June's Coveted Stone: Moonstone
Like the moon, moonstone marks the beginning of new phases in life.
Celebrate transitions, new journeys, and feminine energy with this stone.
Vancouver born and bred, Shanique Kelly, aka Softieshan, has quickly become one of Vancouver’s favourite DJs and event producers. She is widely known for her femme-forward rap sets and all around radiant vibes.
Shanique runs the Vancouver chapter of Intersessions, a grassroots organization with a mission to bridge the inequality gap facing female and femme-identified DJs in the music and nightlife industries.Intersessions now runs workshops globally, equipping women and members of the LGBTQ+ community with education and tools to navigate and thrive in these traditionally male-dominated fields.
Shanique has recently embarked on some innovative collaborations with companies like Lululemon and Tight Club, bringing empowered, body-moving music to even broader audiences.You can catch @softieshan at her Vancouver DJ residencies at The Fox, The American, The Boxcar, and The Clubhouse, where she runs 'LEVEL UP' a monthly Queer Rap and Hip Hop party.
Q: What sparked your interest in DJing?
A: My interest in DJing felt very accidental. I’ve always loved music but a workshop called Intersessions truly ignited my interest in how djing could be a tool for empowering women in nightlife spaces. I went to a workshop just because it was nearby, inexpensive, and to try something new. Three years later and here I am!
Q: For those who don’t know much about your industry, what does being a DJ look like to you?
A: For me being a DJ is about creating an experience for people. Music has the power to change moods, invoke feeling, and connect community. For me my job is about creating a space for people to enjoy themselves and experience moments of catharsis.
Q: Your commitment to building safe spaces has significantly transformed the queer community. What are the main facets of creating safe nightlife spaces?
A: Listen to people. If someone doesn’t feel safe, listen to their concerns. I think it’s important to have a team/staff that implement a zero tolerance policy for violence of any and all kinds. I think it’s important to have people around who are trained in harm reduction and who recognize that people’s safety is more important than making money.
Q: From launching your own queer hip hop party to DJing Canada’s largest hip hop festival, you’ve achieved so much in such a short period of time. What was your picture of success when you were younger?
A: When I was younger success to me looked like celebrity. My mom loved tabloid magazines and TMZ, so I spent a lot of time imagining success to be an excess of wealth and fame. Now the mere thought makes me incredibly anxious! Even having my photo taken for this piece made me feel a bit nervous, so can you imagine how well I would handle the paparazzi, ha. It’s funny how our image of success changes as we get older.
Q: If you could go on a worldwide tour alongside your favourite female artists, what would be the title of your tour be?
A : Dangerously Grateful
Q: Moonstone is known as a gem that manifests and nurtures feminine energy. What does femininity mean to you?
A: To me femininity means connecting to my ability to work smarter as opposed to harder. Tapping into my feminine energy reminds me that I am naturally abundant, I possess a lot of the answers I am searching for, and that I am enough. It’s a reminder that I don’t need to push and pull quite as hard at things that are not meant for me. I am instead open to receiving through the wisdom that is femininity.
Q: What is your go to accessory and why?
A: Some bold earrings! They’re an easy add-on that changes the whole vibe of an outfit or look. From day to night with big ol' hoops! From daring to delicate with a cute lil stud!
Q: What are some weird challenges people might not have realized you faced as you developed your career?
A: Imposter Syndrome is my greatest foe. The more success I encounter the more I wonder if I really even know what I’m doing…
Q: On the topic of imposter syndrome, how do you celebrate yourself and your achievements?
A: I celebrate with my friends and family! They often help me in celebrating myself and my accomplishments during moments where fear makes it difficult to take a step back and enjoy.
Q: What is the best thing that has happened to you this month?
A: So hard to pick just one! Hmmm. I got accepted into a paid mentorship program I applied for! That helps with the imposter syndrome. Also, I was in Palm Springs for the first time recently and sunshine is nice :)
Q: If you could relive one day of your life, what would it be, and why?
A: I, weirdly, sort of wish I could relive the day that I first met my older sister. I would’ve been a literal infant, but I often wonder what it would’ve been like to see one another for the first time, knowing that I get to love and be loved by this human forever! The idea of my older sister meeting their baby sibling for the first time just melts my heart.
Q: What is your superpower?
A: My superpower is connection! I love connecting with people and I think I’m pretty good at it. I love listening to other peoples’ stories and asking them questions. I love creating new friendships and community.
Photos by Kat Willson Photography