Mid-Week Intermission: Friend Edition with DJ Lauren Light

Friends don’t let friends listen to lame music. That’s one of many reasons we’re just plain giddy that we can call DJ Lauren Light one of our friends! She’s put together a stellar lineup of local DJs to curate only the most immaculate vibes before every Drop-In this summer. So like any good friend, we sat down with Lauren to get to know her better, get the scoop on how she fashioned this summer’s DJ lineup, and what advice she has to up-and-comers.  

LONG CENTER: What’s your story? How long have you been in Austin and how did you get into the DJ  scene here?

LAUREN LIGHT: I grew up in El Paso, TX, raised by my mom who is an educator. As the oldest of three sisters, I felt a lot of pressure to model success. I graduated high school with aspirations of becoming a doctor and earned a Biology degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Despite being accepted to medical school, my path took an unexpected turn leading me to end medical school early, a year shy of graduating.

Feeling lost, I moved to Austin and discovered a passion for teaching at a local middle school. This led me into school leadership, and I eventually became an Assistant Principal at an elementary school. The pandemic brought a new, intense stress to education, pushing me to reevaluate my career. After reflecting deeply, I realized many of my choices up to this point were influenced by others’ expectations.

I decided to take a bold leap, venturing into entrepreneurship, initially supporting creatives before recognizing my own creative potential. Having played saxophone for over 20 years, music was a natural fit. Encouraged by a friend, I enrolled in a few DJ classes at Cuatro Gato and instantly connected with the craft. From there, my decision to fully dive in just felt right.

DJ Lauren Light // Photo by Brynn Osborn

LC: What has it been like to join the Austin DJ scene?

LL: I’ve only experienced the DJ scene in Austin, and it’s been an incredible journey so far! I’ve been DJing for just over two years now, and looking back, it’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown. Austin’s scene is filled with seasoned DJs who have been here for years, and I feel honored to be part of such a talented community.

I’ve been fortunate to play at some fantastic venues and establish a regular booking schedule. Beyond performing, I’ve started curating my own events and supporting initiatives like The Drop-In by booking DJs. This summer, I’m excited to teach DJing at Femme Rock’s Intro to DJing course and lead sessions at the Austin Public Library for tween girls, focusing on building confidence through DJ skills.

Austin provides a rich landscape of opportunities and resources, allowing DJs like myself to explore and create. As I prepare to split my time between Austin and Nashville starting in July, I’m eager to bring what I’ve learned here to foster a community in Nashville. I hope to find a collaborative and vibrant scene there, continuing to learn from seasoned DJs and contribute to the music community.

DJ Lauren Light // Photo by Meredith Katz
DJ Helios at The Drop-In // Photo by Encima Media

LC: Not only have you DJ’d a few Drop-In shows for us in the past, but this year you’ve also put together a stellar lineup of queer & female DJs (which we love!) – how did you go about curating who would be warming up the crowd this summer? 

LL: Having the opportunity to curate the lineup for this year’s Drop-In shows has been incredibly rewarding. One of the core principles driving my approach is ensuring diverse representation, especially for queer and female DJs who historically have had less access in our industry. This led me to create HAVEN, a platform dedicated to providing a safe and supportive space for femme DJs in Austin. HAVEN is designed as a girly kickback, cultivating a warm and inclusive environment where new DJs can showcase their talent.

All the DJs I selected for the Drop-In this summer have either been featured at HAVEN events or impressed during their open-decks sessions. I’m particularly proud of how HAVEN has opened doors for these DJs, offering them the exposure they rightfully deserve. Each DJ brings a unique energy and style to the lineup, and many of them are making significant waves in our community. For example, DJ Hip Stir founded BABE ATX and just put on an epic music festival called BABESTOCK featuring a lineup of all femme and gender-expansive DJS, while DJs like La Moon, La Morena & Lavender Thug, DJ Helios, Hierba Malita, Dj WYLDFLOWER, and Prissy P are actively shaping the local music scene with their innovative events and projects. 

DJ WYLDFLOWER at The Drop-In // Photo by Gracie Oliver

La Moon presents Playa Perreo, Saturday, July 6th at Arriba Abajo

La Morena & Lavender Thug have recently joined forces with three other queer Djs to form a DJ collective known as INDULGE.

DJ WYLDFLOWER is one of the curators behind Sunday Sessions, a beautiful community that comes together on Sunday night’s at Zilker Park 

Hierba Malita is the founder of Flwrpot.Co, a Latina led collective with a goal to uplift and nurture the BIPOC and queer creative community.

It’s been a privilege to showcase their talents at the Drop-In, and I’m excited about the positive impact they’re making both on and off the stage.

LC: As a female DJ yourself, how have you forged your own path in a world that’s pretty male-dominated? What challenges have you faced?

