkutta also provides music for several designers & brands including Betsey Johnson, Diesel, Adidas Originals, and Avril Lavigne’s clothing line—Abbey Dawn.! !Her personal magazine features even include modeling (as herself) in a K-Swiss ad for Complex Magazine, and more recently a spread & interview in YRB Magazine.
With beauty, talent, and a cross-cultural understanding, Kalkutta is seen as an ambassador for all things music, style and nightlife — it’s only a matter of time until she is viewed internationally as an entertainment icon.
crossfadr: So how did this DJing thing all begin for you?
DJ Kalkutta: Well I went to school for Production, and I was making beats, right? Of course I’m loading these things up to Myspace (which was popping at the time!) and thinking to myself it’s weird how Jay-Z hasn’t scooped one of these for his album yet. Then a friend suggested I pick up deejaying, since using Serato is walk in the park compared to operating like 3 different production programs simultaneously. I figured I would go in full-force so I could get out of the myriad of crappy jobs I was working, and here I am today!
crossfadr: Where did the name come from?
DJ Kalkutta: I was actually born in Kolkata, India and lived in the International Mission of Hope orphanage there for about half of my infancy until I was adopted by an American woman. I spell it as a hybrid of the Hindi and English spellings. It’s also the German spelling of the city, and my adoptive family is German!
crossfadr: Where do you live?
DJ Kalkutta: East Village- NYC
crossfadr: Which countries have you played?
DJ Kalkutta: Countries?! Try planets! I actually have a residency on Neptune, so that’s going pretty well….Lol Actually I’m about to make my first foray into international territory in a few days- touring Brazil! (Hmm..will probably be there when this posts now that I think of it!)
crossfadr: Are you DJing full-time?
DJ Kalkutta: Oh yesss
crossfadr: Do you currently have a residency? If so, where?
DJ Kalkutta: I’m on tour actually… Touring Brazil with Stereo Skyline & Cash Cash for a week, and then off to a national tour with Karmin. We’re doing every Jingle Ball concert- 15 cities, opening for the likes of Gaga and David Guetta… Then their album comes out and we hit the road again! Catch me if you can!
crossfadr: What’s the best venue/event you’ve ever played?
DJ Kalkutta: Oh man… Harrah’s Pool was pretty crazy! I once did a show with Kesha, LMFAO, and Ludacris, which was also dope. Also, Prince came to see me once. Closest thing to a religious experience I’ve ever had..Lol!
crossfadr: What/where was the first venue/event you’ve ever played?
DJ Kalkutta: The Adidas Originals Store in SoHo… kinda gangster for a first gig, right?
crossfadr: Which genres do you prefer playing and why?
DJ Kalkutta: I love playing really ratchet hip hop like Rick Ross or really hard old school stuff like Wu Tang because it always shocks people that this tiny girl in a floofy dress & glitter pumps is scratching in these records. I also love spinning house like Kaskade and Alesso because the energy from the room can be such a high.
crossfadr: What was the first record you bought?
DJ Kalkutta: A Tribe Called Quest “Can I Kick It?” single I think… or Will Smith “Summertime”… It was a bunch at once, and I know those were definitely in there.
crossfadr: How big is your vinyl and/or mp3 collection?
DJ Kalkutta: Eh, like 15,000 songs…Can’t front- never understood why people ask this- I always find it’s somewhat irrelevant to how well you DJ, and even less relevant to how successful you are. It’s like asking someone’s age or weight… I’ll answer it for you, though!
crossfadr: When you play, are you sets pre-planned or off-the-cuff?
DJ Kalkutta: I have crates dumb organized. So it’s all pretty much freestyle, but out of a crate of songs related to it- I have crates with names ranging from “Beckies” “Ignant Sh*t” “Top 40 Sh*tshow” “ElectroRock” ect… It also depends how much alcohol I’ve consumed.
crossfadr: Are you currently in the studio producing? If so, what are you working on?
DJ Kalkutta: I am! Working on various remixes for artists I work with and beats to hopefully give to other artists someday. And by “give”, I mean sell for lots of money.
crossfadr: When all the partying is over, how do you like to relax?
DJ Kalkutta: I live a green lifestyle. And by that I mean I recycle and drive a Prius… Or do I?
crossfadr: What’s your opinion of the DJ scene at the moment?
DJ Kalkutta: A lot of hootenanny going on in there. I’m on tour with an artist right now and can’t tell you how amazing it feels to pay no mind to the politics for this next month or so. But I will say this- DJ’s are the new rockstars. The resurgence of house and the fatigue of the hip hop scene has really brought DJ’s back into the limelight, which we’re all obviously super happy about.
crossfadr: What do you think about the digital DJ movement?
DJ Kalkutta: It’s amazing, as long as you utilize all the tools in whatever program you have and take advantage of the effects and whatnot on your mixer!
crossfadr: Name some other DJs you are feeling?
DJ Kalkutta: As far as open format, they’re all NY based- DJ Louie XIV, Chuck Barrett, Silver Medallion, Mel Debarge, and K-Styles. I’m also into Diplo, Kaskade, and Mark Ronson on a larger scale.
crossfadr: What advice would you give to up and coming DJs?
DJ Kalkutta: Go out and open for everyone you can to gain experience and even some clients, but STAY IN LINE DURING YOUR OPENING SETS. NUMBER 1 COMPLAINT OF LIFE. Oh and be nice to everyone- you never know who you’re talking to in a club.
crossfadr: What do you think about fashion and DJing?
DJ Kalkutta: They should get married. And have a baby. It would be the most awesome kid ever.
crossfadr: What are your plans for life after DJing?
DJ Kalkutta: I’m never gonna stop. You’re gonna have to wheel me into the club and attach a Serato box to my oxygen tank.