We Talked Creativity, Inspiration And Online Notting Hill Carnival With DJ Carmen

We’ve got the 29th August in our digital diaries.


We managed to catch up with award-winning DJ and radio host, DJ Carmen, about digital Notting Hill Carnival, lockdown and her career so far. 

It is so amazing to chat with you Carmen. How are you feeling right now? 

Likewise!  I’m in a happy mood right now. With everything that’s going on in the world, I think right now the only thing to feel is gratefulness. The sun is out and we’re having good weather.

So firstly, we are all dying to hear all about Digital Notting Hill Carnival, what can you share with us?

Never underestimate what can be achieved when everyone comes together. I guess you will have to wait for the rest. But what I can promise is the Carnival spirit is in full effect. We will be bringing the same energy and vibe that we normally bring to Carnival. So, expect steel bands, food & drink shows, sound-systems and the same things you would see and experience at Carnival. 

Tell us, how did you find yourself on the DJ scene?

To be honest it all just happened so randomly. I’m a woman who sets her eyes on the prize and goes for it. At age 17, I began with what was just an idea and before I knew it, I was DJing every weekend at different birthday parties. In 2013, I started launching my own events. During this time, I networked hard to get gigs and word of mouth did its thing. 2013 onwards was when I knew that was more than a hobby, but that this is a career I want to excel in. 

So other than Notting Hill Carnival what is next for you long term? Any cool projects or events?

I run my own event called ‘Bad Bitches’, however in light of COVID-19, plans stopped abruptly. It’s hard to say at present as things are slowly beginning to pick up but living in uncertain times means nothing is definite. As soon as I can get the green light, I’ll be starting up my events again. I was also meant to be in Malta, but the universe had something else in store. However, as there’s not much to do as a DJ, I’ve been planning to teach myself how to produce music. 

Speaking of COVID-19, how has lockdown been affecting you? And how have you been keeping yourself inspired? 

It has definitely hit me hard, not being able to go to the clubs every weekend and DJ. However, what has been great to experience, and witness is taking creativity to the next level. The ability to use social platforms to interact and expand my network. Not going to lie, for a DJ it is very different when you don’t have a crowd in front of you. You literally have to gas yourself in your house and engage through comments. I have done loads of guest mixes for radio stations like No Signal and also taking part in new ventures. So, I can’t say good things have not come from lockdown.

What would you say has been the biggest moment in your career so far? Any cool stories you can share with us?

The biggest moment in my career so far has to be becoming an official DJ for Notting Hill Carnival. Becoming an international DJ playing in countries such as Jamaica, France and Greece. I have also had the opportunity to be the opening DJ for Kojo Funds’ Golden Boy Tour. Supporting Alicai Harley was my first experience being a part of a tour journey and It was epic. Another big experience I’ve had was having my own show on BBC 1Xtra and Radio 1. 

Any words of advice for someone looking to break into the music world?

Passion & hard work. Passion is what drives you, motivates you and elevates you. Hard work is what will feed your success. Just like many industries. it is not always what people may think it is. The music industry is a colorful place so if you are prepared to work hard, it’s a ready-made formula to be successful.

Who would you consider your greatest heroes and inspiration? 

My mum is my everything. She inspires me with her strength, kindness, determination and positivity. My mum has always believed in me and taught me you can achieve anything if you really want it and work hard for it. She is my hero.

That’s so amazing. 

As an openly queer and black female creative, how do you believe the world is adjusting in terms of acknowledging your identity? Have you noticed any progress within the music? 

The world is on a journey. For me, I have not ever felt I needed to alter who I am or what I am. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has also helped to highlight queer causes. There’s now hashtags such as  #AllBlackLivesMatter, #BlackTransLivesMatter and #BlackQueerLivesMatter. 

Photography: Kiera Simpson and Elena Tarrano


Next upInside The Gifted Mind Of Najja Iman