LL: Being a female DJ in a predominantly male-dominated industry has certainly been a journey of navigating challenges and carving out my own path. Recently, I encountered a situation where I received unusual feedback from a venue where I’ve been performing regularly. When I sought clarification on the feedback, it became apparent that the standards applied to me were not consistently applied to my male counterparts. Reviewing my recorded sets revealed discrepancies between the feedback and my actual performance, highlighting a narrower margin of error I face as a woman in this field.

Initiatives like HAVEN and local organizations such as BABE ATX are vital in providing platforms for women and non-binary individuals to access equitable opportunities. These spaces are crucial because traditional open-deck events often lack gender diversity, with few women and non-binary participants. Research underscores how confidence and gender intersect, affecting everything from job applications to classroom participation. To create a truly equitable landscape, we must not only increase representation on lineups but also establish supportive environments and frameworks that nurture the exceptional talent within our community.

This experience has reinforced my commitment to advocating for inclusivity and fairness within the DJ scene. By fostering these safe spaces and challenging outdated norms, we can empower a new generation of diverse DJs to thrive and shape the future of music.

DJ Lauren Light // Photo by Jasmine Porter

LC: When preparing for a live set, how do you decide what’s right for an event like The Drop-In? Do you go in with a strict plan or is it all vibes? 

LL: I love this question because every DJ approaches it differently! I’m all about the vibes. Honestly, I’ve never planned out a set in advance. Instead, I curate a crate of music beforehand and roll with it on the day of the event. I put a lot of thought into what goes into that crate, so by the time I hit play, I know the tracks are gonna hit!

Reading the crowd is key. I can feel when people are vibing with the music, and I’m always ready to switch things up if needed. Being a vibe curator means being tuned in to the energy of the room. It’s like this whole flow of energy that you tap into and work with. To me, the best DJs are those who can feel the vibe and play off it—they’re like musical alchemists, turning the energy into something magical.

LC: Do you have any tips or tricks for someone looking to break into the scene? 

LL: Absolutely!

1️⃣ Breaking into the scene requires embracing mistakes boldly – don’t be afraid to mess up, and do it loudly and proudly! It’s easy to fall into the perfectionism trap, especially for women, but remember that you’ll probably sound bad before you sound good. Pushing through the awkward stages is all part of the journey. 

2️⃣ Two, surround yourself with a supportive community where you can learn, grow, and receive constructive feedback. This will make a huge difference in your progress and confidence. 

3️⃣ Be sure to avoid comparisons because everyone’s journey is unique, and that’s what makes each story special. No one can do it like you do, so focus on your path and celebrate your progress. 

4️⃣ Consistent practice is key; the more you engage with live audiences, the more you’ll improve. Take every opportunity to perform and hone your skills. 

5️⃣ And finally, stay on top of the administrative side of things. Manage your emails, use a calendar to keep track of your schedule, and handle contracts and other logistics professionally. The people you work with will appreciate you for this.

LC: Any upcoming projects or shows you’re looking forward to that you’d like to shout out? Where can people catch you regularly? 

LL: I’ve teamed up with two incredible curators and community builders, Brandon Boone and Erinn Knight, to bring “Where Y’all At Though?!” (WYAT?!) to life. This com-tech company is designed to help Black and Brown people find and connect with each other, especially as gentrification continues to impact our communities. WYAT?! highlights the work of local curators and has grown into a vibrant community. I’m thrilled to see it continue to expand. You can follow WYAT?! on Instagram @whereyallatthough.

I’m also excited to be partnering with the Austin Public Library to offer Sparkle & Spin, a DJ confidence course for tween girls, as part of their summer programs. The first session last week was a huge success, and I’m looking forward to offering it three more times in July. For more information, visit the Austin Public Library’s website.

To keep up with my latest projects and events, follow me on Instagram @thereallaurenlight. For updates on the next HAVEN event, follow @girlykickback.

DJ Helios at The Drop-In // Photo by Encima Media
DJ Helios at The Drop-In // Photo by Encima Media

LC: What kind of atmosphere can folks look forward to at The Drop-In the rest of this season?

LL: The rest of this season at The Drop-In is going to be incredible, with a lineup full of phenomenal women. La Morena and DJ La Moon are sure to bring a vibrant Latin vibe that you won’t want to miss. Lavender Thug‘s mic work is unparalleled – she’s hilarious and an exceptional DJ, so be sure to catch one of her unfiltered sets at Neon Grotto or Cheer Up Charlies. Hierba Malita is a whole vibe on her own. DJs sHallmix, Shanila, and the duo Jazelle Allure all impressed me during their open-decks sets at Haven, and they’re absolutely amazing. I wish we could have a Mid-Week Intermission just to showcase all of them!

The Drop-In runs every Thursday this summer (except 4th of July of course) through August 15. You can catch any of these kickass DJs  on the H-E-B Terrace starting at 7pm, or 6:30pm for LC Members.


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

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