Women were — and still are — crucial to the development of the art and culture of DJing. Below, we highlight some female pioneers in the DJ industry — women who were willing to take risks that ultimately changed the game for everyone.

Written by Cleo Papadopoulos

Annie Nightingale

In 1970, Annie Nightingale made history as the first female DJ on BBC Radio 1 — and is currently its longest-serving presenter. She even holds the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a female radio presenter. She is best known for her ability to spot and support musicians —artists by the likes of David Bowie and Primal Scream. A long-time member of the DJ and radio industry, Nightingale argues that the radio is an integral platform for women to both listen to music and be heard for their own work. She helped pave the way for other female DJs to be taken seriously and to have a voice in the industry, and to this day, she encourages other women to become DJs and radio broadcasters.


Valerie Olukemi A “Kemi” Olusanya, otherwise known as Kemistry, was a pioneer of drum and bass Djing in the early 90s. She is well-known for being one half of the DJ duo Kemistry & Storm and was the co-founder of the Metalheadz record label. Up until her untimely death at the age of 35 due to a tragic car accident, Kemistry — along with her DJ partner Storm — showed that there is true importance to women in this part of the music industry. They played a pivotal role in establishing the aforementioned record label (one of the most important British labels of all time), had a residency at the era-defining Blue Note nightclub, and recorded a mix that encapsulates a whole genre (DJ Kicks)… And they did all of this with total creative independence. Kemistry is a true role model and pioneer for women in the DJ community.

DJ Rap

DJ Rap, also known as Charissa Saverio, is a world-famous drum and bass, house, and progressive electronic music DJ and producer. She is an undisputed queen of turntables and was even voted the #1 female DJ in the world. She has established herself as a CEO of her labels — Propa Talent and Impropa Talent — and a pure talent in the DJ industry. Her presence has helped pave the way for other female DJs who wish to have a voice among their male colleagues, and she has shown other women that it’s not impossible to make it big as a woman DJ.

Nancy Noise

Nancy Noise is a UK-based Balearic pioneer DJ, who spent two summers living in Ibiza, after which she went back to England and helped start the acid house movement. This movement was — and still is — such a crucial part of DJ culture and the DJ community, and to have a woman at the forefront of it is a powerful representation that women can do anything. Looking at Nancy Noise, we must acknowledge the outstanding contribution that female DJs have made to the industry.


Magda is an internationally active DJ and music producer who is most well-known for her contribution to the minimal techno field of the DJ world. She is among the most high-profile and in-demand artists and has proved herself as a consistent, adventurous, and exceptional performer with a pure talent for mixing music in new and unexpected ways. As a successful female DJ, Madga shows listeners and DJ-lovers that women can be pioneers of the industry. She is an inspiration for all aspiring and successful female DJs alike.


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