DJ Femi selected to perform in all-female showcase at SXSW | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

DJ Femi selected to perform in all-female showcase at SXSW

To assist with the expenses of the week-long stay and trip, Thomas created a GoFundMe.

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DJ Femi
In the music industry, every single decision and opportunity, small or large, can completely change an artist’s career. Bria ‘DJ Femi’ Thomas, took a risk in December when she quit all of her part-time jobs to pursue music full-time. At the time, the choice made sense. Thomas had a tour lined up with Jonny Goood, known for his time as Lady Gaga’s bassist. But the Goood Music Tour ended up getting canceled.

So when Thomas was scrolling through Instagram and saw that Makin’ It Magazine was taking submissions for a sponsored meet and greet opportunity at South by Southwest (SXSW), a festival/conference geared towards those in the music industry, she didn’t take it seriously.

“I was like, 'alright cool, whatever, I’ll just submit this stupid application,'” says Thomas. “The next thing you know, my manager [Chrisarah Johnson] and I got a notification that I was one of the DJs that got selected.”


Thomas was then asked to post the flyer provided by Makin’ It Magazine announcing her selection on Instagram. The print magazine, which spotlights rising talent, tastemakers, and executives in urban music, wanted to gauge the reaction each of the 70-plus "Meet The DJs" participates received on social media. Based on the interaction Thomas got, she was then one of four DJs chosen to perform in an all-female showcase.

“It feels like my dreams are finally coming true,” says Thomas, “like all my hard work is finally paying off. I’ve been doing all these stepping stones and legwork since day one, and now I actually have a team behind me, people who support me. Feels like I’m at the top right now, but I know I can go so much higher.”

Every year, musicians, DJs, producers, engineers, singers, music journalists, and the like from all over the globe head to the music conference and festival in Austin, Texas to network, perform, and discover the latest in music news and innovations.

“If I do SXSW right, it could potentially change my life,” says Thomas. “Just the opportunity to get down there and network with industry people, and other people like me, and just make different connections with different people around the world, could really benefit my career.”


All of Thomas’ income comes solely from DJing gigs around Pittsburgh, which Thomas says is a dream, but extremely hard. To assist with the expenses of the week-long stay and trip, Thomas created a GoFundMe. She is asking for $3,000 so she and her manager can attend. As of Thursday afternoon, Thomas is about halfway to the goal. Since SXSW takes places March 8-17, the fundraiser closes Friday night.

“If we don’t make the whole [amount] we will still be in pretty good shape, but the $3,000 will help it be more of a comfortable trip.”

Donate to DJ Femi's GoFundMe here.

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