In this months spotlight series, KERV is celebrating Black History Month by focusing its attention on local Black business owners, content creators and entrepreneurs.
This week we’re also highlighting black women specifically, and are proud to introduce you to DJ Shani.
How did you get to this point?
Those are loaded, but great questions! I’ve owned a tax firm for the last 6 years and have been a DJ for the last 20. In 1999, I started a radio show on WLUW (Chicago).
It was always so odd to me that you had to be 21 to experience a specific type of music. The only way to add to the culture, whichever culture, is you have to start with those younger to keep it going. On my show I was the host, opening & closing DJ, sound engineer, producer, media person. I did EVERYTHING! It was also a way to showcase some of the lesser known amazing DJs to be heard throughout the city and later the world when we started the webcast. After living in Paris, Southern California and now Austin, I’ve maintained my connections with many of the guests and have subsequently performed with with them. (Ron Trent, DJ Heather, Derrick Carter, Les Nubians to name a few). Now living in Austin and with an influx of out-of-towners moving here, I realized there was a need for the specific kind of DEEP HOUSE that I play. Coming from the rave culture I recognized the tech-house following here is big, but also acknowledging my club culture background and meeting other other house music lovers, I knew we all wanted something different. I started my annual Black History Month event in 2015, UNITED. It started as a mashup of sorts: live bands then ending with DJs. Over the years, I fine-tuned it to only feature Black women DJs that played house music. It’s a very specific and unique demographic that needed a spotlight. Basically everything and anything I do is an extension of what I did at WLUW. I started two very unique residencies in 2019 (Halcyon “Freedom Fridays” and “Soul Review” (Saturdays at P6 at the Line Hotel). The Pandemic stopped both, but I’ve done a few Facebook & IG lives. I’ve been able to fall in love with my music again which is super exciting for me. Now I have the time to shut out the world and reconnect and that’s a very special place to be.
I also started a tax firm. Hebert Tax Consulting came about after working in retail tax. I was an instructor, manager, tax professional for 7 years. I learned so much but when it leaked out that I was a DJ, other offices starting sending their ‘strange’ clients to whatever office I was managing. I discovered my niche: creatives that need their taxes filed. After the last office I managed was the number one revenue producing office in the entire district for 2 years in a row with limited staff, I realized that I figured it out and never looked back. I encourage anyone to start their own business if they have a vision, learn as much as you can about the industry that excites you and work hard! The hard work will pay off and you’ll be able to see the actual results in realtime.
What matters most to you?
I think what matters most to me is education. Not necessarily in the traditional sense like college or university, but in the sense of being curious enough to find out something that you’ve always wanted to know. Once you learn something it’s almost your responsibility to share your knowledge. It’s very important to me to represent women of color and the disabled in the music Industry and taxation. I know it might sound strange to have both held so dear to my heart but it’s important to be curious enough follow that curiosity and educate yourself. I’m very happy that my Curiosity led me to owning my two businesses and being relatively successful. It matters not if it’s graphic novels or investments or music production or being a real estate agent. All that matters is that curiosity will lead to education and if it’s something that you’re curious about you’ll have no problem studying, learning & reading for hours on end. I’d like to encourage everyone to tap into that curiosity, fill that cup and you’d be amazed at what comes of it.
Learn more about DJ Shani: djshani.com – HebertTaxConsulting – SoundCloud