Jan 25, 2023
5 min read
Leaving your hometown and starting a new chapter in life can be daunting, but the rewards can be worth it. It can open new opportunities, expand cultural competency, and encourage personal growth. You’ll need courage and determination to succeed, but the benefits can be life-changing. UK-born Jenn Getz and Alfie’s adaptability and flexibility, coupled with their hard work and purpose, helped them to make a significant impact since 2020. Building a reputation quickly is an impressive achievement in a male-dominated emirate like Dubai, especially since they are the only female DJ duo to do so.
Dance played a significant role in their separate upbringings. The ability to use their bodies as instruments to express the rhythms and beats of music has formed that innate connection and tool for creativity. Moreover, spending hours practicing how to move to sound develops a deeper appreciation of various styles and genres of music. Enhancing the music with their movement required a strong sense of timing and a depth of knowledge, both critical skills for DJs to read a crowd. Their formative years, disposition towards seeking self-improvement, and circumstances are similar, but their reasons for moving to Dubai were not.
“I lived in Bali since I was 19, and learned how to DJ there in 2014, and six years ago I moved to Dubai for a change of scenery and a different opportunity,” Jenn tells us.
“I started DJing six years ago in the UK - initially training to be a dancer - but I chose to DJ - and I got offered a DJing residency in Dubai three years ago, so I packed up and left,” Alfie adds. Although they were strangers before the move, their friendship arose from a fortuitous coincidence - where fate brought them together.
Jenn and Alfie say the underground music scene in Dubai has grown significantly in recent years, influencing the formation of their partnership as a female DJ duo and leading to an influx of other artists vying to play there. Dubai is renowned for its luxury lifestyle, iconic architecture, and world-class shopping and dining. They’re also known for paying DJs top dollar to spin at their opulent venues.
“When I moved here three years ago, everything was based on glam - now people are there to listen to good music and there’s movement,” Alfie explains.
“From an artist’s point of view, DJs didn’t care about where they played, they knew they were getting paid to be there. Now, they want to be in Dubai because the scene is getting bigger,” Jenn adds.
As exciting as it is to hear the dance music culture expanding in parts of the Middle East, traditional cultural attitudes and societal expectations are magnified when working in a male-dominated field like the music industry. Men have more access to resources, networks, and opportunities than women. However, it’s worth noting that this is changing as more women break through these barriers and make their presence known in the Emirate music industry—Jenn and Alfie being prime examples.
They explain that since the duo shares similar physical and ethnic qualities, promoters pitted them against one another.
“The event company wanted a [in air quotes] ‘female DJ,’ they didn’t care about anything else - and we thought ‘why are we competing when we can be strong together,’ “Jenn says about a time when they were in line for the same gig.
“It was hard for people to take us seriously as a female duo, and it is still a challenge we face now,” Alfie adds. “There are still some people here who will tell girls what to wear and what to play. We’re artists. It was hard to stick to our guns and not take that, “Jenn tells Gray Area.
Jenn & Alfie simply wanted to do their job: create a lively atmosphere and give their audience an authentic and memorable experience. So, they chose a lionhearted approach in a society that had never witnessed anything like it before.
Challenging the status quo and breaking down barriers requires the responsibility to work hard to prove oneself constantly. Their funky tech house sound and relentless efforts have landed them record signings on prominent house music like Sonny Fodera and Mark Knight. Furthermore, earning a residency at Dubai’s #1 nightlife destination, Soho Garden DXB, and a weekly show on the notorious Ibiza Global Radio UAE was also a milestone for the pair.
Seeing that they are not held back by uncertainty to pursue their aspirations, Jenn and Alfie’s main priority now is to move forward and headline an event. Organically branching out and continuing to evolve as artists under unique circumstances makes the dynamic duo fearless and resilient.