Radio influences and New Jersey roots are key to success
If you have ever had a night out in Asbury Park, you most definitely have had DJ Tallspeedy as the soundtrack to your evening. From the now-shuttered Cascada, to Georgies and Paradise, Tallspeedy (Jennifer Hernandez) is a local who is making a name for herself throughout the Garden State. And she is slowly spreading her wings beyond the state as well.
Right off the bat, how did you get into the world of DJing?
DJ Tallspeedy: I was always into music when I was younger; my parents always had music blasting in the morning or at night! Me and my brother used to throw a lot of parties when we were younger, we would always put like the best dance music together. To this day, I still have my old CD collections from the 90s and early 2000s. When I was around 26, my friend said, “why don’t you try and DJ?” We bought everything, and my friend let me play at a family baby shower. Of course, I did it for free so I can get some practice in. They loved the music I was playing and invited me to play again the following week.
At the second party, there was a promoter there. She messaged me a few weeks later to see if I wanted to do a Spanish night at La Sierra, the old Cascada in Asbury Park. Of course I said yes, even though I had never played at a club before. I took the challenge! I ended up playing there for about seven years until we moved the Mondays to Paradise. In those seven years, I got hired for a lot of parties. All from people hearing me at La Sierra, or the old Cascada. And the rest is history.
For those who have never heard your sound, how would you describe it?
DJTS: A mix of everything. I’ll take you back in time to the 70s, 80s and 90s, then have you dancing a little bit of Spanish, then bring it back with the top 40. Over the years, I’ve learned to read the crowd, so every single person can hear the music that they like.
It’s hard to climb the ladder and become one of the “go-to” DJs in New Jersey; what do you think the secret is to your success?
DJTS: Definitely knowing a lot of people! Word of mouth is the most powerful. My friends share my flyers and they talk me up to other people. But also, I’m overall a nice person. I can get along with anyone who crosses my path. So, I think that helps a lot.
Georgies and Paradise are two spots you are known to be found throwing beats down in; what is it like spinning at both of these places in terms of crowd and energy?
DJTS: Spinning at Georgie’s is different than Paradise. I love playing at both places, but it does have different energy. When I am at Georgie’s, its more laid back, people just want to come hang out have a drink, hear some music. But, I do get them dancing when I’m there, especially at the patio bar.
Now Paradise is amazing energy! It is the absolute best feeling to have a dance floor packed with everyone dancing to the music you are playing. I hope to DJ the main floor more often. But they like to have different DJ’s there, which is good. Everyone has their own style of music.
Who are some of your DJ and musical influences?
DJTS: Believe it or not, listening to WKTU growing up, made me love music even more. I follow a lot of DJs on social media, I love Avicii, Martin Garixx, especially Tiesto, I have been listening to him for over ten years!
What have been some of your career highlights thus far?
DJTS: Big nights I’ve had were playing in Chicago, Miami, and New York City during Pride. I actually was hired to DJ a Sweet 16 in California, which was amazing. I have done the Progress Pride float two years in a row. And I played at the Women March in January. That was a meaningful event, because it was for women’s rights. I hope to do more big events in the future.
What’s next for DJ Tallspeedy?
DJTS: I’m going to try to expand and DJ in different states. I would love to have a chance to DJ in Vegas! I definitely want to get my name out there, I am well known in the area. It would be great to have followers from all over the world. Everything takes time and patience though.
What would the Tallspeedy of today tell the Tallspeedy who was just starting out as a DJ?
DJTS: I would tell her to keep going, don’t even think about giving up. Took about five years to finally get noticed. Be patient! Also, I would tell her to go out and meet more people. I am a shy person believe it or not. So, I would tell her to talk to more people so you can make more connections and have more of a following.